Evian Encounter on the Carpathian Wetland Initiative

01/12/2006

Preparations for the Carpathian Wetland Initiative 2007-2008

Evian Encounters are an important component of the Ramsar Convention project financed by the Danone group, owner of the Evian mineral waters company. The Encounters, of which this was the sixth since 1998, are designed to bring together senior officials of the Ramsar Contracting Parties and other relevant organizations in order to discuss in an informal atmosphere current approaches to and challenges of the implementation of the Ramsar Convention.

The Evian Encounter 2006 focused on the Carpathian Wetland Initiative, building on the outcomes of the project "Network of Carpathian Protected Areas and Ramsar Sites" coordinated by the Slovak State Nature Conservancy with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 15-17 November 2006, nineteen wetland and water experts gathered in Evian, France, including ministerial focal points of all seven Carpathian countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Ukraine) to define the fields of activities for 2007-2008 to be addressed by the Carpathian Wetland Initiative.

During the first day the meeting focused on the Ramsar Work Plan 2006-2008 and the results of the first workshop on the Carpathian Wetland Initiative in 2004, complemented by presentations of the priorities perceived by the seven Carpathian countries. This was followed in the afternoon by a guided tour in the nearby Pré Curieux Water Gardens and Ramsar Centre established by the municipality and the mineral water company of Evian (www.precurieux.com). The second day of the Encounter was devoted to presentations on the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas, the Carpathian Ecoregion Initiative (CERI), the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme, the UNEP-GEF Danube Regional Project in support of the Danube Protection Commission (ICPDR) and a WWF project on Transcarpathian riverine forests in Ukraine. Then the participants split into three smaller groups to discuss in detail how to move the Carpathian Wetland Initiative forward, focusing on wetlands inventory and assessment, river basin planning, and transborder wetland management. Harald Egerer, the head of the interim secretariat of the Carpathian Convention (www.carpathianconvention.org) provided an overview of the upcoming first meeting of the Conference of the Parties, focusing on Article 4 on conservation and sustainable use of biological and landscape diversity and Article 6 on sustainable and integrated water/river basin management.

On the last day, the experts discussed the concrete proposals by the working groups and agreed on a programme of activities (cf. PDF attachment) to fully operate the Carpathian Wetland Initiative as a Ramsar Regional Initiative by COP10 (in accordance with Resolution IX.7). Also, the participants agreed to request the Carpathian countries to establish a Working Group under the Carpathian Convention during COP1, to be held in Kyiv, 11-13 December 2006. The Ministerial Segment of this Conference will be the occasion for the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding to guide further cooperation between the Ramsar and Carpathian Conventions, based on the outcomes of this Evian Encounter.

-- Tobias Salathé, Ramsar

Evian Encounter participants woke up to sunrises over the lake of Geneva with the skyline of the “Préalpes Vaudoises”, before

the serious work of the meeting started: Ramsar national focal points from left: András Schmidt (Hungary), Dariusz Piechowski (Poland), Libuse Vlasáková (Czechia, Standing Committee), Jan Kadlecik and Ivan Koubek (Slovakia), interrupted by the visit of the Pré Curieux Water Gardens and Ramsar Centre at the lake shores:



hydrological discussion around a three-dimensional model of the Pays de Gavot rainwater catchment basin supplying the Evian mineral water source downstream (hopefully soon to be designated by France for the Ramsar List); best visible are from left Olivier Brière (Pré Curieux), Alexandra Doslic (Serbia), Igor Ivanenko (Ukraine), Peter Whalley (UNDP-GEF Danube Regional Project) and Sylvain Rochy (Pré Curieux)



The Carpathian experts in the Ramsar Centre exhibit, before



visiting the autumn-coloured Water Gardens; recognizable are from left Jan Kadlecik (Slovakia), Alexandra Doslic (Serbia), Dariusz Piechowski (Poland), Bohdan Prots (Ukraine), Libuse Vlasáková (Czechia, Standing Committee) and Anna Guttova (Carpathian Ecoregion Initiative).

The Evian Encounter was also the occasion to celebrate the designation by Slovakia of a new Ramsar Site in the Carpathians: The Caves of the Demanova Valley (cf. www.ramsar.org/wn/w.n.slovak_demanova.htm): Ramsar Secretary General Peter Bridgewater hands over the diploma to Robert Oruzinksy, the Ramsar focal point in the Ministry of the Environment, flanked by Ivan Koubek and Jan Kadlecik of the State Nature Conservancy.

Photos by Cristian Mititelu Raileanu, Ivan Koubek, and Tobias Salathé

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