General Assembly 2002
Report of Activities 2001 and 2002
Welcome to our 11th ordinary general meeting. Originally our activity
report should have begun like this:
"At the end of two years and a very intensive period of work I can announce only
a summary of our work to you. Please learn the remaining information from our
project brochures, or from our newsboard"
However, due to the fire in our office in Akyaka, Nail Cakirhan Sokak No: 9 on
Tuesday, September 3rd, we are not able to distribute our brochures, because
almost all our print material and other documents are destroyed or became
useless through fire distinguishing . This loss is very painful for us. Apart
from the damage done to the building, our complete electric and electronic
devices have burned or became unusable. Almost the total interior turned to
ashes, press documents, books, working materials, hand-written notes and much
more were destroyed. Contrary to widespread rumours, no legal files have been
destroyed because as always, we had put all our important documents, bills etc.
in the safe for safe keeping. Nothing burned and in spite of the wetness all
papers are quite read- and useable. The Gendarmes and the Security Police have
been informed about this and the facts have been noted in the police-report
corresponding to the fire.
Our society has been controlled as usual in June by our internal control organ.
One could say that we were reviewed this year anyway more than sufficiently.
Normally there is a chronological sequence in our activity report, but because
we would like to show our activities in a flow, we thought it better this time
to arrange the subjects differently.
I would like to begin with the member's situation: in the last year, we lost 75
members for different reasons; mostly because they did not pay their yearly fees
for more than two years. For this reason the membership ends legally. Since we
gained 26 new members, we actually lost only 49 in numbers.
What we had
planned for this year and could only partly succeed in:
We had prepared all materials to
give environmental lessons at the Güneyman elementary school in December 2000.
The official documents had been sent for permission to the authorities.
Although permission had been given verbally, in the end we were not allowed to
proceed for unknown reasons. We have been very unhappy about that and for the
local school kids it was disappointing, too.
We wanted to print new brochures,
but then we decided to shift the preparations to the future.
The Animal Aid South/Germany,
a German animal protection society which works in the Mediterranean region,
contacted us about supervising the animal resort in Mugla. A future animal
resort in Akyaka had been mentioned as well. Unfortunately, after we started
negotiations with the Municipality of Mugla, the society did not stick to its
word, so that we had to cancel the project. Afterwards we learned that the
Fethiye Animal Protection Society had similar problems with this German
society, as a result we stopped further contacts with Animal Aid
We undertook the first steps regarding an own society coffee shop. But due to a
lack of essential funding our plans could not be realised.
In March 2001 we began with the
preparations for our association's 10th-Year-Anniversary. We wanted to celebrate
with a festival. Unfortunately we had to face many organisational problems so
that neither a celebration nor a festival took place. Due to these problems
Serdar Denktas resigned from his board membership and Ahmet Menekse took his
In addition to our usual internal
organisation tasks, we started monitoring the wetlands of the province and have
been very busy with our new birding group. Plans to sell our river water to
Bodrum kept us busy far into the summer 2001. We formally requested expertises
about the effect a lower water level could have on our wetland. Our further
actions will be determined by the results of the expertise.
In the summers 2001 and 2002 we have been active cleaning the "long beach". From
May until September the garbage there has been weekly collected by a worker paid
by us. We were able to cover the costs completely with donations collected for
this purpose. Herewith I would like to thank all our donors.
We organised the exhibitions in the Nail Cakirhan - Halet Cambel Culture and Art
House from May to October during the last two summers. They brought a lot
of publicity for the society and already became a cultural tradition. Some of
the openings ended in streets parties and we had lots of fun.
We contributed 50 sacks of cement towards the construction of the new basketball
field of the Güneyman elementary school in Akyaka. We also donated stationary
material to the Gendarme's office in Akyaka.
In January, an education seminar about "Development of Environmental Projects"
has been organised by the FETAV Environmental Foundation. Our chairperson
participated as educator with a presentation together with representatives of
the DHKD and UNDP.
The environmental group of the Yunus Emre secondary school approached us in
April to hold a conference about environmental education. Our chairperson has
been happy to do this.
We now want to introduce our new birding and wetland monitoring group
During the "White-headed Duck
Festival" October 2000 in Burdur we had first contacts with other organised
birding groups and renewed our acquaintance with the DHKD. From this moment on
our newly established group developed into a very successful working team.
The DHKD sent us in the winter a contact list of persons living in the province
of Mugla who are interested in bird observation. We met the first time on 3rd
March 2001 in Akyaka to define our aims, solve logistical problems etc. and
establish contact to other bird groups. The name Gök-Kus-Agi was agreed upon (in
Turkish an abbreviation for Gökova-Bird-Network, Gökkusagi means also
Rainbow). From this moment on monthly birding tours started monitoring the
wetlands in the province of Mugla; bird censuses were done; we gained new
members, trained them and on each tour we invited the regional press, so the
correspondents were able to report about the problems in the wetlands. These
tours were personally financed by the participants. Our
name became known very quickly, by now birders in the whole of
Turkey know who "Rainbow"(Gök-Kus-Agi) is. Due to our good work, the DHKD asked
us to participate in the "International Balkan Wetland Monitoring and Bird
Protection Project". We worked from September 2001 to May 2002 as a group every
2nd week in the Güllük Delta and on Lake Tuzla in Bodrum/Milas. Conversations
with local people and the Gendarme prevented poaching to a degree. Concerning
birds and nature we work closely together with the Directorate for Hunting,
Forestry and National Parks" of the province of Mugla. Participation in another
project of the DHKD/WWF is discussed for the coming winter. This would be a big
challenge and success for our pretty young group. For the necessary expensive
equipment (binoculars, telescope etc.) we presented a project to the DHKD/WWF.
