Grassroots campaign saves major wetland in Montenegro

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Campaigners have saved the Ulcinj Salina in Montenegro from development after an 18-year campaign. They lobbied European Union ministers, mindful of fact that Montenegro’s leadership was looking to join the EU, but its poor environmental record was holding it back. They also used the influence of European diplomats to augment pressure on local officials and of the internet to broadcast their cause worldwide. They won local support with their plans for sustainable tourism. MONTENEGRO — “You see, they are coming, the visitors are coming,” says Jovana Janjušević as we walk along one of the trails that zig-zag across Ulcinj Salina, a diverse saltwater wetland in southern Montenegro. “Now when we see people walking around, it is amazing… we fought for almost 18 years.” Covering 15 square kilometers (6 square miles), the salina is part of the Bojana-Buna estuary and one of the most important wetland areas in the Balkans. Thousands of birds rest here each year in the spring and autumn. Its significance to migratory birds is often compared to that of Heathrow Airport for humans, with nine times more birds passing through the salina than passengers through one of the world’s busiest airports. The Ulcinj Salina showing remnants […]

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