WILDislands, DANUBEPARKS and Ramsar in Austria


Austria celebrates 40 Years since the ratification of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 2023 with a three-day programme, organized by of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management (BML).

The event was attended by Dr. Musonda Mumba, General Secretary of the Ramsar Convention and Dr. Flore Lafaye de Micheaux, Senior Advisor for Europe.

The WILDisland project team and DANUBEPARKS were actively involved in the celebrations, hosting an exciting boot excursion in the Donau-Auen National Park on September 11th for the Ramsar representatives, representatives of BML, the regional governments and the Slovakian Ministry of Environment. We showed our distinguished guests several successful river restoration projects which took place in the Donau-Auen National Park with a special focus on the importance of river dynamics, preserved hydrology, WILDislands and cross-country cooperation. We paddled all the way from Wildungsmauer to the Slovakian border, where we were met by our Slovakian colleagues and WILDisland partners from BROZ, who showed us the amazing Devin Castle and explained more about their own wetland restoration work. From the top of the Castle we had a fascinating view over the Donau-March-Thaya-Auen trilateral Ramsar Site (AT-SK-CZ) and the Danube as a living link between the Alps and the Carpathians. Then we headed to the Schloss Marchegg at the Morava river to show the famous WWF White Stork Reserve.

On September 12th, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management hosted an official ceremony, opened by Minister Norbert Totschnig and attended by the Ramsar Secretariat respresentatives and numerous stakeholders from various state institutions, NGOs, research instituties and companies all involved with wettland and moor conservation. The event was attended by Dr. Vlatko Rozac, DANUBEPARKS Director and representative of Kopacki rit Nature Park, as well as official guests from Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Edith Klauser, Director of the Donau-Auen National Park, was among the podium speakers.

The event was closed with a look into the future of wetland protection, delivered by Georg Frank, Secretary General of DANUBEPARKS and WILDisland project coordinator, who officially presented the future Danube WILDisland Ramsar Regional Initiative (RRI) - an initiative which will unite 9 Danube countries to strengthen ecological connectivity and transnational cooperation. DANUBEPARKS and the WILDisland team is currently preparing the application documents for the Ramsar Secretariat, which will be submitted by the end of September and we hope that the new RRI will be officially adopted as the 21st global Ramsar Regional Initiative at the next Ramsar Conference of the Parties COP15 in 2025 in Zimbabwe.

This is a major milestone for us in our joint efforts to mobilize political support and recognition for river redynamization, non-intervention management and sustainable use of the Danube as a unique habitat corridor and the most international river in the world and we were really honored to be a part of this three-day event.

The Ramsar Convention was adopted in the Iranian town of Ramsar on 2 February 1971 as the first modern treaty with global validity dealing with the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. In the meantime, 172 signatory states worldwide have signed the convention and designated wetlands of international importance as protected - "Ramsar sites" for short.  Austria announced its accession to the Ramsar Convention in 1983 and has thus been part of the international agreement for 40 years. Currently, 24 Ramsar sites are designated in Austria.

For more information:
Georg Frank - WILDisland Project Coordinator: g.frank@donauauen.at

Paddling from Wildungsmauer, Austria to Devin Castle, Slovakia
Where Morava meets the Danube
The Morava floodplains between Austria and Slovakia
Our colleagues from BROZ explained about their work and international cooperation
Dr. Musona Mumba, Secertary General and Dr. Flore Lafaye de Micheaux, European Senior Advisor, Ramsar Convention
DANUBEPARKS Secretary General Georg Frank; WILDisland project manager Elena Kmetova-Biro; Ramsar Secretary General Musonda Mumba; Ramsar Senior Advisor Flore Lafaye de Micheaux; National Park Director Edith Klauser; DANUBEPARKS President Vlatko Rožac
Photo credit: Rene Hemereka/BML