The project has been accepted and we could spend 5.5 billions of TL.(3000 ) for
To talk about our UNDP Project: We began in March - May 2002 with some bigger
work. We participated on a 5 day seminar in Izmir organised by UNDP GEF/SGP in
order to obtain better knowledge about project development. We made first
contacts with the representatives of the German Company for Technical
Collaboration (GTZ) in Mugla to develop a project concerning recycling local
After our project had been proposed in May 2001 and approved, we launched the
"Biyo - Gökova" UNDP GEF/SGP project in summer. Developing the project kept us
so busy, that it looked to the village like we no longer worked in Akyaka.
In August we held a big conference in the Yücelen Hotel with all project
stakeholders and other interested local people. Project participation and
eventual costs as well as the project frame were discussed at a round table.
With the representatives of the municipalities of Akyaka and Gökova, the local
administrations of Akçapinar and Gökçe and the chairperson of the society, a
Local Work Group was established meeting monthly. At these meetings, questions
and problems in the Gökova basin and their solutions are discussed openly.
From then on we communicated
really well together.
In October the UNDPs National Committee agreed on "Biyo-Gökova". Groups were
established; we developed PR material and bought equipment - the entire work
based on the decisions of the Local Work Group.
In March the Project Research Group held a four-day workshop to develop the
basic research objectives of the project and to plan further action.
We also engaged a project assistant paid by the project, Mustafa Ates. This
eases our work load and he is a great help presenting the project to the
Beginning of June, when our project finally came into a presentable condition,
we held a press conference together with the Governor of Mugla, our project
partner for everyone actively supporting us. Representatives of state
institutions, regional and national press were invited.
Ten days later we began in Akyaka with the first of four one-day village
meetings in the involved municipalities and villages to introduce the project
and its objectives to the local community. Another aim of these meetings was to
learn directly about the problems of the farmers working in the plain.
By request of the local
population we brought together representatives of the government, the
environmental authorities and the Çirali
Ulupinar Ecological Agriculture Co-operative. This was an important and
I would like to give some examples of the collaboration that emerged on these
The offer for collaboration from the local health authorities concerning the
mosquito problem has been accepted gladly, and for working on this subject we
formed a team. During the village meetings we introduced ouralternative to the
problem: Not an entirely severe measure though - fly swats were distributed as a
symbol for initiative and a call for self responsibility in the mosquito fight.
In order to extend a hunting permission or to reapply for it, it is now
necessary to stand a serious hunting exam. Currently courses are offered only in
Mugla. To make participation easier for the hunters in Gökova, signatures were
gathered during the sessions so that the courses could take place in Gökova in
the future. A proposition, supported through the society, was sent to the forest
direction. Later an initiative to build a skeet-shooting area has been
discussed. We think that we can protect biological diversity better, if hunters
have an alternative choice for their sport.
Here, I would like to say a couple of words about the changed working
principles. The project and the increasing tasks naturally are connected with
more work. This can be carried only by division of responsibility. On this
occasion I sincerely like to thank the volunteer groups and committees that work
Also we need new helpers for our work and I hope for further support in the
coming year. As an example: if we had more volunteers, we would have been able
to begin with the mosquito committee work. But because we have not enough
capacity, we could not start yet.
For better presentation and more communication, a project centre is required.
Actually we wanted to start already this summer but had to shift the start to
autumn. Seminars, conferences will take place in this centre, meetings will be
held and we would like to open a cafeteria as well. We hope to be able to invite
you soon to our new centre.
The "Biyo-Gökova" project was interrupted for two months due to the office fire.
For example the question how to replace the destroyed equipment that had been
bought with project funds is still open. Also the already printed materials for
the project must be reprinted etc.
Another important objective of our society has been to participate in various
meetings, seminars etc. for capacity building: in November we went to Antalya/Çirali
where a GEF/SGP project dealing with ecological agriculture is successfully
managed by the Ulupinar Cooperative and we exchanged experience on many
subjects. We participated in some meetings about wetlands and Important Bird
Areas. Further we took part in the yearly conference of GEF project coordinators
in Ankara. We sent our representatives to the meetings of the Mediterranean
Environmental Network (BAÇEP/AKÇEP).
In order to acquire the permission for our waste recycling project with the GTZ,
we applied to the Ministry of the Interior in October 2001; unfortunately we
still wait for an answer. We already work almost a year on this subject and
participated on some stakeholder meetings on invitation of the Governor of
Besides that we began to sort out the collected data about our local fish otter.
The National Fish Otter Data Bank Project has been started by our experts. A
teamwork proposal has been sent to the Ministry for Forest to increase the input
for the database.
We hope you have been content with our activities in the last period and remain
wishing for your further support in future.
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