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February 2 marks the day of the adoption in 1971 of the Ramsar Convention for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands which is the oldest, still “active” nature protection treaty to date, the agriculture ministry’s state secretary said on Friday, World Wetlands Day. The treaty has since been joined by 172 countries including Hungary signing it in 1979, András Rácz told an event held in Tata, in northern Hungary, to mark the anniversary. Hungary has so far designated under the Ramsar Convention 29 wetland areas occupying close to 250,000 hectares, or 2.6 percent, of the country’s territory, he said. The quality of natural environment has improved on an area of close to 200,000 hectares in the country as a result of 101 projects implemented with the support of some 39 billion forints (EUR 102m) worth of funding under the EU’s KEHOP operative programme for environmental and energy development, he said. “Two-thirds of the investments covered the reconstruction of conventional habitat areas, two-thirds of which are wetland areas,” the state secretary said.