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    UNIS/OUS/364
    23 January 2017

    European Union takes over ICPDR Presidency for 2017 from the Czech Republic

    VIENNA, 23 January (International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River) - As the European Union takes over the annual Presidency of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) today, incoming President Peter Gammeltoft has set three main priorities for his term: strengthening of financial support for the ICPDR, assessing the impact of agricultural activities on the Danube River Basin environment and increasing the visibility of the ICPDR.

    Mr. Gammeltoft wants to focus on investment needs and on capacity building, to ensure a better use of the available EU financial instruments and the implementation needs of the ICPDR Contracting Parties, in particular non-EU States, to speed up finalization and implementation of national plans.

    Good water management and sustainable agricultural development require close cooperation between the environmental and agricultural sectors, and funding will be made available for water-friendly measures.

    To mobilize support for more water-friendly measures in other sectors and ensure better integration with other policy areas, another priority will be to increase the visibility of the ICPDR outside the water community.

    As the former Head of Unit for water and marine environment of the Directorate-General for Environment at the European Commission, Mr Gammeltoft knows the Danube River Basin well. In 1991, he played a key role in setting up an interim Danube Task Force, which was the precursor of the ICPDR.

    The ICPDR President has emphasized the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in particular their indivisibility, so that social, economic and environmental goals all have to be met. The goals are particularly important when addressing challenges with regards to integrating other policy areas such as energy, transport and agriculture.

    For Mr. Gammeltoft, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG6 ("Clean water and sanitation") will focus efforts on topics related to the work of the ICPDR.

    "Water, pollution and flood risks flow across national borders in the Danube River basin, so international cooperation is necessary, not only to achieve targets of EU legislation, but also to provide a better quality of life for citizens in the basin. The ICPDR is here to ensure that this cooperation takes place and will continue to remove any barriers to progress under my Presidency," said Mr. Gammeltoft.

    He praised the ICPDR as a widely and internationally recognized role model, showcasing the benefits of good transboundary cooperation in water resources management, in the most international river basin in the world. Mr Gammeltoft expressed his appreciation for the outgoing ICPDR Presidency and his predecessor Peter J. Kalas of the Czech Republic.

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    For further information, please contact:

    Hélène Masliah-Gilkarov
    Public Participation & Communication
    ICPDR Secretariat at UNOV
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-4373
    Fax: (+43-1) 26060-5895
    Mobile: (+43 676) 845 200 220
    E-mail: helene.masliah-gilkarov[at]unvienna.org
    Web: www.icpdr.org