Socio-ecological Union

The Newsletter of
the Socio-Ecological Union
A Center for Coordination
and Information

Moscow, Russia -- Issue N 10 (44), Special, April 8, 2003

SEU Times is a newsletter devoted to environmental news, events, NGO work within former Soviet Union territory. Currently it is mailed out on special occasions.

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  Dear friends!
  The developments around Danube Biosphere nature reserve get more and more alarming. It's fate is to be decided soon - in 2 or 3 days at National Safety Council of Ukraine meeting. We have a leak that Minsitry of transportation have lobbied the project of Council's decision to change the borders of the Reserve and to withdraw Bystroe Estuary from the protected territory for the deep water canal construcion. The canal will cut in halves the world value nature territory and will destroy the habitat of many rare species. You can find more info in the letter below or at
  In December the mass fax attack (300 letters from 64 countries) and pickets held in Kiev in front of Ministry of Transport and in Moscow in front of Ukrainian Embassy stopped President of Ukrain Leonid Kuchma from signing the decree.
  Today only your action may help to save this wildlife habitat. Besides faxes and letters, we need you action.
  It is very important to bring hardcopies of your letters to Ukrainian Embassy in your country. Ukrainian officials are VERY SENSITIVE to that. So please, find time to do few steps to save this unique wildlife territory - habitat of pelicans, swans, wild geese, herons, ospreys and multiple other species - bring hardcopies of your letters to Ukrainian Embassy in your country.
  If you could do even a small picket with some posters - that may be crucial thing that will save the reserve!
  Please stress the fact that the host of European Ecoforum (Kiev - 2003) should behave decently towards nature of its own country.
  Please, act today, or in few months the wildlife site will be turned into industrial site.

  Yours Sincerely
  Olga Berlova

  This is the letter we ask to sign and send:
  -postoffices please pass print or mail texts to:
  President of Ukraine L. Kuchma
  Prime Minister of Ukraine V. Yanukovich
  Chairman Of the Verkhovnaya Rada Committee of Ukraine on National Safety and Defense G.Kryuchkov
  Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine A. Zlenko
  Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources V. Shevchuk
  Minister of Economy and European Integration of Ukraine V.Khoroshkovsky
  per e-mail

  Dear President,
  Dear Ministers,
  Dear Committee Chairman,

  We are aware that, for a year and a half, the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences together with environmental NGOs have put up resistance to the attempts by the Ukrainian Ministry of Transport to construct a deep-water ship canal through the Bystroe Estuary within the strictly protected zone of the Danube Biosphere transnational reserve.
  Last December 2002 more than 300 organizations in 64 countries protested to the President of Ukraine against this critical threat to the reserve. We are now appalled to hear that Minister Georgy Kirpa is planning to withdraw the estuaries from the protected area and that the proposal will be considered on 10 April 2003 by the Ukrainian Parliament Committee on National Safety. We do not understand why the alternative canal variant, which would bypass the sensitive areas of the reserve, is not on their agenda.
  The facts are that the canal construction will irreversibly change the hydrological regime of the delta, disturb natural processes of delta formation, inescapable pollution of the ecosystem by oil products, change the habitat for most of the species, decrease of the trade fishery amount, will threaten endangered species inhabiting the area. In particular the nesting of tens of thousand birds will be threatened. The reserve will lose almost all staging areas for migrating waterfowl and waders. Altogether 223 species of birds, including 5 on the European Red List and 31 in the Ukraine Red Book will be affected as well as many rare and disappearing species of mammals and insects.
  The outcome would be that the Danube Biosphere Reserve will lose its importance on an international and national level. Furthermore the proposed construction project violates both national legislation and international obligations of Ukraine.
  We do not implacably and thoughtlessly oppose ship transit through the Ukrainian part of the Danube delta. We do however feel that you should positively consider other alternative canal variants; which also have a chance of attracting investment and sparing the taxpayer and the environment.
  We note especially that the Ukraine is hosting the European Ecoforum in May 2003. We will write as necessary to all European states to bring this matter to their attention.
  In the hope that the Ukrainian authorities will take all necessary measures for conservation and not degradation - of the Danube Delta reserve we remain,

  Yours sincerely,
  [Name and Address]

  President Leonid Danilovich Kuchma
  Vul. Bankova, 11
  252220 Kiev
  Fax: +380-44-293-1001

  Prime Minister
  Mr Viktor Yanukovich
  str. Grushgevkogo 12
  01019 Kiev Ukraine
  Fax: +380 44 2930535

  Minister for Foreign Affairs
  Mr. Anatoliy Zlenko
  Mykhaylivska pl. 1
  252018 Kiev Ukraine
  Fax: 380-44-293-6950

  Minister of Transport
  Mr G KirpaMinistry of Transport
  Peremohy pr 57
  252113 Kiev Ukraine

  Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources
  Mr V. Shevchuk
  fax: +380 44 229-83-83,

  Chairman Of the Verkhovnaya Rada Committee of Ukraine on National Safety and Defence
  Mr G.Kryuchkov
  fax: +380 44 255-49-28.

  Minister of Economy and European Integration of Ukraine
  Mr V. Khoroshkovsky
  fax: +380 44 253-06-83.

  We ask to send copies of your letters to Pechenegi group at

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  This issue was written and complied by
  Sviatoslav Zabelin - the SEU Council Co-Chair,
  Olga Berlova, Victoria Kolesnikova, translated by Alla Kapoustina
  Previous Issues of The SEU Times may be found at
  "The Online Gadfly" at