The Carpathian countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine) work together for water and wetland management, conservation and restoration in the framework of the Carpathian Wetland Initiative (www.cwi.sk). This Ramsar Regional Initiative is also formally part of the work programme of the Carpathian Convention (www.carpathianconvention.org). Since 4 June 2014, this regional cooperation initiative has a physical home in the Carpathian town of Bánska Bystrica, where Ján Kadlečík, the Initiative’s Coordinator, opened the newly established “Carpathian Wetland Centre” in a historic building belonging to the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic.
|Ján Kadlečík and Libuse Vlasáková (Czech Ramsar focal point) at the entrance of the Carpathian Wetland Centre|
The centre offers Jan and his colleagues office and meeting facilities and a library on Carpathian wetland issues. The building renovation and office refurbishment were financially supported by the Swiss contribution to the EU enlargement, as part of the project for the Development of nature conservation and of protected areas in the Slovak Carpathians, by EU Structural Funds and Slovak institutions. A small wetland was created in the urban garden of the centre. It has immediately attracted invertebrates and amphibians and will provide a pleasantbackground to future meetings of the board of the Carpathian Wetland Initiative and to other meetings organized in the centre. Bánska Bystrica’s location in central Slovakia is ideal to visit Carpathian river valleys, marshes, alkaline fens and peatbogs.
|The opening of the centre generated interest among Slovak media and press agencies.|
|Adriana Kusiková (Slovak Ramsar Focal Point) takes a picture of Ján Kadlečík addressing guests in front of the centre’s small wetland garden.|
|After the opening ceremony in town, guests visited a restored pond in the Harmanecká valley (above) and the cave some 300 metres above, an example of Carpathian karst wetlands (below).|
Report and photos by Tobias Salathé, Senior Advisor for Europe