From 5 to 7 October 2020, despite the global coronavirus pandemic, a meeting of project partners and members of the SavaParks network was successfully held, consisting of about 20 members from 13 different institutions and 5 countries. The meeting was held through a virtual platform, and the participants were happy that at least in this “new normal” way they can gather, exchange information and experiences.
For the purpose of professional training of the Network members, a training on the development of communication and negotiation skills was held, which was extremely useful for improving the further work of the Network related to nature protection issues. Participants were also presented with examples of good practice in invasive species management in Croatia and Serbia. Petra Kutleša, Head of the Department for Invasive Species of the Institute for Environmental Protection and Nature at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, presented projects on invasive species co-financed by European funds implemented by her institution in Croatia. She presented the first Croatian national database on foreign and invasive alien species. She also announced the start of the “Life CONTRA Alianthus” project, which will focus on the removal of pajasen (Alianthus altissima). Pajasen is an invasive alien plant that causes problems to farmers, traffic infrastructure, the nature protection sector and the local population due to the rapid expansion and taking over of areas – Petra pointed out. From the neighboring country, Goran Tmusic, an employee of the Laboratory for Invasive and Allergic Plants at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Novi Sad, Serbia, presented the successful cooperation between scientists and local authorities in removing ragweed and other allergenic plants in Vojvodina.
The project partners presented the pilot measures in protected areas implemented this year and presented the financial framework of the current costs invested in methods of removing invasive plants. These important data will be presented in a publicly within the document “Cross-sectoral guidelines for management, control and removal of invasive alien species in the Sava River Basin”. An analysis of legislative frameworks related to the management of invasive alien species in the Sava River Basin countries has begun. The results and recommendations of the analysis, which will also contain the experiences of the Sava TIES project, will be presented to decision makers at the state and regional level by the end of the year, with the aim of finally incorporating them into the legislation. These results and recommendations will be intended for the sectors of nature protection, agriculture, forestry and water sector, and will be available to the general public.
This meeting, although virtually held, proved to be very useful for the exchange of information between partners and members of the SavaParks network and cross-sectoral networking.