Dodds and Reintke: We are concerned over the privatisation of Solana

#MiloĐukanović #SaltPans #TerryReintke #AnnelieseDodds #BranimirGvozdenović #MinistryOfSustainableDevelopmentAndTourism

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Co-chair of the Delegation to the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee (PCSA) Anneliese Dodds and the committee member Terry Reintke are concerned over possible privatisation of the area of Ulcinj-base salts pans Solana. As they stated in a letter to Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism Branimir Gvozdenovic, the privatisation may have a negative impact on the protection of Solana as a “natural monument”.

As stated in the letter, Dodds and Reintke addressed to the government on the eve of the second Conference on Ulcinj Solana Protection which will be held from 7 to 8 April.

“The European Parliament has pointed out the importance of Ulcinj Solana as the most important site in the eastern part of the Adriatic coast for breeding and stay of birds during the winter, and called for investing further efforts in preserving biodiversity at Ulcinj-based salt pans in its recently adopted resolution on the 2015 report on Montenegro. In the PCSA’s recommendations, the committee has also called for the protection of Ulcinj Solana. The conclusions of the first International Conference on Ulcinj Solana Protection, which were adopted a year ago with the support of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, created the framework for ensuring the protection”, the letter says.

Dodds and Reintke welcome the fact that the government has taken the first steps to protect the salt pans, such as repairing water pumps and establishing of an interim administration in Solana, but they also note a significant delay in the implementation of several conclusions adopted at the conference.

They particularly emphasise the following conclusions of the first International Conference on Ulcinj Solana Protection.

“National protection of Ulcinj-based salt pans shall be established no later than October 2015. Although the first steps in terms of this measure have been implemented, the process of national protection has not been completed yet. Therefore, we urge the government to complete the process as soon as possible. We are concerned over the environmental NGO’s reports, which claim that the current spatial plan for the coastal area of ​​Montenegro stipulates construction of hotels at ​​70 hectares within Solana area. According to the NGOs, those 70 hectares represents an area where birds stay and nest. We hope the spatial plan will provide natural protection of Solana and that it will be adopted through a democratic and inclusive process”, reads the letter.

They added that the salt pans should be declared as Emerald habitat no later than June 2015.

“Ulcinj Solana has not been declared Emerald habitat yet and therefore we call on the government to urgently apply for the Emerald status. The government of Montenegro shall nominate Ulcinj-based salt pans for a Ramsar site no later than June 2015”, the letter says.

In fact, Dodds and Reintke have noted that the Ramsar candidacy was not discussed only at the conference, but also during their bilateral meeting with Gvozdenovic in November 2015.

“Moreover, the deadline for applying specified by the minister himself, ie the beginning of 2016, has already passed. As the applying process for the Ramsar list has not begun yet, we call on the government to immediately nominate Solana for the Ramsar Protection. In addition, we are concerned over the possible privatisation of the Solana’s area, which may have a negative impact on the protection of the slat pans as a ‘natural monument’. Legal protection and efficient management in accordance with the requirements for the preservation of Solana’s natural environment, the potential site of Natura 2000 network, are crucial bearing in mind the importance of this habitat. The European Parliament will continue to closely monitor the developments in this area”, they concluded in the letter sent to the PM and the minister.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro