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“For People and the Nature” is the Motto of World Wetlands Day

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19.01.2022
“For People and the Nature” is the motto of World Wetlands Day. The forthcoming 2nd of February reminds us and calls for action concerning balance and harmony with the environment – the biggest task and challenge for humankind. Recently 172 countries worldwide have ratified the Ramsar Convention (Convention for the Protection of Wetlands).
Bulgaria is among the first countries that ratified the Convention – the global agreement that focuses on a specific ecosystem of wetlands.

Wetlands are areas that are an essential part of the water cycle and have a unique mix of environmental conditions, flora, and fauna. They have been providing vital services to humankind for thousands of years and include a variety of ecosystems such as rivers and their deltas, lakes, swamps, lagoons, floodplains, wet meadows, peatlands, artificial reservoirs, incl. rice fields, fishponds, salt pans, as well as sea and ocean coastal waters up to 6 m deep at low tide.

Bulgaria is represented by 11 Ramsar Sites: Lake Atanasovsko, Durankulak Lake, Belene Islands Complex, Ibisha Island, Site Poda, Pomorie Lake, Ropotamo Complex, Lake Shabla, Srebarna, Vaya Lake, Dragoman Marsh Karst Complex.

Assessing the value of these areas with their rich biodiversity, Green Balkans once again informs you about their importance and how important it is to take action for their effective conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of their resources. The frequency of disasters in the world has doubled in just about four decades, and 90% of these disasters are related to water, which is the basis for wetlands. Unfortunately, even more, extreme weather is foreseen in the future. Wetlands play a significant role in stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change. Wetlands are one key to tackling negative climate change, and therefore strategies to tackle climate change should include actions to conserve and use them wisely.

This year, led not only by the motto "For People and Nature" of the campaign and the call for adequate action, the team and volunteers of "Green Balkans", together with the Regional Inspectorate for Environment and Water – Plovdiv, will visit the overnight stay of the protected Pigmy cormorant (Microcarbo pygmaeus) in Plovdiv. The species that choose to winter in non-freezing waters forms „overnight staying" in which the number of individuals can reach several thousand, and along the Maritsa River is the largest winter gathering of the species in Bulgaria. Pigmy cormorant is one of the three species of cormorants found in the country and is listed as an endangered species in the Red Book of the Republic of Bulgaria, is protected throughout the country under Biological Diversity Act, and is protected by NATURA 2000 network.
More about Pigmy cormorant HERE

In 2021, with the support of the French Agency for Biodiversity (OFB), MedWet Initiative, and World Wetlands Day (WWD), we wrote and presented a leaflet containing information about Ramsar Sites in Bulgaria and the Maritsa River. The leaflet is provided for distribution to state and educational institutions, as well as on the website of the project "NATURA 2000 in Bulgaria - New Horizons" HERE online for the general public.

Contacts:
Miroslava Mihaylova – PR Regional Inspectorate for Environment and Water – Plovdiv – mob. 088 23 88 720; е-mail: riosv_pd_pr@abv.bg
Polina Hristova – Green Balkans, Mob.: +359 882508721, e-mail: phristova@greenbalkans.org

Natura 2000
Natura 2000 is the largest coordinated network for nature conservation. More than 30% of the territory of Bulgaria falls within the scope of the network - 120 areas for the protection of wild birds and 234 areas for the protection of natural habitats.

Pigmy Cormorant
With only a few nesting sites in the country, the Pigmy Cormorant is one of the three species of cormorants found in Bulgaria. The species is closely associated with ponds and nests in colonies, making it vulnerable to disturbance. One of the most endangered species, which is why it is strictly protected by the Natura 2000 ecological network.