Training course on Management plans for Ramsar Sites in Central, Southern and Eastern Europe.

23/11/2007

Management plans for Ramsar Sites in central, southern and eastern Europe

This training course organized by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in cooperation with the Ramsar Secretariat. From 18 to 22 October 2007, 31 project and protected areas managers, civil servants from Ramsar administrative authorities, NGO coordinators and wetland experts gathered at the International Academy for Nature Conservation (INA), situated on the small island of Vilm, located in the shallow Greifswald bay off the German Baltic Sea coast.

Coast line of the island of Vilm on the Greifswalder Bodden shallow bay of the Baltic Sea

The participants, coming from Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, China, Croatia, Germany, Latvia, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, and Tajikistan, brought together a very diverse field of experience and knowledge with regard to wetland management. The management planning expert Stephan Amend facilitated the course so as to achieve a balanced mixture of know-how transfer, practical group work on case studies, and more theoretical presentations, with the help of Tobias Salathé from the Ramsar Secretariat.

Andrea Burmester (INA) organized the course and introduced the participants with a guided tour on the natural and historical features of the island of Vilm. This provided basic information to the working groups to reflect on the question if the island and its surrounding marine area could be designated as a Ramsar Site. All five groups actually concluded that this potential does exist and developed possible zoning plans for the area. They further discussed in detail five case studies of Ramsar Sites in Central, Southern and Eastern Europe: Prespa lakes (Albania, Greece, Macedonia), Lonjsko Polje (Croatia) and Latorica (Slovakia) floodplains, Skadar/Shkodra lake (Albania, Montenegro), and the Prostyr fen mire (Belarus). Issues and needs for transboundary management were specifically addressed in the case of the Prespa and Skadar/Shkodra lakes.

Alexander Belokurov from WWF International presented the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool, developed together with the World Bank, and Esther Koopmanschap, of Wageningen International, presented fundamental principles about good communication and participation as a help for trainers to train others.

The four days of intensive exchanges forged together a devoted community of Ramsar and wetland managing enthusiasts, who plan to continue their exchanges and contacts, and called for additional training courses on site, focusing on specific areas in their home countries. The Ramsar Secretariat thanks the German Federal Environment Ministry for having organized (and paid for) this training course, as a contribution to the Convention on Biodiversity Programme of Work on Protected Areas. Hopefully this fruitful cooperation can be repeated in the future.

The official report of the course from the organisers is available for download in PDF format here.

Andrea Burmester explaining the natural values of the nature reserve on the island of Vilm to the participants

Interactive group discussion on management proposals for selected Ramsar Sites

Sunrise on the departure day over the Greifwalder Bodden, encouraging the participants to apply their new skills when back at home

-- Report and photos by Tobias Salathé, Ramsar Secretariat

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