The EU's LIFE program is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. In Austria the anniversary was celebrated with a specialist conference, which took place on May 24-25th in HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein. The event gathered dozens of experts in various field, who have successfully completed or are currently working on nature conservation projects, co-funded by the LIFE financial instrument of the European Commission.
LIFE WILDisland is one among almost 70 Austria-lead projects supported by LIFE between 1996-2022 and it is the NATURE project with greatest EU co-funding (9 million EUR) in the country and also in Europe. It was represented by all three Austrian partners – Donau-Auen National Park (as coordinating beneficiary), and viadonau and Verbund (as very experienced and skillful associated beneficiaries).
The two-day conference focused on projects in the field of nature and biodiversity. Successful projects for habitat improvement of endangered species as well as renaturation projects of water bodies and forests were presented. A subsequent panel discussion focused on the topic of success factors of LIFE projects. The first day of the event was rounded off by field trips to the Salza Estuary restoration area on the Enns River and to the Trautenfels Castle Iris Meadow - two examples of successfully completed LIFE-funded projects. The second day was dedicated to perspectives of different stakeholders on the funding program. The keynote speakers were Angelo Salsi (European Commission, Head of LIFE Unit), Landesrat Johann Seitinger (Province of Styria) and the Secretary General of BMLRT, Mr. Günther Liebel.
As a ceremonial conclusion of the event, a small fest on the River Enns was hosted by the students of HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein.
The event provided an excellent opportunity to exchange experience and network with other LIFE-funded projects in Austria, see colleagues and friends and enjoy the hospitality of Styria.
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