European food and retail industry support WWF’s campaign to protect Doñana National Park | WWF
European food and retail industry support WWF’s campaign to protect Doñana National Park

Posted on 21 September 2016

Leading retailers support WWF's campaign to protect Doñana World Heritage Site in Spain.
A consortium of leading European retailers, food companies and processing companies who buy over 20 per cent of strawberries and other berries produced in Doñana have endorsed WWF’s global campaign to protect this Spanish World Heritage Site.

In a statement, the Doñana Group from the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform has asked for urgent implementation of water and environmental governance in the area, to ensure the sustainability of the products they source from Doñana.

For the last two years, WWF has been working with the Doñana Berries and Sustainable Water Management Group - coordinated by the SAI Platform - to speed up sustainable agriculture solutions in the Doñana area, to safeguard the future of nature and of the sector itself.

In a statement, the Group said that “there are several areas of concern regarding water management and nature preservation in the Doñana region”, and declared that “without addressing the situation now, continued pressure might ultimately lead to severe environmental degradation of the ecosystem, particularly within Doñana National Park.”

“Urgent work is needed to improve and implement water and environmental governance - including the Land Use Plan (Plan de Ordenación de la Corona Forestal Doñana) issued by the Government of Andalucía - and to adopt sustainable and efficient water management practices”, the Group said.

WWF-Spain’s CEO, Juan Carlos del Olmo, commented: “The companies that buy more than 20 per cent of the berries produced in Doñana have made it clear that illegal use and lack of control of water usage must come to an end, both for the future of this World Heritage Site and agriculture in the region”.

The Doñana area produces 70 per cent of all strawberries grown in Spain, most of which are exported to other European countries. The industry generates €400 million in export revenue each year. However, illegal agriculture is depleting the region’s water resources and is also unfair on licensed farms.

“The Andalusian Government cannot delay the implementation of the Land Use Plan any longer, and must immediately begin closing down illegal farms, covering the 3000 hectares around the park. The Spanish Government, through the Guadalquivir River Basin Authority, must also close the 1000 illegal wells that are draining Doñana”, Del Olmo said.

Doñana, Europe’s most important wetland for migratory birds, is one of the flagship sites for WWF’s global campaign to defend World Heritage Sites and end the threats jeopardizing the future of this vital natural area and the people who depend on it. Nearly 30 000 people have already written to Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy supporting the campaign.

Ends

As part of WWF’s global campaign to defend World Heritage Sites, the organization recently released a new report and analysis, titled: Drying Doñana in danger of losing World Heritage status

 

Strawberry farming in Doñana, Spain
© Juan Carlos del Olmo /WWF