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On the establishment of an international reserve in Danube delta

Address by the First Regional Session of the Global Biodiversity Forum for Eastern Europe to the Ministers of Environment of Ukraine, Moldova and Romania

Noting particular significance of protected natural areas located in Danube river delta – bilateral reserve “Danube Delta” (consisting of Ukrainian Biosphere Reservation and Romanian Biosphere Reserve “Danube Delta”) and scientific reservation “Lower Prutt” (Moldova Republic) for unique biodiversity conservation for Europe,

The first regional session of the Global Biodiversity Forum for Eastern Europe, held in Kishinev, Republic of Moldova, April 23-25, 2003 attended by more than 100 representatives of public sector, non-governmental organizations, academic circles of Armenia, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Romania, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan as well as members of international organizations including IUCN, Ramsar Convention Bureau, UNEP, World Bank, Global Environmental Fund, European Center for Nature Conservation,

Draws attention of the Ministers of Environment to the following problems faced in the Ukrainian part of biosphere reserve “Danube Delta”:

1. Due to attempts made by the Ministry of Transport of Ukraine to implement a project of navigational channel construction through the protected nucleus of the Danube biosphere reserve there is a real threat of loss by this reserve of its common European environmental significance. Besides implementation of this project leads to violation of several Ukrainian laws, disregards the stand taken by the National Academy of Science of Ukraine and community in respect of this issue and contravenes international obligations taken by Ukraine.

2. Taking into account a particular significance of preserving the status of Danube biosphere reserve it is necessary to consider alternative options of laying the Seventh Trans-European Corridor in the zone of Danube biosphere reserve involving international experts and using the procedures of the Aarhus Convention.

3. To ensure sustainable development of the Ukrainian Danube region the Government of Ukraine and other parties concerned have to elaborate and implement a program of eco-tourism development in this region.

4. To maintain the protected status of the Ukrainian Danube region it is crucially important to implement national and transboundary projects on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of nature which should be particularly borne in mind by international environmental organizations and programs.

The Session also requests the Governments and environmental organizations of the three countries to speed up the approval by the Governments of Romania and Ukraine of a Tripartite Agreement on joint management of specially protected areas in the Lower Danube basin – Ukrainian Danube Biosphere Reserve, Romanian Biosphere Reserve “Danube Delta” and Moldavian Scientific Reserve “Lower Prutt”, signed by the ministers of environment protection of the three countries on June 5, 2000, in Bucharest (Romania) and to take efficient steps in order to confer the status of an international biosphere reserve to this region.

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