World Wetlands Day 2006 in Slovenia


WWD celebrations in Ljubljana and the Lake Cerknica Ramsar site

The Slovenian Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, together with the NGO "Danube Environmental Forum" represented in Slovenia by the "Society for Bird Studies and Nature Conservation", organized on World Wetlands Day 2006, in the freshly renovated City Museum of Ljubljana, a seminar on the functions provided by wetlands for life and development, a very useful transposition of this year's WWD theme "Livelihoods at risk - in the face of poverty, wetlands are lifelines" to the European context. The seminar brought together about 80 specialists from different sectors (policy, planning, agriculture, science, education, etc.) and was opened by Mladen Berginc, Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning and the chair of the National Ramsar Committee, followed by an introduction by Gordana Beltram, Undersecretary, former chair of the Ramsar Standing Committee.

The seminar was followed by a prize ceremony of the school competition on the theme "Slovenia - the water trail of Europe". The cash prizes, offered by the company Helios, were handed over by Environment Minister Janez Podobnik to four groups of secondary school children for their very innovative approaches that illustrated vividly what's in water, as advocated by the Ramsar Convention. The ceremony was moderated by Mitja Bricelj, the head of the Slovenian delegation to the Danube Commission (ICPDR), underlining the need to bring water management together with nature conservation.

In the evening of 2 February, World Wetlands Day celebrations continued in the village of Cerknica, hosted by Mayor Miroslav Levar. The occasion was a photo exhibition by Tine Schein, director of the newly created Regional Park ( ), illustrating the unique landscape of Slovenia's third Ramsar Site "Lake Cerknica and its environs" (for a taste of a few of the photos go to This was the opportunity to hand over the official Ramsar Site Diplomas to Environment Minister Podobnik and Mayor Levar. On the next morning, Leon Kebe of the Notranjski Regional Park, of which the new Ramsar Site forms the essential part, guided the Ramsar Secretariat visitor to the splendid winter scenery of the intermittent karst lake.

Then it was time to move to Slovenia's second Ramsar Site (listed in 1999), the Skocjan Caves Regional Park. World Wetlands Day was the occasion to create the Slovenian Park Rangers Federation. Rangers from all parts of the country came together to formalize their largely-volunteering work to inform visitors and guide them through the different parks in Slovenia. As shown by the International Rangers Federation, presented by Peter Townsend, the work undertaken by rangers, where they exist, covers an important part of the needs of CEPA (communication, education, participation and awareness) for many Ramsar Sites.

-- Tobias Salathé, Ramsar

Minister Podobnik with the winning schoolchildren

Gordana Beltram and State Secretary Mladen Berginc

Notranjski Regional Park director Tine Schein congratulating Environment Minister Podobnik and Cerknica Mayor Levar for the Ramsar Site listing

The winter landscape of Cerknica lake with Leon Kebe of the Regional Park and Gordana Beltram of the Environment Ministry

Albin Debevec, director of Skocjan Caves Regional Park (and Ramsar site), welcoming Slovenia’s park rangers gathered here to sign the document constituting their national federation

Reka river in the collapsed dolina near the village Skocjan, just before continuing its flow underground across the Skocjan caves towards the Adriatic coast in Italy

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