Bulgaria's National Ramsar Committee holds first meeting

12/04/2002

Bulgarian National Ramsar Committee gathers for its first meeting

On 28th March 2002 the Bulgarian National Ramsar Committee gathered for its first meeting in the Ministry of Environment and Waters in Sofia. It was established in accordance with ordinance RD-248/29.05.2000 of the Minister of Environment and Waters and includes representatives of various governmental and scientific institutions and non-governmental organizations: the Ministry of Environment and Waters, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, the Ministry of Finances, the Ministry of Regional Development, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Institute for Plant Genetic Resources, the Central Laboratory of General Ecology, the Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Programme, the Green Balkans Federation, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/BirdLife Bulgaria.

The first meeting of the Committee was attended by 9 of 13 members and 2 observers - the Executive Director of the Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Conservation Programme and a representative of the Ramsar Convention Bureau.

The agenda constituted several important points. As for its first meeting the Committee discussed establishment of operational rules and procedures on the basis of a draft paper prepared and submitted by BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria. It was agreed that a team of the Ministry of Environment and Waters and BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria will elaborate a second draft and consult with the other members of the Committee prior to its second meeting in 3 months, where the rules and procedures of the NRC should be approved.

Another important point of the agenda of the first meeting was approval of the National Report on Implementation of the Ramsar Convention in the triennium 1999-2001. Though the report was well known by all the members, as it has been circulating several times, some details still were discussed and finally it was approved by the Committee to be submitted to the Ramsar Bureau.

Briefly was discussed appointment of a new NGO focal point for matters relating to the Outreach Programme of the Ramsar Convention as the NGOs should undertake necessary steps to launch a selection procedure.

The last and the longest discussion was dedicated to the new proposals for designation of Wetlands of International Importance. The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/BirdLife Bulgaria and the Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Conservation Programme submitted proposals for 6 new Ramsar sites and for extension of 4 of the 5 existing once in Bulgaria. BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria itself submitted proposals for 11 new sites and for extension of 1 of the 5 existing ones. And finally the Municipality of Pomorie and the Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Conservation Programme submitted a proposal for 1 new site. All in total - 18 new Ramsar sites and for 5 extensions. After long discussions it was agreed that the proposals will be reviewed and consulted by other members of the Committee by the 15th May 2002 and then the Ministry of Environment and Waters will take final decision which of those sites will be designated and promoted to the List of Wetlands of International Importance.

In summary, the first meeting of the Bulgarian National Ramsar Committee was an important event with valuable implications and follow-up. We are wishing a successful and prosperous work to this new acting advisory body dedicated to the wetlands in Bulgaria.

http://genebank.hit.bg - the Institute for Plant Genetic Resources
http://www.bspb.org - the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/BirdLife BG
http://www.mi.government.bg/ - the Ministry of Economy
http://www.minedu.government.bg/ - the Ministry of Education and Science
http://www.moew.govrn.bg/ - the Ministry of Environment and Waters
http://www.mzgar.government.bg/ - the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests
http://www.mrrb.government.bg/ - the Ministry of Regional Development
http://www.minfin.government.bg/ - the Ministry of Finance
http://www.ecolab.bas.bg - the Central Laboratory of General Ecology
http://bsbcp.inet.bg - the Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Conservation Programme
http://www.greenbalkans.org/ - the Green Balkans Federation

-- reported by Sergey Dereliev, Ramsar.

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