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By Thymio Papayannis, Dave Pritchard

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Sajmir Beqiraj (a professor at the University of Tirana), analyses how the new ten-year management plan and the designation of part of the ancient city of Lezha as an Archaeological Park can contribute towards the more sustainable development of the area. In Turkey, wetland expert Selim Erdoğan describes how all the country’s ancient settlements follow its hydrographic map and establishes the vital role of wetlands as sources of life and civilisation. The Dascylium and Obruk caravanserai are two of the many examples in this vast territory which, apart from being home to a significant number of ancient civilisations, also features a broad mix of the types of wetland defined by Ramsar.

This is a particularly delicate issue: if measures are applied in an unduly strict way without prior consultation, it can provoke local confrontations, while if they are applied too flexibly, the whole management plan may unravel with dire repercussions for wetland conservation. In many countries, archaeological and forestry services have managed to gain the requisite authority and public respect: there are lessons to be learned from their experiences. The academic and NGO sectors There is a distinct and important role for the academic and non-governmental (NGO) communities in such an integrated management process, as they can provide an independent analysis of issues.

The continued accumulation of new ideas, experiences and insights is likely to lead to the further development and refinement of guidance in the future, and the existing document will evolve organically as necessary. This, however, is only one mechanism for providing central assistance; improved dissemination, networking, troubleshooting, the harmonisation of concepts and terms and the promotion of success stories will also play their part. One area of action will lie with the Ramsar Culture Working Group, and the opportunity is taken here to make a brief reference to the Group’s planned activities between late 2009 and 2012, which feature seven distinct proposed work streams.

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