Tuesday, 5 February 2008

‘An excursion to the GR wetlands’

A very well known journalist (also known from ERT 3 - national TV channel) wrote an article in yesterdays Sunday edition of Makedonia newspaper (03/02/2008) under the title ‘An excursion to the wetland’. The article includes statements from the official press announcement of a member of the Euro parliament.

As a reply & in addition to the previous post on Worlds Wetland Day…

‘An excursion to the GR wetlands’
Greece signed the Ramsar Convention on 21/12/1975 including ten (10) sites with total area 163.501 hectares.

The sites are:
Evros Delta (code: 3GR001 – area: 9,267 ha)
Lake Vistonis, Porto Lagos, Lake Ismaris & adjoining lagoons (code: 3GR002 - 24,396 ha)
Nestos delta & adjoining lagoons (code: 3GR004 – area: 21,930 ha)
Lakes Volvi & Koronia (code: 3GR005 – area: 16,388 ha)
Artificial Lake Kerkini (code: 3GR006 – area: 10,996 ha
Axios, Loudias, Aliakmon Delta (code: 3GR007 – area: 11,808 ha)
Lake Mikri Prespa (code: 3GR008 – area: 5,078 ha)
Amvrakikos gulf (code: 3GR009 – area: 23,649 ha)
Messolonghi lagoons (code: 3GR010 – area: 33,687 ha)
Kotychi lagoons (code: 3GR011 – area: 6,302 ha)

In 1990 ten (10) out of ten (10) (!) wetlands joined the Montreux Record (‘a record of Ramsar sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur’). In 1999 three (3) wetlands were removed from the Record. Till 2008 the situation is as follows:

Evros delta / Montreux Record since 07/04/90, removed 18/05/99
Artificial Lake Kerkini / Montreux Record since 07/04/90, removed 18/05/99
Lake Mikri Prespa / Montreux Record since 07/04/90, removed 18/05/99
Lake Vistonis, Porto Lagos, Lake Ismaris & adjoining lagoons / Montreux Record since 04/07/90
Nestos delta & adjoining lagoons / Montreux Record since 04/07/90
Lakes Volvi & Koronia / Montreux Record since 04/07/90
Axios, Loudias, Aliakmon delta / Montreux Record since 04/07/90
Amvrakikos gulf / Montreux Record since 04/07/90
Messolonghi lagoons / Montreux Record since 04/07/90
Kotychi lagoons / Montreux Record since 04/07/90

The Birds Directive (79/403/EEC) is a Directive ‘on the conservation of wild birds‘ for member states of the E.U. To begin with, the Ramsar convention is a convention with a worldwide importance and these two shouldn’t be mixed.

In conclusion:
- We never actually did anything to protect our wetlands from 1975 till now, over thirty years time….
- Even after so many years, articles in the newspapers luck on basic knowledge (as the one stated above) regarding the Ramsar List and the Worlds Wetland Day.

Special thanks to my friend Eleni Tzortaki for the good and fast work regarding the picture posted herein

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Saturday, 2 February 2008 - World Wetlands Day

2 February each year is World Wetlands Day. It marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands* on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. Each year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular. The Convention's suggested theme for World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2008, is Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People.

On the basis of this theme, after the invitation from the Management Agency and with the support of local committees and NGO’s, we gathered all in the Centre of Culture & Environment of Malgara village. Key notes:

1. ‘The protection of the area is a personal matter’ - Mayor of Axios Municipality
2. ‘The measures taken for the protection of the area are not so effective, but the base for the creation of the Management Agency is co-operation, and that is what we must accomplish. – Head of the Management Agency
3. ‘Every evolution has its victims’ referring to the problems farmers have working inside the protected area in comparison with the farmers outside the area - Head of the Management Agency

I disagree on the last one. Every evolution has victims those that don’t want to go aboard train, the train of evolution. People should feel lucky for being born and live in the area and not unlucky for being “captured” inside it, as it was stated by one of the farmers of the region.

Recently a group of volunteers established a group named ‘Team Nature Delta’ for those who want to volunteer for the protection of the area.

*The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention), signed in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 158 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1717 wetland sites, (total area: 159 million hectares), designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Greece was the 7th country to sign the convention. In 1974 a Greek law established the Convention and 10 sites (total area: 163501 hectares) where included in the ‘Ramsar list’, among them site ‘Axios, Loudias, Aliakmon Delta ‘(code: 3GR007). The area is also listed in the Natura 2000 network.

More info:
Management Agency - http://axiosdelta.blogspot.com/ (in Greek)
the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands - http://www.ramsar.org/ the Mediterranean Initiative of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (MedWet) - http://www.medwet.org/