Successful Ramsar Advisory Mission to the Ebro Delta (Spain)
From 18 to 22 September, the Ramsar Bureau carried out an Advisory Mission to the Ebro Delta in Spain. Inés González (left), Director General for Nature Conservation in the Environment Ministry in Madrid, and Delmar Blasco, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention (center), with Pere Torres, Director General for Environmental Planning in the Environment Department of Catalunya ( right), opened the mission in the offices of the Environment Department in Barcelona. Then the participants traveled to the Ebro Delta where during the following two days they visited a number of localities with specific management problems. On the fourth day, the Ramsar Advisory Mission held talks with several stakeholders, including the mayor of Amposta, the presidents of the two irrigation cooperatives, the president of the rice growers association, and representatives of hunting societies and environmental NGOs, including SEO, the BirdLife partner in Spain. For the last day, the mission returned to Barcelona to prepare its detailed recommendations. The mission was ably prepared by Magdalena Bernúes and José Ramón Picatoste of the Environment Ministry in Madrid, in cooperation with Pere Llopart of the Environment Department of the Delegation of the Government of Catalonia in Tarragona and Rafael Balada, the Director of the Ebro Delta Natural Park, with the additional participation of further colleagues, including Jordi Romeva, Subdirector for Conservation in the Environment Department, who took particular care of the well being of the participants and the logistical aspects.
The delta covers an area of 33,000 hectares inhabited by 50,000 people, many of them rice growers. The Natural Park covers only 7,736 ha, which coincide with the extent of the Ramsar Site, including strict nature reserves, essentially along the coast, and on two large natural peninsulas.
The Ramsar Advisory Mission was led by Tobias Salathé, the Bureau's Regional Coordinator for Europe, with expert support on the Ramsar side by Patrick Dugan and María José Viñals (of the Ramsar MedWet Coordination Team). The detailed recommendations by the Ramsar Advisory Mission will be submitted to the Administrative Authority of the Convention in Spain. When that report has been formally accepted, it will be available on this Web site (by the end of November or so).