In May 2016 the Romanian Government established the Văcărești Natural Park in Bucharest, the first European nature park within a city centre.
This was the outcome of a huge advocacy campaign coordinated by the Vacaresti Natural Park Association, a NGO founded by a group of activists with the aim of protecting the area. An impressive wetland, the Văcărești Natural Park is also the first urban natural park in Romania, only 3 km away from the city centre, being also one of the largest green space in Bucharest, covering 183 ha. This unique natural site is home to more than 170 bird species, many of them are rare and threatened at a national level. The fauna of the park is defined by an extraordinary resilience, the existing species reconquering the area during the last 25 years, after the works at the retention pond, planned but never executed during the Ceaușescu regime, have been abandoned. Wetland areas together with the floristic communities have recovered in the last decades creating a healthy ecosystem of high biodiversity value.
In 2016, the Văcărești Nature Park was established by Government Decision no. 349/2016. Within this
decision, the Romanian government has a clear responsibility to this distinctive natural heritage: Developing a management service able to protect the area and to emphasize the park’s benefits to the Community, rich biodiversity, education and recreation, climate regulation.
Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Member of the European Parliament and Coordinator of the Budget Control Committee comments after visiting the Văcărești Natural Park:
“Since 2012, the Văcărești Nature Park Association has been highly involved in the protection of this natural habitat and a driving force of the preservation work. Văcărești Natural Park Association body would like work in a close cooperation with the National Government, mainly the Ministry for Environment as well as with other institutions and organizations with strong experience in nature protection and conservation, research, eco-tourism and education. They work extremely hard to preserve this local treasure within in the City of Bucharest.
But now it is up to the Romanian Government to fulfil the contract, keep the official tasks and responsibilities and finally deliver an efficient management to the Park. The stalling tactics of the government are no longer acceptable and must follow prompt actions. I urge the government to take swift actions and deliver a comprehensive and believable concept to accomplish the management, financial and logistic support as agreed in the contract from 2016. Romania inherits some of the oldest and unique primary forests of Europe. As a matter of fact these are the very last virgin forests of Europe. Many experts agree that these forests are some of the most valuable forests in terms of biodiversity and species occurrence within the European Union. Therefore, the support of the European Union in preservation and conservation of this unique area is of utmost importance.
Last Wednesday (19.08.2020) the Romanian Government adopted a new forestry law – this is one steppingstone in the right direction to keep this incredible Romanian heritage alive for future generations. Within the European Green Deal the EU should propose an attractive financial mechanism to Romania for compensation payments to preserve those forests in a sustainable manner without accelerating the clear cuts and surely without supporting the corrupt structures of the forest mafia in many regions.”