In keeping with the long term practice and actions taken all over the world, this year, as in the years before, the celebration of the World Wetlands Day in Serbia was held on February 2, the day when the "Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat", also known as the Ramsar Convention, was adopted in 1971. The World Wetlands Day was marked in a join action by the Ministry of Science and Environmental Protection, Directorate for Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia, and the Institute for Protection of Nature of Serbia, at the head office of the Institute in Belgrade, while the promotional conference was on this occasion organised by the Institute's unit in Novi Sad.
On occasion of the World Wetlands Day, the Ministry of Science and Environmental Protection, Directorate for Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia, and the Institute for Protection of Nature of Serbia presented two nature assets to the general public, as potential Ramsar sites in Serbia. Furthermore, the emphasis was put on the role and significance of protection of wetland areas.
The characteristics and nature values of the nature assets Labudovo okno and Peter Plateau, which satisfy the criteria for nomination and inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, and therefore could be nominated for new Ramsar sites in Serbia, were presented to expert audience, managers (stewards) of the protected assets, representatives of relevant institutions, media and other interested visitors.
"Labudovo okno", an area of the flood riverbanks of the Danube, along the southern margin of the Pannonian Plain in south-eastern Banat, encompasses one of the most particular and representative areas both at national and regional levels. This area is one of the last habitats of rare and threatened aquatic plant species, and the largest migratory station of waterbirds in Serbia as well as a nesting place of many rare and threatened bird species. Labudovo okno, with 50 recorded fish species, also represents an important site for the conservation of diversity of the fish fauna.
"Petersko polje" encompasses peatbogs of the Sjenica-Peter Plateau, which represent the most important preserved example of peatbogs in our country. This specific, today rare and endangered, wet peatbog habitat provides survival for important populations of plants and animals significant for the conservation of biodiversity, as well as for representatives of vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species and endangered ecosystems.
Labudovo okno and Petersko polje are internationally important areas for birds - IBA areas (Important Bird Areas).
In scope of the promotion of the World Wetlands Day, a project "Inventory of wetland and other aquatic habitats in the Republic of Serbia", financed by the Directorate for Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia, was also presented, as well as the review of Ramsar areas of Serbia prepared by the Institute for Protection of Nature of Serbia.
This scientific conference of promotional character, dedicated to the World Wetlands Day, was covered by a large number of media, and the significance and necessity for conservation of these areas were emphasized at the press conference. The Ramsar Day was also an opportunity to make statements for a number of Serbian media.
On occasion of this significant date, in organisation of the Institute's unit in Novi Sad and with the support of the Secretariat for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development of the AP Vojvodina, along with the presentation of the assets nominated for the Ramsar list, an exhibition of photographs "Pond and Marsh Areas in Vojvodina" of the renowned photographer Jaroslav Pap, was also opened, accompanied by a musical performance.
-- Reported by Jelena Ducic, Ministry of Science and Environmental Protection-Directorate for Environmental Protection, Omladinskih brigada 1, 11070 Belgrade, Serbia