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The PROACT Team supported by The Fat Birder
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SLOWAKEI in German
The Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic Mr. Mikuláš Dzurinda
Minister for the Environment Prof. Dr. László Miklos
Minister for Agriculture Mr. Koncos
State Secretary, Ministry of the Environment Ms. Zdenka Tóthová
Head of Chancellery, Ministry of the Environment Mr. Ján Bulla
Head of Fauna Dept., Ministry of the Environment Mr. Peter Straka
Head of Geology Dept., Ministry of the Environment Ms. Monika Lipovska
Head of Section, Environmental Protection, Ministry of the Environment Mr. Josef Klinda
Dear Prime Minister and Ministers, Dear Madam,
The information that 70% of the Velky Hrhov reed-beds, an important habitat for many protected species of flora and fauna, have been destroyed by the use of the non-selective herbicide ‘Roundup Biactive’ has caused deep concern among nature lovers and conservationists in many nations. Quite apart from the severe actual and potential losses to plant and animal life, it is inconceivable that commercial fish-farming interests will profit in the long term from such measures.
The opening up of the natural treasures of the Slovak Republic to visitors from all over the world, after decades of political isolation, has been long looked forward to by nature-lovers worldwide. That these, in some cases unique natural – and national - assets should be threatened with destruction, or at least long-lasting deterioration, is unimaginable. We are sure that the government and regional authorities are aware of their responsibilities in this field and will do their utmost to make good the damage caused and do all in their power to prevent a reoccurrence.
Further reports that commercial exploitation of the unique karst countryside is being contemplated for the extraction of limestone and raw material for cement are causing alarm bells to ring not only in Europe. The involvement of international investors or parent companies is particularly worrying because of their proved disregard for local or national interests. The Slovensky Karst attained the rank of a World Heritage Site only 3 years ago. It is unbelievable that the proposed ravishment of this region has been allowed to reach even the pre-planning stage. It is to be hoped that this, and all further attempts to irreparably spoil a region of world significance, will be quashed unequivocally at the outset.
As elsewhere, and not only in Eastern Europe, the main (financial) benefits will remain in the home countries and bank accounts of the companies involved; and the long term environmental damage will be left for the Slovak Republic to explain to their citizens and, if possible, to restore to its original natural state. We are sure that our appeal to place long-term conservation of your valuable natural assets before short-term and unsustainable commercial gain will be given the proper consideration. We and the generations to follow, in common with the residents of your small but beautiful country, want to appreciate the rich natural resources and unspoilt landscape, flora and fauna of your corner of Central Europe for decades if not centuries to come.
We urge you to use the influence of your Office to:
- designate the World Heritage Site ‘Slovenský Kras’ a National Park as soon as possible - give your backing to inclusion of the Hrhov fishponds in the protected (buffer) zone of the proposed cross-border National Park - take measures to put an end to the use of herbicides/pesticides in the Hrhov Fishponds and the Slovak Karst region and encourage better supervision of the fish-farms to ensure 'sustainable' management, and - support a ban on any new exploitation of natural resources in the Slovak Karst region and resist legislation to free mining and quarrying operations from environmental control.
Finally, we draw your attention to the fact that the Republic of Slovakia is legally bound by, or is signatory to, the following international treaties and conventions:
· Convention on Biological Diversity, (SR Signatory 1994) · Convention on the Protection of European Bats, (SR Signatory 1998) · Ramsar Convention (Convention on Wetlands), (CSFR Signatory 1990) · Bonn Convention 1992 (Convention on Migratory Species) · Bern Convention, 1994 (Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats) · World Heritage Convention, (CSFR Signatory 1991)
The habitat destruction in the Greater Hrhov Pond and the authorization for mining or quarrying in the Slovak Karst has, or will in future, be in clear breach of one or more of these conventions.
Please take this chance to steer your country towards sustainable and long-term environmental policies.
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