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Reflections from our second General Assembly in Belgrade!

There is much to digest and process following our three days of intensive workshopping, collaboration and discussions in Belgrade, Serbia!


Images: Zeljka Visnjic Jeftic


The project team made the most of much welcomed, in-person time together as a consortium, with 26 project partners coming together either in person or online, joined by Associated partners and members of our newly selected Associated Regions. We heartily thank Marija Smederevac-Lalić and her fantastic team at IMSI for their time and energy in organising this year's Assembly, for the warm welcome and the generous Serbian hospitality!

 

Day 1 was dedicated to a series of working groups organised by work package across a range of scientific, technical and citizen science topics. These areas represent three significant strands of the project i.e., the physical river restoration measures taking place at our three demonstration sites and the social- and education-orientated citizen science measures that the project will implement and roll out. Specific topics included river connectivity assessment methodologies, species occurrence data modelling, fish monitoring data availability, co-working efforts to increase implementation of citizen science initiatives and co-creation towards these initiatives in the project demo-sites.  


The project has very ambitious targets in these areas and so the Assembly provided crucial space for partners working on these programmes to come together and facilitate a process of exchange, feedback, critique and action-orientated measures into order to move this catalogue of objectives towards the next phases of their development.

 

Images: Zeljka Visnjic Jeftic and Eimear Fitzgerald


Day 2 launched our series of transversal workshops. These were focused on four key areas.


Our Associated Regions were presented followed by a discussion and engagement on how to plan for and activate participation as part of these regional initiatives. More information can be found on each of our partner regions at this link.


A workshop on our GIS data modelling tool took an in-depth look at the types of information and data sources required for this developmental project tool. The workshop also explored possibilities around facilitating access to information of varying degrees of complexity for different audiences.

 

The workshop on Stakeholder engagement looked at ways of identifying what stakeholders we should engage and how we can activate the network of all project Images: Zeljka Visnjic Jeftic and Eimear Fitzgerald

partners in accessing them. This tied in with a (Click to expand)

workshop exploring ideas on unravelling the

potential of citizen science specifically aimed at ecosystem restoration measures.

 

Field Trip


This intensive engagement was followed by a fantastic field trip along the Danube, which provided first-hand experience of the river for the integral, living ecosystem it is. It was also a chance to view a panoramic view of the city and surrounding areas. The consortium had a chance to network and engage on a social level, as well as try some of the project’s citizen science measures first-hand, among which were a water quality monitoring and a micro-plastic identifying exercise. We also had the chance to try out the interactive collaborative Puzzle Wall of the Danube River Basin which is a visitors experience in which participant's share their personal reflections of the Danube, as well as their inquiries and aspirations for the river's future!


Images: Eimear Fitzgerald


Day 3 represented a departure from the workshop structure and opened the plenary session and round of work package presentations to an expanded audience of invited regional stakeholders. This provided a welcome interaction with project stakeholders and Associated Partners, and presented an opportunity to showcase the project from a more contextual perspective, providing new insight and 'grounding' the more complex elements in real terms.


Following this session, it was time to celebrate a successful second General Assembly with the launch of two fantastic DANUBE4all initiatives spearheaded by our citizen science lead partner Pulsaqua - the Healthy Danube Network and Danube Travelling Exhibition. We also celebrated World Fish Migration Day (25th May) hosted by our project partner, the World Fish Migration Foundation.


Images: Eimear Fitzgerald


Healthy Danube Network is a collaboration and co-creation with Global Network of Water Museums. The initiative aims to bring together water museums, visitor centers, community hubs and more to learn and cooperate through citizen science. Global Network of Water Museums was represented in Belgrade by Margarita Maruškić Kulaš, Director of the Public Institution Aquatika – Freswater Aquarium Karlovac, in Croatia.

 

The Travelling Exhibition narrates the journey of threatened, native amphibian species, particularly the Crested newt - the tiny, but resilient 'Danube Dragon'.

 

World Fish Migration Day is a one-day global celebration to raise awareness for the importance of free-flowing rivers and migratory fish. 2024 celebrated its 6th edition under the theme ‘Free Flow!’


Thanks to all our partners and our hosts from IMSI and the staff of the Hotel Palace, Belgrade for a very successful and enjoyable project meeting!

Image: Zeljka Visnjic Jeftic




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