New book on Greek Ramsar wetlands

05/11/2001

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Thymio Papayannis, former MedWet Coordinator, reports:

The publication of a new book in Greece on the Convention on Wetlands may be considered as a sign of increased interest in Ramsar of a South-Eastern European country, with a mixed track record. Greece has important wetlands, among which 10 Ramsar sites. However, until 1998 all of them faced problems and were included in the Montreux Record. Three of them showed signs of improvement and were removed from the Record during COP7, and efforts are starting for the management of all of them.

The book is: Papagrigoriou, Vlassios, 2001, Wetlands of International Importance: The International Ramsar Convention and its legal implications for Greece, Sakkoulas Publications, Athens, 260 PP.

The first chapter describes the origins and history of the Convention, while the second analyses the definition included therein, and especially the clarification of the term 'wetland'. The third chapter presents the contents and framework of the Convention, followed by a discussion of its organs in the next chapter.

Of particular interest is chapter 5, which attempts an evaluation of the Convention from the legal perspective, stressing its strong and weak points (such as the existence of 'soft' law), but concluding on the positive side.

The book does not stop here. It continues with an assessment of the degree of compliance of Greece to its obligation under the Convention (chapter 6) and in chapter 8 proceeds with a detailed analysis of the existing conditions and the degree of protection of all ten Greek Ramsar sites. This is quite objective, although in some cases it does not reflect latest developments. (For example, there is no mention of the Prespa Park establishment.)

In parallel, the book presents in chapter 7 the corresponding European Community legislation on wetlands and draws interesting parallels with the provisions of the Ramsar Convention.

At the end, the texts of the Convention, including the Paris (1982) and Regina (1987) amendments, are appended (chapter 9).

All in all an interesting book, which merits careful reading and further evaluation.

ISBN number ISBN 960-301-486-9

Available through: Sakkoulas Editions Ethikis Amynas 42, 54621 Thessaloniki, Greece Tel.:+3010 244 228, Fax: +3031 244 230, e-mail: info@sakkoulas.gr, site: http:/www.sakkoulas.gr.

Best regards Thymio P.

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