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UNIS/OUS/038
25 June 2010

Danube Day 2010: Call for Action and Cross-Border Cooperation

VIENNA, 25 June (UN Information Service) - 81 million people in all Danube countries are invited to 'Get Active for the Rivers' on 29 June as part of the celebrations for the 7th annual Danube Day. The main goal of this year's celebration is to engage people and to emphasize the connections between the countries and the water conservation interests of all inhabitants.

Danube Day is coordinated by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR). "In order to sustain the Danube rivers today, and for the benefit of future generations, people in every sector of society must join a united effort," says Philip Weller, Executive Secretary of the ICPDR, "After the devastating floods, which hit the region heavily some weeks ago, it is important to emphasize the connectivity between all countries and the need to for integrated water management."

Danube Day celebrations are organized by governmental and non-governmental institutions, companies and schools. A long-standing partner is also the 'Green Danube Initiative' composed of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Group, The Coca-Cola Company and the ICPDR.

Doros Constantinou, Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola Hellenic explains, "We at Coca-Cola Hellenic are totally committed in helping to protect the environment. The vital significance of the Danube cannot be over stated. Older than the Rhine, it is the main source of water for millions of people, a vital ecological hotspot in Europe as well as an important international waterway."

The emphatic call for action this year is part of a continuing, multinational effort to protect and preserve the iconic Danube River and its tributaries, as well as the areas through which they flow. Planned activities include educational projects, clean-ups along river banks, and a wide range of informative entertainment programmes to actively engage people of all ages in supporting initiatives to protect the environment.

Serbia, for example, will celebrate Danube Day in 16 cities along the Danube. All of them will be represented in a puzzle depicting the course of the Danube river across the country, including cultural and environmental specifics of each point. An eco camp on Great War Island, a protected area in the centre of Belgrade, will serve as a meeting point for students of biosciences who will collaboratively work on a case study on the management of Djerdap National Park at the border of Serbia and Romania.

Events will not only take place along the Danube itself but across the Danube Basin: the small Ukrainian town of Dilove on the Tisza, which claims to be the geographical heart of Europe, will witness the transit of the large Danube-Day-flag to Romania. The flag will travel all Danube countries as a symbol of connectivity beyond national borders.

Other events took place along the Sava river earlier this month, organized with coordination of the International Sava River Basin Commission. Mitja Bricelj, ICPDR President 2010, explains, "By moving our rivers into the spotlight we can alert people and motivate them to stand up for a healthy future of our lifelines! The celebration of Danube Day and Sava Day are vivid examples of the spirit of the Danube region - as also highlighted by the EU Danube Strategy currently being developed."

In addition, the International Danube Art Master Schools Competition is again being held in all Danube countries in cooperation with the Danube Environmental Forum. The contest invites young people from 14 countries to submit artwork inspired by the rivers. The international winning entry will be announced in September in Vienna.

Danube Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Danube River Protection Convention in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1994. Ever expanding, it has become the largest river festival in the world.

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

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For further information, contact:

Jasmine Bachmann
ICPDR Secretariat at UNOV
Mobile: (+43-676) 845-200-220
Email: jasmine.bachmann@unvienna.org
Website: www.icpdr.org

 

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