Moldova has just completed its Small Grants Fund project funded by Norway in 2011 on the development of a National Wetland Policy. The Ramsar Convention Small Grants Fund (SGF) is a mechanism to assist countries with economies in transition to implement the Convention and to support the conservation and wise use of wetland resources with a strong human and social dimension.
BIOTICA Ecological Society, in close collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and other stakeholders, was the lead partner in the development of the SGF project. They compiled baseline information and prepared specific criteria for the identification of Wetlands of National Importance (WNI) for the development of a “stand alone” National Wetlands Policy in the Republic of Moldova. The fieldwork carried out by BIOTICA evaluated 20 potential sites and has finally identified two as Wetlands of National Importance (WNI) based on the issued criteria. Moreover, 21 core wetland areas were designated for further study and evaluation.
The situation of the studied candidate sites mirrors the situation of the country related to a currently bad wetland situation, even worse after the droughts in summer 2012. Moldova is a dry country with few wetlands and most of them have been significantly or irreversibly degraded due to a long tradition of drainage for agricultural use.
The project conducted a gap analysis, identifying needs for the revision of the existing legal provisions. In September 2012, BIOTICA submitted a set of recommendations to the Ministry of the Environment related to the wetlands identified through the project, with the aim to support the drafting process of the Environmental Law and the National Environmental Strategy.
Following the guidelines of the Ramsar Convention and the national requirements for the development of strategic documents, the National Wetlands Policy was drafted based on legal revisions and the baseline information collected in the fieldwork.
Two national workshops were organised to discuss the policy draft with public consultation, raise awareness and provide advisory support on wetland management to key stakeholders. Laura Máiz-Tomé from the Ramsar Secretariat visited Moldova in December 2012 and made a presentation about the implementation of a national wetland policy.
The National Wetland Policy establishes the following specific objectives:
Improve the legal framework to eliminate disparities in national environmental legislation and ambiguities in responsibilities.
Ensure the preservation of historical and natural values of Wetlands of International Importance.
Encourage biodiversity conservation activities in wetland ecosystems.
Develop monitoring programmes for management plans.
Promote international cooperation and coordination to mobilize additional technical assistance and funding for the wise use and conservation of wetlands.
Raise public awareness on wetland issues.
The Ramsar Secretariat congratulates BIOTICA Ecological Society and the Moldovan Ministry of the Environment for the development of this strategically important project. "We are looking forward to learn more about the future outcomes of the implementation of the National Wetland Policy in the Republic of Moldova", says Laura Máiz-Tomé, Ramsar Assistant Advisor for Europe.
For further information on the project please contact Ms Liliana Josan, BIOTICA Ecological Society at liliana.josan[at]gmail.com
Report by Laura Máiz-Tomé, Assistant Advisor for Europe