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    UNIS/OUS/328
    9 February 2016

    Re-issued as received

    Cleaner, healthier and safer waters in Danube River Basin

    VIENNA, 9 February (International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River) - Cleaner, healthier and safer waters for everyone to enjoy are the objective of two new management plans for the Danube River Basin that were endorsed in Vienna today. The management plans set out measures for the coming six years to improve the purity of rivers, lakes and groundwater in the Danube River Basin, turn rivers and lakes into thriving ecosystems for animals and plants, and manage flood risks.

    "Water is an indispensable basis for life that faces many pressures, from climate change to overexploitation, from growing scarcity to pollution," said Peter J. Kalas, President of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR). "This is why the protection of the Danube River and its development are so important."

    Mr. Kalas added: "Today constitutes a milestone in the ICPDR's history: by adopting two management strategies for the Danube River Basin to guide its smart sustainable development over the next six years, 14 countries and the European Union have expressed a joint commitment and set an example for how to tackle global challenges locally."

    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, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine and the European Commission endorsed the management plans and adopted a ministerial "Danube Declaration" at a ministerial meeting organized by the ICPDR.

    The "Danube River Basin Management Plan Update 2015" and the "First Flood Risk Management Plan for the Danube River Basin" were developed in line with the EU Water Framework Directive and the EU Floods Directive. Examples for measures contained in the plans are the development of wastewater treatment plants to reduce pollution, the construction of 146 fish migration aids, and the opening of retention spaces for floods to reduce damage.

    The Danube River Basin Management Plan is building on a previous six-year plan, which resulted in significant environmental improvements of the Danube River and its tributaries. For example, phosphorus emissions were reduced by 30 per cent since 2009, with positive effects on ecosystems throughout the basin and in the Black Sea. The "First Danube Flood Risk Management Plan" is the first basin-wide programme to prevent and reduce flood-related damage to human health, the environment, cultural heritage and businesses.

    "Our two management plans will benefit the environment as well as the 80 million people who call the Danube River Basin their home," said Ivan Zavadsky, the ICPDR Executive Secretary. "This is why the ICPDR involved the people of the basin in developing them."

    The plans were developed by the Danube River Basin countries and the EU with support from the ICPDR, and inputs from public consultations, involving environmental NGOs, the private sector and others. To raise awareness of the need to keep the Danube clean, healthy and safe, an online game for children was published at www.danubeadventure.org

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    Photos from the meeting, the ministerial declaration, the management plans and further information are available for download from the ICPDR website at http://www.icpdr.org/main/mm16

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    For further information, please contact:

    Benedikt Mandl
    ICPDR Secretariat at UNOV
    Phone: +(43 1) 26060 4373
    Mobile: +(43 0) 676 845 200 220
    Email: benedikt.mandl[at]unvienna.org
    Website: www.icpdr.org