Press Releases

     
    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/VIC/90
        4 October 2000
     Danube River Basin Programme Receives over EURO 22 Million
    To Implement European Union Water Framework Directive

     (Re-issued as received from the Danube Programme Coordination Unit)

      VIENNA, 4 October (UN Information Service) -- The new European Union Framework Water Directive will soon come into force and in future the accession countries will have to comply with this directive which also requires international co-operation in River Basin Management. The European Union Phare Multi-Country Programme for Environment (MCP-Environement) has in the recent years made available over EURO 20 Million in support of Phare countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia) in the Danube river basin to improve the operational basis for environmental management and to assist with the implement of the Danube River Protection Convention. The EU Tacis Programme has intervened with comparable assistance of over EURO 2 million in Tacis countries in the Danube basin (Moldova and Ukraine).

    The final year of the Phare MCP-Environment special support was provided to the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) by organising international workshops to discuss the implications of the Directive for the Danubian countries. This has resulted in the publication of a handbook for the riparian countries to help them prepare for a proper and effective application of the Directive.

    The Phare MCP-Environement support of the recent years and other major activities undertaken within EU Phare and Tacis funding for the Danube will be subject of discussion during the International Conference “Benefits for the Protection of the Danube” to be held in Sofia (Borovetz) Bulgaria between 11 – 13 October 2000. The aim of this conference is to review eight years of EU support in terms of:

      lessons learned
      the need for future interventions
      the sustainability of the existing organisation and networks
      public participation and information
      further priority environmental investments in the Danube basin and options for the mobilisation of funding for such investments on national as well as international levels.

    Background Information: 

    The major support of the Phare MCP-Environment and of Tacis for the Danubian countries was:

    1. Development of strategic solutions for the organisation of the Convention such as development of the Danube Strategic Action Plan and its implementation. The implementation programme (1996-2000) that including demonstration projects aimed at the protection of water resources, wetland management, river basin planning, clean technologies, nutrient removal and institutional capacity building.

    2. Harmonisation of water quality monitoring: Since 1998, Year Books with comparable water quality data have been produced by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR). This has been made possible by Phare and Tacis support to the relevant environmental laboratories in the riparian countries (supply of instruments and training as well as support in developing operational procedures and protocols).

    3. Emission inventories: The programme supported the preparation of basin wide municipal and industrial emission inventories thatt will be used for the development of the Action programmes of the ICPDR. 

    4. Installation of an environmental accident alarm system over the entire length of the Danube. The Accident Early Warning System (AEWS), developed with the mentioned EU support, has been in operation in the Danube basin since 1997. It has functioned well continuously and really proved its usefulness in timely and effective international warning and communication during the serious Baia Mare incident in the Tisza River Basin (the largest sub-basin of the Danube river) in early 2000.

    Further information can be obtained from:

    The homepage of the Environmental Programme for the Danube River Basin: 

    www.rec.org/DanubePCU

    After October, information can be obtained from the Public Domain of the Homepage of the 

    ICPDR: www.icpdr.org/danubis/
    Or: Contact the Danube PCU:
    Tel: + 43 1 260605616
    Fax: + 43 1 260605836
    E-mail: karin.zambra@unvienna.org 

    Or Permanent Secretariat of the ICPDR: ICPDR@unvienna.org
    Tel: + 43 1 260605738
    Fax: + 43 1 260605859
     

    * * * * *