12th Living Lakes Conference, Lake Trasimeno, 2008


Press Release


In Europe 50 % of all wetlands are threatened

Perugia, 25.09.2008: The world wide increasing use of land and water for agriculture puts tremendous pressure on lakes and wetlands. During the opening ceremony of the international Living Lakes Conference experts demand greater measures for the protection of these essential ecosystems. 

In Europe 50 % of wetlands are endangered due to increased water consumption, stated Beate Jessel, the president of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. This is an alarming fact, as two thirds of all wetlands in Europe have already disappeared during the last century.  Since 1985 the irrigated agricultural land has increased by 20%. Only 38% of all lakes in Germany will, according to latest research, very likely reach the good ecological status by 2015, aspired by the European Water Framework Directive. Excessive nutrient pollution and destruction of large areas of shoreline are important causes for the tremendous strain placed on lakes in Germany. Catchment areas cause an overlap in the fields of water protection and environmental legislation in European politics. „For this reason, it is important that the authorities for water and environment and private stakeholders work together in this area”, said Ms Jessel.

Until the 26 of September about 250 conservationists from 30 countries, all active in the field of lake and wetland protection, are meeting at Trasimeno Lake in Italy. During the conference the cultural importance of lakes is introduced and strategies on how cultural and spiritual traditions can contribute to the protection of lakes are being discussed. The consequences of climate change and the increase of plants used for fuel production are further aspects discussed especially with respect to the effects these have on lakes and wetlands.

Recently, ten lakes – among them Lake Trasimeno, Lago Maggiore und Comer Lake – have joined to form the national Living Lakes Network Italy with the goal to promote sustainable development in lake regions. The lakes are exposed to numerous threats from agricultural nutrient contamination to high tourism emergences and industrial and domestic pollution. „Even at Comer Lake in Northern Italy 14% of all sewage flows untreated into the water body”, said Vittorio Dezza from the environmental organisation Legambiente.

At the opening ceremony of the 12th Living Lakes Conference held in Perugia the capital of Umbriens Province situated in the centre of Italy, Marion Hammerl, president of the environmental organisation Global Nature Fund, said: „Lakes play an important role in the history of mankind and an exceptional role in the cultural development”. This cultural worth can contribute to the preservation of lakes. At the same time, many water bodies are threatened by local traditions.

On the 26 of September a ceremonial show for the 10th anniversary of the global Living Lakes will be held in the town Castiglione del Lago at Lake Trasimeno. This lake conservation network was founded in 1998 by Global Nature Fund based at Lake Constance in Germany. Since then over 70 organisation at 54 lakes have joined and are working together, among them are Lake Constance, Lake Baikal in Russia and the Lake Victoria in East Africa. 

The Living Lakes Network is supported by global enterprises such as C&A, Daimler, Lufthansa, T-Mobile, Ziemann, Sika and Osram.

Contact and further information:

Global Nature Fund (GNF), Stefan Hörmann, Projektmanager, Fritz-Reichle-Ring 4, 78315 Radolfzell, Germany, Tel.: + 49 - (0) 16053210 - 52, Fax: + 49 - (0) 77 32 - 99 95 – 88,

E-Mail: info@globalnature.org, Website: www.globalnature.org  

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