Europe and Central Asia

BirdLife Europe & Central Asia Press Release - 12 June 2018

Promises, promises... Yet another one broken by the Montenegrin government over Ulcinj Salina

Once again, high-ranking government representatives from Montenegro have broken their promises over the protection of the Ulcinj Salina, a habitat area for over 250 species of birds. The nature conservation organisations EuroNatur, BirdLife, CZIP and MSJA have increased their commitment to fight for the protection of this critical area by now launching a petition [1]. The organisations demand that the Prime Minister Duško Marković, and others, place the Salina under protection, restart salt production and and that the salt pans remain the property and heritage of the Montenegrin people.

The Ulcinj Salina is one of the most important wetlands on the Adriatic coast, and is a vital resting area for the survival of tens of thousands of migrating wading and water birds [2]. In April, the Montenegrin Minister for Sustainable Development and Tourism, Pavle Radulović, declared that the Montenegrin government had approved the recommendation to set up  a nature reserve over the whole area of the Salina, and had drawn up a clear road map for its implementation [3]. The first measures were to have immediately followed the conference, but since then nothing has happened.

Pressure comes also from the European Union. For the third time in a row, the Ulcinj issue has been flagged in the progress reports on Montenegro’s possible EU membership. The protection of the saltpans is a prerequisite for its path to EU membership.

Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe:
“It is a scandal that the saltpans at Ulcinj have no protected status of any kind. Time is running out for the government in Podgorica to finally implement the long-overdue measures that will save Salina, and incorporate the area into the Natura 2000 network of protected areas.”

The years of struggle over the wetland, created by human hand, had appeared to reach a positive outcome at the most recent Salina conference on 18th April 2018.

Gabriel Schwaderer, Director EuroNatur:
“Yet again a high-ranking government representative has not kept his word, and has added to the endless series of empty assurances and broken promises. With the international petition we intend to ramp up the pressure on the prime minister to finally implement his government’s promises.”

Jovana Janjušević, Project Coordinator, CZIP:
“The protection of the Salina and the resumption of salt production for the first time since 2014 would doubly benefit to the people of Montenegro. A barrier to Montenegro’s EU membership would be removed, and the saltpans would once again become an important employer for the people of Ulcinj.”

Now is the time to set up a nature reserve in the area and restore the salt-production facilities. Gudrun Steinacker, Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby Association (MSJA) und former german ambassador to Montenegro: „There will be nothing more to save in two or three years time. Everything will be destroyed.“

Because of the reduction in salinity, the area has already clearly lost its attractiveness to numerous wading birds which depend on brackish water. The sluices and dikes must be maintained again, and the water management guaranteed in order to retain the high ecological value of the Salina.

ENDS.

Background information:

[1] The Petition can be viewed and signed here: https://savesalina.net/

[2] The area of the Ulcinj Salina in Montenegro, which is part of the Bojana-Buna-Delta is, at 1500 hectares, one of the largest salinas in the Mediterranean basin, and one of the most important resting, breeding and overwintering areas for migrating birds along the eastern Adriatic coast.

[3] At the most recent Salina conference on 18th April 2018, Pavle Radulović Montenegrin Minister for Sustainable Development and Tourism, declared that the Montenegrin government had approved the recommendation for the setting up of a nature reserve over the whole area of the Salina, and had drawn up a clear route map for its implementation

For more information, please contact: 

Anja Arning, Public Relations, EuroNatur
anja.arning@euronatur.org
+49 7732 927213

Barbara Herrero, EU Nature Policy Officer, BirdLife Europe

barbara.Herrero@birdlife.org
+32 2541 0780

 

BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is a partnership of 48 national conservation organisations and a leader in bird conservation. Our unique local to global approach enables us to deliver high impact and long term conservation for the benefit of nature and people. BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is one of the six regional secretariats that compose BirdLife International. Based in Brussels, it supports the European and Central Asian Partnership and is present in 47 countries including all EU Member States. With more than 4100 staff in Europe, two million members and tens of thousands of skilled volunteers, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, together with its national partners, owns or manages more than 6000 nature sites totalling 320,000 hectares.