World Wetlands Day 2002: Yugoslavia

12/02/2002

WORLD WETLAND DAY SEMINAR

Celebration of WWD 2002 in Yugoslavia was opportunity to once again draw attention on need of protection and wise and sustainable management of wetland areas. This year celebration of WWD was organized by Institute for Protection of Nature of Serbia in cooperation with Federal Secretary for Labor and Social Care, Department for Environment.

Two events have been organized within this year celebration: Seminar "Who thinks locally, who globally" and Promotion of five new assets in Serbia that are to be nominated as Ramsar sites. Both events took place on February 1. 2002. in Sremska Mitrovica town and Special Nature Reserve "Zasavica" (protected area on Sava River). The host was manager of the Nature Reserve, NGO Pokret gorana Sremska Mitrovica. The aim of the Seminar was to introduce and discuss ways and opportunities of involving all interested stakeholders in development of the nature area, starting from the recommendations of the relevant conventions, international standards and documents.

Participants of the Seminar were representatives of the local, republic and federal authorities, expert institutions, managers of wetland areas, NGOs and local inhabitants. First of all, it was aimed at environmental journalists, from both national and local media. That was the opportunity for all those groups to share their knowledge, views and experiences in protecting and using the wetland area from the point of view of principles of sustainability and wise use of resources.

After the plenary, work was organized in two workshops. Topics of the workshops were: problems and possible solutions and role of the different groups in the development of the natural assets, with the emphasis on the role of local media. The results of the discussion confirmed importance of building trust and partnership between local people, managers, experts, officials and all the other interested stakeholders in the process of development of protected area. One of the proposals (given by local people) was to create and broadcast contact program on values of Special nature reserve, which would also present different interests of people and opportunities to find common one.

Official Program of celebration of WWD started with the Presentation of five protected natural assets in Serbia that are going to be nominated as Ramsar sites, among wich Nature Reserve "Zasavica". In addition to that, following this year recommendations for the celebration issues, talk was given on cultural values of wetland areas. Visit to the Nature Reserve "Zasavica" was organized, after CD presentation as an introduction. Numerous journalists used the visit to get interviews in the beautiful landscape of the Reserve. Participants of the event could also enjoy the local food products, having lunch at one of the spots.

During the official part of celebration, the initiative of colleagues from Australia was presented, and all the participants supported their campaign against gold mine opening on the edge of the valuable wetland area, Lake Cowal, New South Wales.

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