EuroNatur Award 2017 assigned

For the Preservation of the Salina Ulcinj: Gudrun Steinacker is winner of the EuroNatur Award 2017

Gudrun Steinacker, EuroNatur award winner 2017, at her emotionally speech. © Gerald Jarausch
EuroNatur President Christel Schroeder (left) hands over the EuroNatur Prize 2017 to Gudrun Steinacker. © Gerald Jarausch

Radolfzell, Insel Mainau. Today Gudrun Steinacker, who was ambassador to Montenegro from 2014 to 2016, received the 2017 EuroNatur Award on island of Mainau on Lake Constance. This was an award in recognition of her exceptional personal commitment in supporting the preservation of the Salina Ulcinj. EuroNatur president Christel Schroeder justified the choice of this year's award winner by saying: "Gudrun Steinacker has shown that the diplomatic service can and must set aside its neutrality, when round about us a serious wrong is being committed".

The Salina Ulcinj in southern Montenegro has of vital importance for waders and water birds during their long migration journey. However, this paradise for birds on the Adriatic is threatened by destruction. It looks as though the current operators are deliberately running down their operations at the Salina Ulcinj in order to develop the site for tourism in the future. This is happening with the tacit support of the government of the government in Podgorica, which has so far not taken any effective measures for the protection of the salt flats. "It was with dismay that I observed after the end of Communism, which was often destructive of the environment, that the new elites were exploiting nature in the same way, mostly for the sake of short-term profit", said Gudrun Steinacker. "Never has nature, the most important resource of this small country, been so much under threat as today" added the former ambassador to Montenegro.

The controversy surrounding the Salina Ulcinj has been causing concern for years to the EuroNatur foundation and its partners in the Adriatic state. "The support and the encouragement from broad sections of the public, including some high-ranking officials, show just how important the fight to save the salt flats is", says Gudrun Steinacker. "The Salina Ulcinj should in a very particular way serve as an example of how economic activity and nature conservation are linked together", stated this year's winner of the EuroNatur award.

 

Background Information:

EuroNatur Award: Laureates of previous years include Jonathan Franzen, Dr. Luc Hoffmann, Prince Charles, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Mario F. Broggi, Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, and Dr. Hans Bibelriether. The EuroNatur Award is non-monetary. It honours an outstanding commitment in the field of nature conservation. The EuroNatur Award 2017 will be given today on 11 October 2017 at 5 p.m. to Gudrun Steinacker on Mainau Island (Lake Constance).

Gudrun Steinacker got around a lot during her career as a diplomat. After joining the German Foreign Service in 1978, her workplaces included the United Nations in New York, Zagreb, Moscow, and Sofia. The Slavicist was consul general in Novosibirsk and from 2014 to 2016 ambassador in Skopje, Montenegro. There she was very active for nature conservation, particularly for the protection of Ulcinj Salina. In the meantime, Gudrun Steinacker retired, but she keeps working for nature conservation in Montenegro and the whole Balkan region as an honorary vice president of the Southeast Europe Association und member of the Association Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby.

Further information and picture materials can be found in the download area at:

https://www.euronatur.org/en/about-euronatur/press-room/euronatur-award-2017/

From about 8pm onwards on Wednesday, 11th October photos of the prize award ceremony will also be available on this site.


Further enquiries:
Anja Arning, E-Mail: anja.arning(at)euronatur.org, Tel.: +49 (0)7732 - 92 72 13
Gabriel Schwaderer, E-Mail: gabriel.schwaderer(at)euronatur.org, Tel.: + 49 (0)171 - 93 66 69 8

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