European natural treasure still threatened in Montenegro – is protecting the Salina Ulcinj beyond the power of the Montenegrin government? +++ Nature conservation foundation EuroNatur urges Montenegro’s Prime Minister Duško Marković to put the protection of the Salina Ulcinj at the top of his agenda
Radolfzell/Podgorica. EuroNatur, BirdLife and CZIP from Montenegro yesterday hosted the 3rd International Conference on the Protection of the Salina Ulcinj in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica. The Salina Ulcinj is one of the most important resting, breeding and hibernation areas for migratory birds on the eastern Adriatic coast. The about 80 participants included the ambassadors of Germany, Greece, Poland and the EU to Montenegro, the mayor of Ulcinj, representatives of the competent Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism as well as a range of national and international experts. Already during the 1st International Conference on the Protection of the Salina Ulcinj in April 2015, those responsible in Montenegro promised that the saline would soon be declared a protected area. However, there has been no progress whatsoever since then. On the contrary, the Salina Ulcinj has experienced severe deterioration over the past two years.
While the European Commission and the European Parliament keep emphasizing for years that they expect the Montenegrin government to get active and protect the Salina Ulcinj, the international nature conservation foundation EuroNatur cannot spot any progress. “The process of declaring the Salina Ulcinj a nature reserve is a never-ending story of announcements and unrealized promises,” criticizes EuroNatur CEO Gabriel Schwaderer at the 3rd International Conference on the Protection of the Salina Ulcinj. “The statements by the representatives of the competent Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism have been very disappointing. They made clear that an international conservation status based on the Ramsar Convention is not an option for them. At the same time they did not give any timeline for declaring the site a protected area according to national law.”
To EuroNatur it looks like the competent ministry continues to play for time. It became obvious during the conference that we cannot expect the site to receive protection in autumn 2017, when an EU-financed study on the conservation of the Salina Ulcinj will be published. The ministry stated yesterday that it would then commission further studies, particularly on water management. However, they refused to give a timeline even on enquiry. On the same day, during official meetings with EU Commissioner Vella and the European Parliament’s committee dealing with the relations to Montenegro, the competent minister Pavle Radulović again announced that the Salina Ulcinj would soon be declared a protected area.
In his welcome note to the conference in Podgorica, EuroNatur CEO Gabriel Schwaderer raised the question, if the Montenegrin government lacks the political will or even lacks the power to declare the Salina Ulcinj a protected area. EuroNatur therefore urges Montenegro’s Prime Minister Duško Marković to finally put the protection of the Salina Ulcinj at the top of his own agenda.
EuroNatur is a charitable foundation and has been active for the protection of the Salina Ulcinj for almost 20 years. The Salina Ulcinj is one of the most important resting, breeding and hibernation areas for migratory birds on the eastern Adriatic coast. Further information: https://www.euronatur.org/en/what-we-do/project-areas/project-areas-a-z/bojana-buna-delta-and-lake-skadar/projects/saline-ulcinj/