Socio-ecological Union
Projects and campaigns

$2000 For Danube Delta

In the end of February in Kiev (the capital of Ukraine) the meeting of defenders of known Danube Delta Biosphere reserve and the press conference of the participants of the campaign for its protection were held.

Already before the new 2003 year it became known that thanks to active protest of "green" movement the President of Ukraine has rejected the decree of building of navigation canal through the reserve, which is under aegis of UNESCO and one part of which is situated on the territory of Romania.

However the Ministry of Transport of Ukraine - the main lobbyist of the canal building - doesn't give up attempts to carry out the construction of the canal through the reserve. Now the project protested by the world community is submitted again for state environmental assessment together with ostensibly alternative project of the canal.

According to the legislation of Ukraine, having submitted the materials for environmental assessment the developers of the project must give also the information on possible alternative variant of construction. Earlier the authors of the project of canal destructive for the reserve tried to pass the assessment without an alternative variant. After mass protests they were compelled to act legally, but expectedly it was done only for show - as the alternative wittingly was submitted frankly unprofitable variant, instead of one developed by "Projectgydrostroy" and supported by environmentalists.

The creators of the project are ready to do anything, said on the press conference in Kiev Aleksander Voloshkevich, the head of the Danube reserve. In November 2002 the Transport Ministry of Ukraine pressed for the variant of canal with partial resettle in Vilkovo town (famous "Ukrainian Venice" where the office of the reserve is situated) and construction there large transfer point, including for transfer of chemicals.

To create "public" discontent with the Danube reserve and doubt of its necessity the supporters of the project of canal descend to bribery. For example they paid 10 thousands of grivna (about $2 thousands) to local school for support of their activity. "All these things take place in conditions of incredible secrecy. It is impossible even to receive the materials of environmental assessment, as the developers have referred that this information is in their ownership," - comment the participants of the campaign in protection of the reserve.

"It is obvious for a long time, however, that the secrecy always appears where the law is broken, it covers illegal acts of authority or business structures", said Olga Berlova, the participant of the press conference from Russia, the representative of the Center for co-ordination and information of International Socio-ecological Union (ISEU CCI).

The developer of the project - the commercial company Delta Lotsman - gone too far that it declares that it has developed the project of amendments to the Decree of the President of Ukraine "On creation of the Danube Biosphere reserve". In other words the company tries to point out to the Ukrainian Government, where the borders of the reserve, which have the highest international status, must lay.

Whatever reason give the project developers to achieve realization of the project of canal through the reserve that is profitable for themselves, not for nature of the state. One of the specialists engaged by them have stated that there is no unusual in building of navigation canal through the biosphere reserve, citing as an example "similar" territories in the deltas of Mississippi and Thames. It is known, however, that there are no biosphere reserve in the deltas of those two rivers, moreover it is non correct to compare them to the richest nature of the Danube delta.

The environmentalists will continue the confrontation, and they are sure that with support of the world community they will be able to protect "a piece of the lost world" - the delta of Danube called so by those who were lucky to visit it.

Back to "Save the Danube biosphere reserve!" page