16 February 2010
Ministers Agree on Detailed Actions for Environmental Protection in the Danube River Basin
VIENNA, 16 February (UN Information Service) - Ministers and high-level representatives responsible for water management from the Danube River Basin countries Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and the European Commission have endorsed the 'Danube Declaration' at a ministerial meeting held today in Vienna, Austria and hosted by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR).
"The Danube waters are shared by us all and therefore we also share the responsibility," said ICPDR President Mitja Bricelj. "We meet to ensure that the resources of the Danube Basin are managed in an environmentally sustainable manner."
The Danube River Basin Management Plan outlines concrete measures to be implemented by the year 2015 to improve the environmental condition of the Danube and its tributaries. These include the reduction of organic and nutrient pollution stemming from settlements and agriculture, stopping negative effects of man-made changes to the river, for example through the construction of fish-passes, the introduction of phosphate-free detergents in all markets and effective risk management of accidental pollution. Measures to protect and reconnect wetlands will also be taken. The plan addresses key requirements of the European Union Water Framework Directive.
"The agreement on coordinated actions to improve the waters in the most international river basin in the world is a remarkable achievement and requires the strong political commitment that was expressed at today's meeting", explains Philip Weller, ICPDR Executive Secretary.
Flood action plans for the 17 sub-basins in the Danube catchment area were also adopted at the ministerial meeting. These sub-basin plans, which have been developed in the framework of the ICPDR Action Programme for Sustainable Flood Prevention, contain hundreds of concrete measures including re-naturalization of wetlands, creation of natural flood barriers, upgrading of dykes and improvement of alarm and forecasting systems. The Danube countries will take these actions to protect their populations from floods and to mitigate flood damage and losses, such as those caused in the years 2002, 2005 and 2006.
"Our success will be measured on the results achieved for the 80 million people calling the Danube Basin their home," Mr. Bricelj concluded. "The Danube and its tributaries such as the Sava and the Tisza are lifelines for man and nature. The actions for protection are set - their joint implementation will follow".
Photos of the meeting are available for download from the ICPDR website at www.icpdr.org
* *** *
For further information, please contact: