Today, May 11, 2016, the Government passed the Decision for the establishment of the Văcărești Nature Park.
The Văcărești Nature Park Association salutes the authorities’ decision and announces the decision as a success of reason placed in the service of public interest.
The establishment of the Văcărești Nature Park is a clear example that a civic initiative that is promoted with perseverance and competence can be successfully completed, despite the numerous bureaucratic obstacles. The campaign for the establishment of the Văcărești Nature Park has lasted for 4 years.
The project for the placement under the protection of the law and for the management, in accordance with ecological principles, of a natural oasis that spontaneously appeared over 25 years in the center of the country’s capital city was commenced in 2012, after the publication of the „Delta between the blocks” article in the May issue of the National Geographic.
The article, signed Cristian Lascu and Helmut Ignat, disclosed the place’s biodiversity to the general public and launched the idea of a nature park of the V IUCN category for the Văcărești „pit”.
The campaign continued through the efforts of a group of environment protection experts and activists – Cristian Lascu, Helmut Ignat, Florin Stoican, Dan Bărbulescu, supported by four organizations – Kogayon, National Geographic Romania, the „Save the Danube and the Delta” Association și Ecopolis.
They mobilized resources, specialists and know-how and, in 2013, put together the Scientific Substantiation Analysis on the basis of which the Romanian Academy acknowledged the significance and the patrimonial value of the Văcărești ecosystem.
The members of the initiative group – officialized in 2014 as the Văcărești Nature Park Association, have carried out the difficult administrative process, obtaining the Notification of the Romanian Academy, the Notification of the Capital City’s General Council and, finally, the Government Decision for the establishment of the protected natural area. Over 100 working meetings in the presence of the authorities in charge were needed in order to complete this project.
Apart from said meetings, there were numerous photo exhibitions, conferences on environment protection and city planning, fieldwork with volunteers, distribution of brochures and other informative materials, public communication on social media.
The support of the press has also been very important. The main television channels have broadcasted reports and debates on the Văcărești Nature Park, there have been numerous articles in the print press, as well as radio shows.
The project has been supported by tens of thousands of people from Bucharest, who wrote to us, signed support lists and attented our events.
To all of the people who believed in our success and supported this endeavour, we say thank you!
“Over the last almost 4 years, we have heard the word „impossible” many times, but this hard-earned victory proved that „it is possible”. We hope that this encourages the cities’ communities in their fight for every square meter of real green space”, declared Helmut Ignat, nature photographer and founding member of the Văcărești Nature Park Association.
What nature has already accomplished must be protected without delay, by eliminating all human activities which have a negative impact, such as cutting trees, setting the reeds on fire, poaching, various forms of pollution, relocating stray dogs, acceptable solutions for those temporarily living inside the park. Last, but not least, one must clarify all land claim case files and find legal solutions to compensate the persons entitled.
In order to become a functional park, the protected natural area must be developed by the future administrator, within the limits provided for under the law for the „nature park” category („protected natural area, administered for land conservation and entertainment” – Exhibit 1 – Government Emergency Ordinance 57/2007) and on the basis of a management plan approved by the Ministry of Environment.
The establishment of a 184 ha park (equal in surface to the severely tested Herăstrău park), during an era of green space destruction is undoubtedly a heroic moment for the city of Bucharest.