Portugal inaugurates new Wetlands Centre


[On the occasion of the MedWet Inventories Seminar and the MedWet Inventory Working Group Meeting held in Almada, Lisbon, Portugal, 17 to 23 February, the Government of Portugal inaugurated the Portuguese Wetlands Centre (CEZH - Centro de Zonas Humidas), part of the ICN-Instituto Concservacao da Natureza. Here is a report of the inauguration from Spyros Kouvelis, MedWet Coordinator.]

Inauguration of the Portuguese Wetlands Centre

On Monday, 18 February 2002,the Secretary General for the Environment and Land Planning of Portugal, Mr. Pedro Silva Pereira, inaugurated the new Portuguese Wetlands Centre (Centro de Zonas Humidas), which will be part of the Nature Conservation Institute (ICN) of the Portuguese Ministry of Environment.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by the representatives of the Municipality of Almada, which is hosting the CEZH in the renovated complex of buildings that served as port/fishing facilities in the old days, on the banks of river Tejo. The MedWet Coast facilitator, Ms Lamia Mansour, and a group of wetland specialists from all over the Mediterranean participated in the ceremony, with the opportunity of the training seminar that takes place from 18-23 February in Almada, in the context of the MedWet Coast project.

The Secretary General stressed in his speech the importance of the centre to provide the necessary tools and capacity for managing the country's rich and diverse wetlands, a fact that is both a need in order to conserve the precious resources of wetlands as much as an international obligation within the European Legislation and the Convention on Wetlands. It will also provide a good partner for enhancing the international collaboration on wetlands.

The Ramsar Convention was represented by the MedWet Coordinator, Spyros Kouvelis, who stressed the contribution of Portugal in the effort to conserve Mediterranean wetlands, and expressed his certainty of an increased participation of the CEZH in the development of MedWet activities.

The new Centre is already fully equipped, employs three full-time staff member and is coordinated by Joao Carlos Farinha, one of the pioneers of the MedWet initiative from its first steps. The CEZH will focus its work on wetland inventories and public awareness and information.

Participants in the MedWetCoast seminar, at the new Wetland Centre.

A cake in honor of MedWetCoast.

Participants in the MedWet Inventory Working Group informal meeting.

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