The Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development organized the RSG meeting on 28th February, 2019.  The event took place at the headquarters of the Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development in Tulcea. The main topic of the RSG meeting was the identification of good practices related to regional development initiatives that valorize the natural and/or cultural resources in the Danube Delta. It was a first discussion with stakeholders related to potential areas of improvement in the Regional Operational Programme.

The participants were welcomed by the Scientific Director of the DDNI and then proceeded with a round of table introductions. Mr. Hanganu presented the Delta Lady project and reiterated the purpose of the Regional Stakeholder Group and its importance for reaching the project objectives. Afterwards, Madalina Sbarcea presented  some of the insights acquired during the 1st Interregional learning event of the Delta Lady project in France in Camargue Delta.

Then we proceeded with a presentation of the Good practices that we identified in our Delta area and asked participants to give us (or think of) potential good practices they could nominate for us to further study. Next, the representative of the Intermediate Body for our policy instrument presented the Regional Operational Programme and some examples of projects funded through it, that could be seen as good practice.

After the presentation sessions, we discussed the issues related to the ROP axes that we aim to improve, and asked the representatives of the Integrated Territorial Investments Instrument for Danube Delta to mention what were some of the problems that applicants faced when trying to apply for ROP in the dedicated call for the Danube Delta area. Some of these problems were related to programme indicators that were not adapted to our area which has many particularities that did not reflect in the Applicants Guideline.

Representatives of some municipalities told us they are preparing some projects for the ongoing call of ROP, related to tourism developments. Other municipalities complained about insufficient communication in the decision-making process for the Danube Delta management plan, especially in areas related to zoning of restricted areas and natural resources management or regulations that limit options but do not support much the people in the Delta.

The Regional Development Agency for South-Eastern Romania (the intermediate body for ROP) expressed their interest in working together so we can bring new elements to the programme that would better support regional development in the Danube Delta.

All participants were happy that they are consulted and that a communication program is set in place through the RSG (this also creates an opportunity for them to get together and discuss different issues, not necessarily exclusively focused on the project) and expressed their willingness to further participate to next meetings.