Small Grants Fund Project: “Effective Management of Ramsar Sites in Turkey”


The project conducted by Doğa Derneği (Birdlife Turkey) set out to explore the existing wetland management structures in Turkey by arranging several meetings with different stakeholders involved in these processes. The results of these consultations were applied to the case of Ramsar Site Kizilirmak Delta which served as a pilot site. In additional discussions with key decision makers and other stakeholders, all parties agreed that the establishment of a technical commission (also comprising farmers and other land users) in addition to the already existing local Wetland Commission would be beneficial. Consequently, the project supported the establishment of such a technical commission and organised a field visit to Gediz Delta Ramsar Site to share experiences between the managers of the two deltas.

Workshop in Samsun (Photo credit: Can Yeniyurt Doğa Derneği)

Furthermore, a guidebook about Turkey’s Ramsar Sites was prepared and published in English (PDF here) and Turkish (PDF here). It outlines the most important characteristics of all Ramsar Sites in Turkey and also describes their ownership and protection status, the most important land uses as well as their management structures. 

Field visit to Kızılırmak-Delta Ramsar Site (Photo credit: Can Yeniyurt Doğa Derneği)

Finally, eight Ramsar Sites that were in the process of implementing their management plans were visited in collaboration with several partners, including Esther Koopmanschap, Centre for Development Innovation and one Ramsar CEPA Panel member. Interviews with the main stakeholders were carried out in order to assess their management plan development processes. The interview outcomes were shared in a workshop with all staff members of the Provincial Directorates of the Ministry of Environment who are responsible for the preparation of management plans for all Turkish Ramsar Sites, several NGOs, University staff and a representative of the Ramsar Secretariat. The workshop coincided with the celebrations of World Wetlands Day and its outcomes were summarised in the Ramsar Sites Management Plan evaluation report (in Turkish). The main issues identified include the lack of knowledge on wetland management planning processes and differences in perception on different levels regarding participatory approaches. Also a lack of capacity for biodiversity monitoring, lack of financial resources and frequent turnovers in Government staff responsible for the management plan implementation process have been identified as problematic.

Overall, it has been proven to be beneficial to bring together the managers of different Ramsar Sites to share experiences and discuss possible solutions. The results of the projects were shared at the Mediterranean Conservation Sciences Conference 2011. For further details on the project and recommendations for the future, see the project report here (PDF).

Report by Kati Wenzel, Ramsar’s Assistant Advisor for Europe

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