MedWet present in the 2nd Meeting of the Management Body of the BlackSeaWet Initiative

The 2nd Meeting of the Management Body of BlackSeaWet took place in Tulcea, Romania from the 4th to 8th October 2010. The BlackSeaWet is a newly formed Ramsar Regional Initiative that is presently under the coordination of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority.

The idea behind this initiative was born in 2007 during the International Conference “Stopping the loss of Black Sea Coastal Wetlands: the establishment of a regional initiative”, held on 30-31st October 2007 in Odessa, Ukraine. Based on the Operational Guidelines for Regional Initiatives adopted with resolution X6 at the 10th Meeting of parties to the Convention on Wetlands, the Black Sea Coastal Wetlands Initiative was partially recognized as a Regional Initiative and was provisionally endorsed for one year.

The mission of BlackSeaWet is to stop and reverse the loss and degradation of Black and Azov Sea coastal wetlands and their biodiversity and to catalyze the wise use of wetlands through regional and international cooperation in the context of sustainable development. They aim to do this through setting strategic and operational targets mainly through reinforcing regional cooperation on a governmental, civil society and private sector level, harmonizing and strengthening region wide legislation, and reaching out to key sectors whose activities affect wetlands.

BlackSeaWet 2nd Management Body Meeting, Tulcea, Romania

The management body of the BlackSeaWet is one of its implementing bodies along with the Coordination Unit and the national Working Groups. It consists of two people from each member country one delegated by the Ministry of Environment and one from an important national NGO. Also,  a Ramsar Secretariat representative, a Black Sea Commission Secretariat and International Non Governmental Organizations active in the region like Wetlands international, BirdLife international, IUCN Danube Carpathians program and WWF. MedWet was invited as an observer due to its extensive experience in managing regional cooperation as a Ramsar regional initiative.

The 2nd Management Body meeting was made in order to discuss some practical issues of the initiative. It had the participation of the Ramsar Secretariat, represented by the Senior Advisor for Europe, Mr Tobias Salathe, Mr Bart Fokkens for Wetland International, Mr Nejib Benessaiah for MedWet and the presence of Ukraine, Georgia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Turkey and Romania.  In the future the participation of Russia is very desirable. The first day proposals were made on the reporting structure of the current status of wetlands, projects involving multiple Black Sea partners and a discussion on financing opportunities. Also the development of the initiative in terms of the National Working Groups and national involvement was discussed. The final session of that day saw three experience sharing presentations from the Black Sea Commission, from the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) and from MedWet.

BlackSeaWet 2nd Management Body meeting

The BlackSeaWet 2nd Management Body in the meeting room

Nejib Benessaiah, the MedWet Acting Coordinator, made a fifteen minute presentation on the history and structure of the MedWet Initiative and the lessons that can be passed on to this newly forming Initiative. He informed the meeting about the full support that MedWet will provide to this sister initiative as it is instructed by the MedWet long term Vision and Strategic Plan.

The second day of the meeting (6th October) was centred mainly on the CEPA work of the Initiative through a brainstorming session of CEPA activities, a presentation of the BlackSeaWet website, suggestions on the content, interface and logo. The conclusions of the meeting were centred on the future hosting country of the Coordination Unit, drafting the 2011 Workplan and deciding the venue and dates for the next management Body meeting.

The discussions that took place in the meeting were very fruitful as each country presented the work they have done, their action plan and their collective involvement in the BlackSeaWet Initiative. MedWet greatly endorses the creation of this Initiative and believes that it can play a pivotal role in the coordination of the conservation efforts and awareness raising of the Black and Azov Sea wetlands. At the end of the meeting it was proposed to MedWet to become the new member of the BlackSeaWet Initiative.