The Republic of Moldova is encircled by two transborder aquatic arteries: the Nistru River and the Prut River, the latter being the tributary of the Danube River. Both rivers host wetlands, whose importance has been recognized internationally.
According to Moldova’s fifth National Communication to the CBD, wetland areas in Moldova are “degraded and are disappearing, and key habitats for important waterfowl are decreasing” further highlighting that the main threats to biodiversity are coming from “the irrational exploitation of natural resources, fragmentation of natural habitats, environmental pollution, poor institutional framework for protected areas management and increasing climate change impacts”. The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan NBSAP (2015-2020) is prioritizing wetland sustainable management with the aim of including more wetland areas under a legal protection regime.
With the economic development of the districts along the Prut River, there is a danger of increasing anthropogenic pressure on the natural ecosystems of wetlands. Recently, the development trend of tourism in the Middle and Lower Prut region has evolved, with all its components: development of constructions, development of transport infrastructure, development of services, increase of the volume of waste especially between localities in the region, the emergence of first eco-pensions, etc. However, these anthropogenic pressures exert risks that may negatively affect the biological diversity and rural population wellbeing in the region, especially those socially/economically vulnerable, which are heavily dependent on local natural resources (especially fishing, biomass, wood, grazing, household water, etc.).
The ecosystems in the Prut basin are of strategic interest, including being the focus of regional and international organizations and projects. It is worth mentioning that in July 2018, as a result of the implementation of the EU/CBC project between Romania-Moldova-Ukraine, the Lower Prut Biosphere Reserve (14,771 ha) was officially designated and registered in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It incorporated the lands of the Lower Prut Scientific Reserve and the Ramsar Wetland – “Lower Prut”.
This important step for the Republic of Moldova contributed to attracting large biodiversity projects having as scope rehabilitation of the Beleu and Manta lakes, the carrying out of the hydrotechnical works to reduce the clogging processes of the respective lakes. UNDP aims to ensure synergy with ongoing projects for the conservation of natural resources on the Prut River and to coordinate its activities. As a result, the sustainability of project implementation in a unique cross-border area is ensured.
For detailed information, please refer to Annex 1 – Terms of Reference.