Conference on the re-vitalisation of the Saint László creek and its afterlife
“The revitalisation of the Saint László creek, regulated in the past to become a canal (like so many other living water bodies) was initiated by two experts, an environmental engineer and a zoologist in spring 2005, after the latter had participated in several similar projects abroad. During the summertime, they laid down the foundations of the project and started to seek support together with the Green Foundation for Martonvásár, in order to organise an international scientific conference on the issue.
Eventually the grant of Environmental Partnership, together with support from the municipalities and the micro-regions along the creek made this possible. Facilities were provided free of charge by the renowned Agricultural Research Institute of Martonvásár. In the meanwhile, it became clear that a project of this scale requires a separate regional environmental NGO. Therefore Sze-Lá-ví (as in c’est la vie), the Saint László Creekside Environmental and Cultural Foundation was established with the overarching goal to revitalise the watercourse. At the same time, based on a signature collection the organisation Together for the Saint László Creek was also formed, to ensure public support to the project.
The conference raised significant interest among experts, decision-makers and the media. Academicians, MPs, researchers, majors and even a good number local people registered in the audience. Two TV channels, one radio and three daily papers reported about the event. A werkfilm was also made, available in DVD format.
The conference was evaluated unequivocally positively, and this gave the necessary impetus for the project planned to last about one-and-half decade.
Since all interested stakeholders participated, beyond discussion real and concrete cooperation could start among the organisations. In the following months another fundraising period came, as a result of which the first practical step – a scientific survey of the present status of the creek and its catchments – can start this year. In 2006, 8 to 10 specialists will do research along the creek using the methods outlined in the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). Thus, the project in its first 10 months reached a level unique to the Hungarian civil sector, and whose momentum we should like to keep as much as possible – taking into account the estimated 15 year time-frame needed.
This project really is a public (state) task undertaken by civil society groups, as according to the WFD Hungary is obliged to reach the “good ecological status” of its waters until 2015. It is also a success story, as – compared to the quick results it has achieved so far – it did not receive any governmental support until now, thus it was based solely on the initiative of civic organisations.
We thank Environmental Partnership for its support, and hope that the trust they invested in us will prove to be a first step of an initiative which may become exemplary not only in Hungary but also on the European level.”
With greetings from Sze-Lá-ví Foundation
Szendrői Júlia és Vida Antal
Tordas, 6th April 2006