UNDP and GEF support the revitalization of the Prut River's ecosystem

September 13, 2022

Over the next five years, multiple actions will be taken to ensure the ecological integrity of key wetlands in the Prut River basin, ensuring the revitalization of biodiversity, land, and aquatic resources and ecosystems. The UNDP project "Conservation and sustainable management of wetlands with focus on high-nature value areas in the Prut River basin", with a budget of about US$900,000, will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment and with the financial support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Within the project, the strategic wetlands in the Prut River basin will be restored, including the protected riparian strips in Lower Prut Biosphere Reserve and the old watercourse of Camenca river will be rehabilitated, to benefit the wetland area of the "Padurea Domneasca" Scientific Reserve and neighbouring communities.

Recovering the Camenca river's watercourse, an affluent of the Prut River will bring an additional 8.3 million cubic meters of water annually to nourish declining wetlands in the Prut River mid-section, ensuring the survival of approximately 11,175 ha of valuable floodplain habitat. This will provide quality water to the population of 14 communities. The natural bed of the Camenca River has been compromised for several decades after the intervention of the human factor by creating dams and water diversion channels.

At the same time, the project will support the inclusion of the "Pădurea Domnească" Scientific Reserve on the list of wetlands protected by the Ramsar Convention. Also, in coordination with the Romanian and Ukrainian authorities, the project will facilitate the preparatory works for the designation of a trilateral "Man and the Biosphere" UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that will cover the Lower Prut Biosphere Reserve (Moldova) and Danube Delta (Romania and Ukraine). This will support the harmonization of wetlands protection measures and biodiversity monitoring in the lower Danube basin.

"Moldova's wetlands are rich ecosystems and provide critical habitats for numerous plant and animal species, not to mention their importance in recharging groundwater supplies, controlling floods, and removing pollution. Given their dramatic decrease, this project, with its demonstration activities and strengthened regulatory framework, will pave the way for a more systematic approach to improving wetlands conditions in order to achieve an ecological integrity of key floodplain wetlands in the Prut River basin, ensuring the positive status of biodiversity, land, and water resources, as well as ecosystem services."
Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova

With the support of the project, the management plans for the protected areas in the Prut riverbed will be developed and updated, and if necessary, additional mapping and delimitation of the key habitats will be done. Another project priority will be the support of local communities in developing and implementing local businesses friendly to the biodiversity in the Prut River basin, as well as the development of cross-border tourist routes.