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Public Awareness Strategy - the main instrument
to develop the public awareness, ecological education and communication
between stakeholders in Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve
Objective of the Public Awareness Strategy:
The objective of the Strategy is to support the conservation and sustainable
management of the natural resources of the Danube Delta, while improving
socio-economic benefits for the local population, and the financial sustainability
of the DDBRA, through the implementation of an integrated and clearly
targeted plan for public awareness activities.
The need for a Public Awareness Strategy
The DDBRA has recognised the critical need for a Public Awareness Strategy.
This need has been identified for a number for different reasons, including:
The critical state of the Danube Delta’s globally important natural
resources, and the need to continue to use a wide variety of mechanisms
to address this.
The recognition of the central role of local communities and organisations
in the successful management and development of the DDBR.
The lack of awareness of the DDBRA, DDBR and conservation issues in general
among local communities and organisations, as well nationally and international.
The negative image by the local population of the DDBRA.
The need to improve the prioritisation and co-ordination of public awareness
activities in the DDBRA and across the Danube Delta.
The opportunity to promote the DDBRA’s 10th Anniversary and the
work of the GEF project.
The wider benefits of improved public awareness to the sustainable social
and economic development of the area.
Preparation of the Strategy
The preparation of the Strategy was funded by the GEF Danube Delta Biodiversity
Project, and was facilitated by the international conservation organisation,
Fauna & Flora International. The Strategy was prepared between October
1999 and May 2000. There are a number of important aspects of the way
this Strategy was prepared:
This is the first Public Awareness Strategy developed for any protected
area in Romania.
A wide range of stakeholders were closely involved in the preparation.
The participatory approaches used have helped to develop a more integrated,
effective and acceptable Strategy.
The DDBRA has acknowledged the importance of stakeholder consultation
in decision and policy making.
Participatory approaches have been shown to be effective in reducing conflict,
changing attitudes, building partnerships and disseminating information.
A broad approach to public awareness has been taken, recognising the need
for many different organisations and mechanisms to be used to build awareness
not only of the DDBRA and the Danube Delta, but also of wider social and
This is only the first step in the DDBRA increasing stakeholder involvement,
information sharing and dialogue, there is still much more to be done
and many more improvements to be made.
A number of key issues have been identified that will be addressed by
the Public Awareness Strategy. These were considered to be the priority
issues by organisations participating in the preparation of the Strategy
and DDBRA staff, and have been identified through previous experience
of work in the Danube Delta (from GEF project activities, DDI, BirdLife
The twelve key issues identified for the Public Awareness Strategy are:
2. Understanding the reasons why the DDBR was established
3. Public image of the DDBRA
4. Economic and social difficulties among local people
5. Internal communication within the DDBRA
6. Communication between the DDBRA and local stakeholders
7. Range of different administrative bodies involved in management of
8. Environmental education and awareness
9. Interpretation of legislation
10. Exploitation of natural resources
11. Unfulfilled potential for tourism
12. Maintaining local culture and traditions
Target Audiences (Stakeholders)
A variety of different groups of people have an interest in the Danube
Delta, or influence it in some way or other. The Public Awareness Strategy
of the DDBRA has been designed to reach as wide an audience as possible,
but it is vital that public awareness can be targeted at certain key groups.
The criteria used to identify the priority audience groups include:
The level of direct impact the group has on the Danube Delta
The ability of the group to influence the Danube Delta (in terms of environment,
social, economic, political or legislation)
The extent to which the perceptions or behaviour of the group need to
change to allow effective conservation and maintenance of the DDBR