Republic of Moldova becomes Ramsar's 122nd Contracting Party
The Ramsar Bureau is delighted to announce that the Republic of Moldova deposited its instrument of accession with the Director General of UNESCO on 20 June 2000, and the Convention, as amended by the Protocol of 1982, will enter into force for Moldova on 20 October 2000. The 122nd Contracting Party has designated "Lower Prut Lakes" (19,152 hectares) [map left], in the southwestern part of the country, as its first Ramsar site. The River Prut forms the western border of the site as well as the state border with Romania, and the site extends to the river’s confluence with the Danube. Consisting of Ramsar Wetland Types O (permanent freshwater lakes), M (permanent river), and 1 (fish ponds), the site is considered to fulfil Criteria 2 on vulnerable species and especially 3 on biodiversity. Lakes Beleu and Manta are unique ecosystems, described as the last natural floodplains in the lower Danube region. The system is important for groundwater recharge, flood control, and sediment trapping, and it supports an imposing list of rare and threatened species of flora and fauna. A number of heritage sites can be seen in the area, including some of Roman Emperor Trajan’s wall (ca.100 A.D.). Fish harvests have been decreasing markedly in recent years, forests are generally seen to be deteriorating, and quite a few adverse conservation factors have been listed as requiring attention. A management plan is in preparation, particularly in hopes of creating a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve over more or less the same site.