Ramsar concerns about Danube Delta project

08/05/2004

Danube estuary threatened by a waterway project in Ukraine

7/05/04 - Ramsar Convention Secretariat (Gland, Switzerland). The Ramsar Convention Secretariat expressed again today its concern to Ukraine's President, H.E. Mr. Leonid Kuchma, about the Government's project to build a navigable waterway through the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta. The course currently chosen for this waterway appears likely to affect seriously and irreversibly the ecological character of the Kyliiske Mouth, a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and one of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Reserves. The Secretariat called upon Ukraine to ensure that it will adhere to the international agreements it has signed, in particular the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. It is clear that several other international organizations, and, indeed, several governments, share concerns on this matter.

In October 2003, a joint Ramsar/UNESCO advisory mission visited Ukraine in order to find an ecologically acceptable solution for this project (report available at www.ramsar.org/ram_rpt_53e.htm) and proposed alternative projects that would ensure the ecological character of this site of international importance, one of Europe's foremost, largest and most valuable natural coastal areas, allowing, at the same time, its appropriate development.

Despite all the efforts, Ukraine's Minister for Transports, Mr. Georgiy Kirpa, was intended to lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the project today, but the event was eventually delayed until May 11th for meteorological reasons. It is clear that there are several solutions which would allow conservation and development to co-exist and fulfil the spirit of the Ramsar Convention's wise use principle and of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002). The Secretary General of the Convention, Peter Bridgewater, re-iterated the Secretariat's willingness to work with the Government and other interested parties to find a solution that would result in a "win-win" situation.

For more information contact:
Mr. Sebastià Semene
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Tel: +41 79 29 06 001
e-mail: ssg@ramsar.org

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