Despite the global coronavirus pandemic, a virtual meeting of SavaParks Network members was held in the run-up to Christmas holidays. Network members representatives met for a two-day meeting held on 7 and 8 December 2020.
The topics of the meeting were the future of the Network and the steps that need to be taken to strengthen the capacity and recognizability of the Network and all its members. The participants were presented with a proposal for the structure and functioning of the Network as a formal body and activities that will contribute to capacity building and improve connections between the members. The proposal for the structure and functioning of the Network was designed through the project “Preserving Sava River Basin Habitats through Transnational Management of Invasive Alien Species – Sava TIES”, which is co-financed by the European Union (ERDF, IPA). One way to develop the capacity is to strengthen the application and implementation of new projects aimed at protection of nature and natural and cultural values. Also discussed at the meeting was the design and development of three new project proposals that can contribute to the improvement of environment, nature, and the living standard of the inhabitants of the Sava river basin. The project proposals deal with forests, pastures, and tourism. The development of the proposed projects will be the topic of the future meetings of Network members.
The members were presented with the developments related to the translation of the “Sava white book” on national languages (Croatian, Slovenian and Serbian) which will soon be completed and presented to the public. Analyses of feasibility studies related to the rehabilitation of the Sava river and its floodplains were also presented at the meeting. One study focuses on the possibility of restoring the upstream part of the river near Croatia and Slovenia border to its original state. The second study deals with the downstream part of the river along the Croatia and Serbia border. The experts in charge of carrying out the studies presented the current findings and explained to the participants why it was crucial to undertake the revitalization of the river and its floodplains and what the benefits for the inhabitants of the area were. In some parts, the river has been transformed by human activity and restoring it to its original state would mean the recovery of valuable habitats and better flood protection, as well as the reduced risk of losing a drinking water source. The feasibility studies concerning the project of rehabilitation of the Sava river and its floodplains are financed by the Aage V. Jensen foundation with around 120.000,00 EUR. The Sava river is very well preserved in comparison with the rivers of Western Europe. It provides us with water which gives life to people and other living beings. Water supply systems of large cities along the Sava river depend on the quality and quantity of water the river provides. Let us take care of the Sava river for present and future generations.
The virtual meeting again proved a valuable tool in exchanging information between the SavaParks Network members. In a holiday mood, we wished for the next meeting of Network members to be held face to face. We also wished for the Sava river and its floodplains to restore their former space and role that man has taken from them in his pursuit of urbanization and progress.