Association of delta managers inaugurated in Italy

Association of delta managers inaugurated in Italy

13 September 2002

Delta chiama Delta ("Delta calls Delta") founded in Comacchio, Italy

On 6 September 2002, the first official international network of Ramsar Sites came into being in the Italian town of Comacchio with the constitution of the Association "Delta chiama Delta" for the conservation and sustainable development of costal and delta areas. Its statutes, finalised with the help of legal experts during the morning's meeting, make special reference to the Ramsar Convention and to the need to take into account environmental, social, historical, cultural, and economical values of wetlands.

President Valter Zago and director Lucilla Previati of the Po Delta Park of the Emilia-Romagna Region saw their tireless efforts to bring delta wetland managers together come to fruition when Geremia Gennari, president of the Veneto Regional Park of the Po Delta, Bernard Guihéneuf, director of the Brière Regional Nature Park in France, Ernest Sirbu of the Danube Delta Biosphere Authority in Romania, and Imma Juan, president of the Ebro Delta Nature Park in Spain, signed the constitutionary act.

These five delta park management authorities represent already 14 Ramsar Sites covering together nearly 700,000 hectares in four different countries. They are to be joined during the next few weeks by three additional founding members, unable to be present at the signing ceremony in Comacchio: the Doñana National Park in Spain, the Evros Delta management authority in Greece, and Ría Formosa Nature Park in Portugal, thus adding three more Ramsar Sites that cover together 76,000 ha.

"Delta chiama Delta" members will hold specific meetings in 2003 during coastal zone conferences in Bari and Ravenna to define their common work plan and programme of exchanges. Ramsar's COP8 this November in Valencia is providing them with a first opportunity to present their new network and make it widely known to potentially interested future partners from other delta areas. This may notably concern the other delta management authorities that participated in the Ramsar-Evian project (coordinated in 1998-2000 by the MedWet Initiative) facilitating technical exchanges between delta areas in closed seas: the Danube and Dnister deltas in the Ukraine, the Axios-Loudias-Aliakmon delta in Greece, the Göksu delta in Turkey, and the Volga delta in Russia. More information can be obtained from .

During the Nineties, eight international meetings were already bringing together delta managers in Comacchio under the banner "Delta chiama Delta". Comacchio, a small town in Ferrara Province, is situated on an island in the middle of a large lagoon south of the Po delta with its many river mouths to the Adriatic sea. The lagoon is used for fish farming (in so called "valli" basins), salt production, transport, trade and hunting since Roman times. Nowadays, modern forms of beach, cultural and nature tourism are becoming increasingly important land-uses. UNESCO included the historical city centre of Ferrara with its exemplary Renaissance town plan in the World Heritage List, stating that the residences of the Dukes of Este in the Po Delta are an exceptional illustration of the effect of Renaissance culture on its natural surroundings, and that the Po Delta is a planned landscape area that conserves its original form in a remarkable way. By doing so, the World Heritage Convention was first in recognizing at international level the important cultural heritage of the Po Delta Ramsar Sites.

-- reported by Tobias Salathé, Ramsar

Signing ceremony, 6 September 2002, at the offices of Parco del Delta del Po (Emilia-Romagna) with Ernest Sirbu, Imma Juan, Bernard Guihéneuf, Valter Zago and Geremia Gennari (seated f.l.t.r.)

Saline di Cervia Ramsar Site south of Comacchio

Fishing huts along the drainage canal between the delta plain and Adriatic Sea next to Ortazzo e Ortazzino Ramsar Site south of Comacchio

Ortazzo pinewood and freshwater marsh in the eponymous Ramsar Site