Report by Karen Jenderedjian (National Focal Point of Armenia to the Ramsar Convention) and Ayse Sargin (“Saving Burdur Lake Project” Coordinator)
On 17 and 18 September 2013, the Doğa Derneği / Nature Society (BirdLife Turkey) organised the “International Gathering on Saving Drying Lakes” in Burdur, Turkey, with the support of MAVA Foundation and Vaillant. The city of Burdur is located close to Lake Burdur, one of Turkey’s first Ramsar Sites, facing serious water loss mainly due to the construction of dams on tributaries for irrigation. Read more on Lake Burdur
Participants learned about the Saving Burdur Lake Project, and visited the site by boat to see the extent of the issue. They also visited pilot agriculture sites in Karakent village where farmers, with the assistance of Doğa Derneği, use advanced water saving methodologies (such as drip irrigation).
During the meeting (held in Mehmet Akif Ersoy University Convention and Exhibition Centre), representatives from ten countries (Armenia, France, Greece, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya and Turkey), from NGOs, scientific institutions and UNDP country offices shared knowledge and experience on the reasons and results of drying of lakes, as well as on worldwide and regional action to save and restore drying lakes.
Participants debated about the threats facing famous lakes including Turkana Lake (Kenya), Lake Urmia (Iran), Dead Sea (Jordan-Israel), Aral Lake (Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan) and Koroneia Lake (Greece). Best practices in saving lakes such as Hula Lake (Israel), Sevan Lake (Armenia), Siranguli Wetland (Iran) and Mesopotamian Marshes (Iraq) were also presented. Summaries of presentations
Participants also discussed future collaboration and decided to establish a network to exchange information and experiences on the issue of drying lakes. The network will be open to activists, academics and public officials from Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans.
Group photo: Doğa Derneği
Lake Burdur photo: Karen Jenderedjian