Ramsar Advisory Mission to the Ukrainian Danube Delta


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On 27-31 October 2003 a joint mission was carried out by the Man and Biosphere Programme (MaB) of UNESCO and the Ramsar Secretariat to the Danube Biosphere Reserve and Kyliiske Mouth Ramsar Site. The core zone of this protected area covers the most pristine and dynamic part of the large Danube Delta. The Delta region is internationally recognized as a transboundary Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site, covering nearly 700,000 hectares in Ukraine and Romania. The State Agency for Protected Areas (Ramsar's Administrative Authority in Ukraine) of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources invited two experts, Dr Jan Kvet, chairman of the Czech National MaB Committee and member of the MaB Bureau, and Dr Tobias Salathé from the Ramsar Secretariat to advise the Ukrainian authorities about measures to improve the functioning of the protected area, especially in the light of the planned construction of a waterway through the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta. Their recommendations regarding the different alternatives proposed for navigation routes through the delta are available on this Web site as Ramsar Advisory Mission report no. 53, and here are some pictures from Vilkovo, also known as the "Venice of the East".

(Left) Mayor Timoshenko of Vilkovo, Jan Kvet of the MAB Bureau, and Alexandr Voloshkevich, the director of the Danube Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site discussing the waterway issue in the Biosphere Reserve office in Vilkovo. (Right) The senior scientist of the DBR Micha Zhmud and Jan Kvet of the MAB Bureau examining the former waterway near the derelict Ust'-Dunaisk port facilities in the northern part of the Biosphere Reserve.

The UNESCO/Ramsar mission meeting with NGO representatives and scientists in Odesa, learning about their positions regarding the proposed waterway alternatives through the Danube Delta.

Sergiy Komarchuk of the State Agency of Protected Areas (the Ramsar Administrative Authority in Ukraine) visiting the exhibit of the DBR in Vilkovo.

RAM mission participants visiting the Danube Biosphere Reserve exhibit in Vilkovo.

These are some impressions of the local life during an autumn day in the "Venice of the East", Vilkovo, the main settlement in the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta, enchanting the visitor with its particular charm.

The main Vilkovo channel

The church in Vilkovo

-- text and photos by Tobias Salathé, Ramsar

Satellite picture of the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta. The northern branch of the Danube was formerly used for navigation, the central branch (Bystro) cuts straight through the core zone of the Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site, the southern branch marks the border with Romania. The town of Vilkovo lies on the Kylia Danube arm upstream of these three branches in the NW part of the picture.

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