Press Releases

UNIS/INF/211
25 June 2007

International Danube Day 2007 to Celebrate Cultures and Cooperation

      VIENNA, 25 June 2007 (UN Information Service) -- The rich and varied histories and traditions of the countries sharing the Danube River Basin will be at the heart of festivities marking the fourth annual International Danube Day (29 June).

     Under the theme "Celebrating Danube Cultures", many educational, entertainment and recreational activities will be held this week to commemorate the anniversary of the Danube River Protection Convention, which was signed in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1994.

    Numerous governmental and non-governmental institutions throughout the Danube River Basin are partners in the celebration of Danube Day 2007, including the `Green Danube Partnership`, which was formed in 2005 by the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, The Coca-Cola Company and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR).

     "Throughout history, there have been many cultures living in what is today a vast river basin shared by 19 countries," said ICPDR Executive Secretary Philip Weller. "As the peoples of the Danube become more aware of the need to respect and manage the basin as a whole, they are also realizing the need to unite their many cultures into what we would like to call a single 'Danubian identity', cooperating and working to protect the waters of the Danube."

     Sir Michael Llewellyn-Smith, board director of Coca-Cola HBC, says that "the active engagement in the protection and preservation of vital water resources is an important commitment our company is making, not only in connection with Danube Day, but through our operations across 28 countries. We recognize that it is only through genuine and meaningful participation by companies such as our own that truly sustainable development can be achieved for the benefit of today's and future generations."

     Danube Day will celebrate the spectacular variety of lifestyles that contribute to the Danube's richness by drawing attention to historic monuments including castles, palaces and monasteries, many of which grace the banks and cliffs of the Danube River and its tributaries. Numerous languages and dialects that complement traditions and customs through song, dance, religion, crafts and cuisine will also be featured. Danubian cultures are crucially linked to the many ways in which humans have interacted with the Danube's waters to sustain their livelihoods, from fishing methods passed down the generations to carrying cargo by ship and harnessing the power of water to operate medieval mills.

     To celebrate Danubian culture, a series of national and local events will be held this week in different countries. Ship captains will blow their horns at exactly 14:00 Vienna time on 29 June all along the river; special displays will be mounted by museums in Belgrade, Budapest and Linz. In Romania, a barge will cruise down the Danube into the beautiful and fragile Danube Delta, presenting a miniature ecosystem for children to experience. Children will also be able to participate in the 4th annual Danube Art Masters Competition organized by the ICPDR, national ministries and the Danube Environmental Forum of NGOs.

    This year, Danube Day will also involve raising awareness about the 'Joint Danube Survey 2', the world's biggest river expedition of its kind in 2007, costing over 1 million euros. Three ships will travel down the length of the Danube River and its main tributaries to test pollution and water quality from mid-August to late September.

     Danube Day has been initiated by the ICPDR, which is the platform for cooperation on water management in the Danube river basin, a river basin that has been acknowledged as being the most international and one of the most beautiful in the world.

     To find out more about the numerous Danube Day events, please visit: http://www.danubeday.org

* *** *

For further information:

Jasmine Bachmann
International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR)
Tel.: (+ 43-1) 260 60 4373
Mob.: (+ 43-650) 514 7 514
Email: jasmine.bachmann@unvienna.org

The ICPDR (International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River) is an international organization consisting of 13 cooperating states and the European Union. Since its establishment in 1998, it has grown into one of the largest and most active international bodies engaged in river basin management in Europe. Its activities relate not only to the Danube River, but also to the tributaries and ground water resources of the entire Danube River Basin.

The ultimate goal of the ICPDR is to implement the Danube River Protection Convention, and make it a "living" instrument. Its mission is to promote and coordinate sustainable and equitable water management, including conservation, and 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 on standards for emissions and by assuring that these measures are reflected in the Contracting Parties' national legislations and are applied in their policies.