Akhova Ptushak Batskaushchyna - BirdLife Belarus successfully completed the 2011 Small Grants Fund (SGF) project “Buh River Valley: Integration of Ramsar Approach with other spatial forms of protection (Important Bird Area, International Biosphere Reserve, National Landscape Reserve)”.
The Western Buh (or Bug) River runs through Belarus, Ukraine and Poland and has been largely preserved in its natural state. This area supports a considerable level of biological diversity and a number of rare habitats such as oxbow lakes and floodplain alluvial forests. The transboundary location of the Buh River valley along the border in Belarus plays a contradictory role: on one hand it is preventing large-scale transformation and limiting human impact, whilst on the other hand setting certain constraints upon biodiversity protection.
The overall aim of the Small Grant Fund project was to establish a competent Buh River Valley (BRV) grassroots network of caretakers which would help develop and implement an integrated approach towards the conservation and wise use of the Buh River Valley.
Other objectives were: the development of an integrated management plan and monitoring scheme and the designation of the valley as a Wetland of International Importance and as an Important Bird Area.
The Ramsar Secretariat congratulates the APB-BirdLife Belarus for developing and running this strategically important project and for preparing the necessary information which allowed for the designation of the Poleyse Valley River Buh Ramsar Site. We look forward to learning about the future outcomes of the implementation of the Management Plan. With the participation of the Ukrainian and Polish ornithologist in the monitoring workshops, the creation of an integrated monitoring scheme is considered to be a crucial step towards the potential establishment of a functional transboundary Ramsar Site for the Buh River Valley.
The Ramsar Convention Small Grants Fund is intended to assist developing countries and those with economies in transition in implementing the Convention and to support the conservation and wise use of wetland resources, with a strong human and social dimension.
Report by Elise Allély-Fermé, Assistant Advisor for Europe