Danone-Evian/FFEM workshop on "Closed Sea Deltas", January 1999


Tim Jones, Ramsar Regional Coordinator for Europe, recently attended the first workshop of the network of 'Closed Sea Deltas' established under the Danone-Evian/FFEM programme. The sessions ran from Wednesday to Saturday, 20-23 January 1999, and were attended by about 20 delta managers from France (Rhône delta), Greece (Axios-Loudias-Aliakmon), Italy (Po), Romania (Danube), Russia (Volga), Spain (Ebro), and Ukraine (Danube and Dnepr deltas). The only delta not represented was the Nile delta in Egypt; unfortunately, last-minute visa problems prevented the designated person from attending.

The meeting took place in Campagna Lupia, a small village near Venice, and was divided into formal workshop sessions and field visits in the Po delta, including the WWF-run Ramsar site of Valle Averto. Christian Perennou (Tour du Valat) and Christophe Lefebvre (Conservatoire du Littoral) did an excellent job with the logistical arrangements, and Mr Perennou is responsible for compiling a full report, including the technical papers presented.

The workshop had four main results:

(a) excellent networking was established among the participants (most of the ca.20 participants had never met before, but really felt part of a team by the end of the workshop);

(b) technical presentations revealed that all of the deltas share common management problems, in spite of the geographical, cultural and economic differences between the countries concerned (insufficient water quantity and quality due to effects of dam construction, water abstraction, irrigated agriculture with high agrochemical inputs, insufficient resources for management plan implementation) and can therefore gain much by sharing information, experience and expertise;

(c) a programme of technical exchanges between pairs of deltas was arranged (each delta will be visited by an expert from at least one of the other deltas to share information on a selected technical theme, these visits to take place in 1999 and the first part of 2000);

(d) decision was taken on the technical programme, date and venue of the second workshop (Odessa, Ukriane, September 2000).

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