World Wetlands Day 2004 -- Greece -- MedWet



The Coordination Unit of the MedWet Initiative, which is hosted in Athens on the initiative and the support of the Hellenic Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning & Public Works, organised a special event for the celebration of the World Wetlands Day, on Monday, 2nd of February 2004, in the conference hall of Villa Kazouli (its seat).

The event (click here to view the agenda) aimed at informing government and non-government bodies, the MedWet countries' embassies in Greece, the Press and representatives from agencies involved in wetland management in Greece, about the activities, the benefits and the perspectives that emerge from the implementation of the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the operation of the MedWet Coordination Unit, for the Mediterranean basin, and in Greece in particular.

On behalf of the Hellenic Ministry for the Environment, the welcoming address was made by Mr. John Vournas, Director General for the Environment, and also the Focal Point of MedWet for Greece. The key-note presentation was made by the Deputy Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention Dr Nick Davidson. The MW Coordinator, Spyros Kouvelis, talked about the identity, actions and significance of the MedWet Initiative in the framework of the Ramsar Convention and presented the new MedWet Life-3rd countries project which has just started in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia as a specific example of MW action in North Africa. Mrs Demetra Spala from the Ministry for the Environment (keenly involved in MedWet since its beginning) presented a brief history of the Initiative and the active and long-term commitment of the Ministry in it. Two presentations were given by the presidents of the management bodies of Ramsar protected areas, by Prof. Gorge Stamou for Prespa and by Prof. Dimitris Tzanoudakis for Kotychi-Strofylia, depicting main problems and challenges. Prof. George Zalidis talked about the challenging interaction of the scientific community and the Ramsar and MedWet guidelines and tools, with the day-to-day and longer-term operation of the protected areas management bodies in Greece. Finally, Mrs Panagiota Maragou from WWF-Hellas talked about the catalytic role of the NGOs in wetland management (joint presentation with the Hellenic Ornithological Society). A discussion followed, based on interventions by participants.

The event closed with an enjoyable buffet with various Mediterranean gastronomic tastes. During coffee breaks and lunch time, the Ramsar WWD video was playing. Approximately 60 people attended the event, and received WWD material kindly provided to the Coordination Unit by the Ramsar Secretariat. The conference hall was decorated with photographic material from several Mediterranean wetlands, specifically prepared for the event. There was simultaneous interpretation from English to Greek and vice-versa. The largest part of the cost for this information-celebration event was covered by the Hellenic Ministry for the Environment.

Nick Davidson and Spyros Kouvelis were both interviewed before the camera for the National Television. A press release was sent to several media contacts before and at the day of the event.

-- reported by Maria Anagnostopoulou, MedWet Communications Officer

Spyros Kouvelis

The audience (George Zalidis center)

Nick Davidson's presentation

The audience

Demetra Spala

Spyros Kouvelis, John Vournas, Nick Davidson

Nick Davidson on television.

Rhapsodic interpretation.


09:00-09:30 Arrival of participants and registration
10:00-10:10 Welcoming address - Greek Minister for the Environment, Mrs Vasso Papandreou
10:10-10:20 Welcoming address - President of the National Centre for the Environment & Sustainable Development, Dr Michael Modinos
10:20-10:30 Welcoming address - Mr. Yannis Boutaris, President of the "Natura 2000" Committee
10:30-10:50 Keynote presentation: The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands- Dr. Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention

10:50-11:15 Coffee break

11:15-11:30 MedWet: The Mediterranean Initiative of the Ramsar Convention. Significance, actions, and results - Spyros Kouvelis, MedWet Coordinator
11:30-11:40 An example of regional action of MedWet in North-African countries - MedWet Coordination Unit
11:40-12:00 Discussion

12:00-12:15 Greece and the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative - Mrs Demetra Spala, Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning & Public Works
12:15-12:35 Management bodies of protected areas including Ramsar wetlands in Greece - President of the management body of the Prespa National Park Prof. George Stamou - President of the management body of Kotychi-Strofylia wetlands Prof. D. Tzanoudakis
12:30-12:45 The scientific community and the management of wetlands - Prof. George Zalidis
12:45-13:05 Participation of the NGOs in wetland management - WWF Hellas & Hellenic Ornithological Society
13:05- 13:30 Discussion

13:30 - 14:30 Lunch - Mediterranean buffet (parallel video projection).

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