Danube Day 2012: “Linking the needs of people and the needs of the environment” Print
News Waterfall - News Waterfall #2
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 18:01

Danube Day is celebrated on June 29, the signing date of the Danube River Protection Convention, throughout the Danube river basin. Folk celebrations pay tribute to the vital role the Danube and its tributaries play in people’s lives: providing water, food, power, transport, recreation and prosperity; while drawing attention to the importance of conservation. Danube Day was first held in 2005 and has grown from one year to another ever since. In 2011, it saw 230 events in all of the Danube River Basin countries, and involved 440 schools, 750 partner organisations and ten thousands of participants (http://www.icpdr.org/icpdr-pages/danube_day.htm).

Activities such as "Danube Art Master” contest, water-related games, field trips, round tables, seminars and workshops, competitions, etc. help people bond with their Danube. Well-known celebrities and artists show their dedication to protecting the environment and help inspire everyone to take action for the Danube in their every-day lives. Danube Day is supported by the “Green Danube Partnership” between the ICPDR and the Coca Cola system, comprising of The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola Hellenic.

In 2012, Austria chairs the ICPDR for the second time. ICPDR President Wolfgang Stalzer wants to highlight increased efforts in linking the needs of people (economy, culture, society) and the environment. Taking both sides into consideration is what the ICPDR means by “inter-sectoral” or “integrative” planning. Quotes on this by Wolfgang Stalzer:

“For years, the ICPDR has worked on aligning the interest of people with the vulnerable nature along our rivers. This year, we will see the adoption of a climate adaptation strategy, guiding principles of hydropower, first steps towards making the Danube permeable for migratory fish and efforts in making agriculture more environmentally friends. These are milestones in preserving the Danube and its associated rivers for future generations and making it a more natural river. A great occasion to celebrate. I wish all the people of the Danube Basin a happy Danube Day!”

The Danube River Basin is Europe's second largest river basin, with a total area of 801,463 km². It is the world's most international river basin as it includes the territories of 19 countries: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine, with catchment areas larger than 2000km²; and Switzerland, Italy, Poland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania with smaller areas. The ecosystems of the Danube river basin are highly valuable in environmental, economic, historical and social terms, but they are subject to increasing pressure and serious pollution from agriculture, industry and municipal communities. The Danube River Basin is home to 81 million people with a wide range of cultures, languages and historical backgrounds.

The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR, http://www.icpdr.org) is an International Organisation consisting of 14 cooperating states and the European Union. Since its establishment in 1998, the ICPDR has grown into one of the largest and most active international bodies of river basin management expertise in Europe. The ICPDR deals not only with the Danube itself, but also with the whole Danube River Basin, which includes its tributaries and the ground water resources.

The ultimate goal of the ICPDR is to implement the Danube River Protection Convention (DRPC) and make it a living tool. Its ambitious mission is to promote and coordinate sustainable and equitable water management, including conservation, improvement and rational use of waters for the benefit of the Danube River Basin countries and their people. The ICPDR pursues its mission by making recommendations for the improvement of water quality, developing mechanisms for flood and accident control, agreeing standards for emissions and by assuring that these are reflected in the Contracting Parties' national legislations and applied in their policies.

Just in June 2012 website of the ICPDR (www.icpdr.org) was re-launched.