The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the world in a rapid pace and bring serious economic, geopolitical and health impacts. Nevertheless, the Centralparks project team stays connected during the times of physical distancing, and focuses on maximising communication in the virtual realm.
On 17th March, an the first online partner meeting took place within the frame of Centralparks. Partners discussed the project progress together with planned activities for the year of 2020 and harmonized the time planning within the team.
The meeting was opened with the presentation of Isidoro De Bortoli, project manager and Stefania Lochmann, financial manager of Centralparks. They summarized shortly the project progress and informed the partnership about Programme measures and instructions related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Considering the emergency situation, the partnership reached the conclusion that the 3rd physical partner meeting, scheduled for May in Slovakia will be postponed. During this sensitive period, the project consortium continues its work and will exchange information and experiences using digital means.
Ms Eleonora Musco informed the partnership about the outcome of the Meeting of the Carpathian Convetion Working Group on Biodiversity and Carpathian Network of Protected Areas Steering Committee meeting, organised within the framework of the ConnectGREEN project. The meeting focused on providing a platform for necessary discussions related to the International Action Plan for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of the Carpathian Large Carnivores Population, as well as the Strategy of the Identification, Conservation, Restoration and Management of Ecological Corridors in the Carpathian Ecoregion. As partner projects, ConnectGREEN and Centralparks will organise synergy activities in the upcoming years. More information on the meeting can be found here.
Following critical discussions focusing on the next steps in the project, each Thematic Work Package (WP T) leader presented the state of the art of the project activities. Zbigniew Niewiadomski from the WP T1 leader Ekopsychiogy Society shared with the partners the current working status of the Thematic Transnational Task Forces. Carpathian experts are actively cooperating in all three task forces to develop transnational Carpathian strategies focusing on biodiversity and landscape conservation, sustainable tourism and communication between protected areas and local communities. Partners agreed that in the future, a combination of physical meetings and online meetings could be a good solution to increase work efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of the project.
Next up, Borbála Szabó-Major from the Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate updated the partnership about the status of WP T2 activities. The area for the pilot LIDAR scanning has been designated. She also shared the progress made by experts in the development of forest state and grassland state evaluation protocols to monitor Carpathian habitat types.
The status report of WP T3 activities was presented Ján Kadlečik from State Nature Conservancy on the Slovak Republic and Radoslav Považan from Pronatur. Carpathian experts are working extensively on the development of the Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit and embrace online meetings for input collection.
The last presentation focused on communication, presented by Hanna Öllös from European Wilderness Society. Public outreach and stakeholder involvement is a key topic for Centralparks. In these difficult times, digital communication as a productive medium has its chance to be the primary channel to engage the public. The partnership of Centralparks works in harmony and is dedicated to continue its work for the Carpathians, the green lungs of Europe.