Joint Statement: Navigation & Environment

The Joint Statement initiative was launched in 2007 by the ICPDR in cooperation with the Danube Commission and the International Sava Commission. 

The overall goal was to develop and commit to a “Joint Statement on Guiding Principles for the Development of Inland Navigation and Environmental Protection in the Danube River Basin”. This was achieved in autumn 2007.

Inland navigation can contribute to making transport more environmentally sustainable, particularly where it substitutes for road transport. It can, however, also have significant influence on river ecosystems, jeopardizing the goals of the EU Water Framework Directive, which aims for the “good ecological status” of all waters by 2015.

Economic growth is linked to investments in infrastructur; to improve the cross-country transportation, the European Commission has therefore developed the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) with guidelines and financing for Pan-European road, rail, air and waterway transportation corridors. The Danube has been identified as Corridor VII.

Next Steps

Recognising this potential conflict, the ICPDR has linked up with the Danube Commission, and the International Commission for the Protection of the Sava River Basin to initiate an intense, cross-sectoral discussion process, which led to a `Joint Statement on Guiding Principles on the Development of Inland Navigation and Environmental in the Danube River Basin´.

The Joint Statement summarises principles and criteria for environmentally sustainable inland navigation on the Danube and its tributaries, including the maintenance of existing waterways and the development of future waterway infrastructure. The `Joint Statement´ is a guiding document

  • for the development of the `Programme of Measures´ requested by the EU Water Framework Directive,
  • for the maintenance of the current inland navigation,
  • for the planning and the investments in future infrastructure and environmental protection projects.

The process was conducted in 2007 with several meetings of the partners. The final document was adopted by the ICPDR and the Danube Commission in December 2007 and by the Interational Commission for the Protection of Sava River Basin in January 2008.

Danube Navigation Dialogue

This cross-sector agreement was very positively received by participating and observing stakeholders. On 29-30 January 2009, the wide range of responsible government authorities and interest groups had met again in Budapest. Since then, key actors in navigation and environment have met in annual follow-up meetings.

The Statement and its annexes can be found below in English and in Bosnian, Croatian, French, German, Hungarian, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Romanian and Ukrainian languages.



  • » Development of the Joint Statement in 2007
    Between April and October 2007, an integrated stakeholder dialogue was conducted by ICPDR, Danube Commissson and the International Sava Commission. Main activities were 3 workshops and the drafting of the Joint Statement document.
  • » Joint Statement follow-up meetings - Budapest 2009 and Zagreb 2010
    The Danube navigation dialogue, concluded in October 2007 with the finalisation of the "Joint Statement", is continued. A first follow-up meeting was held in January 2009 in Budapest, a second one is held in March 2010 in Zagreb, serving to assessing the progress achieved so far and discussing how to improve the application of the "Joint Statement" in waterway projects.
  • » Navigation
    Historically, the Danube and some of its tributaries have formed important trade routes across Europe. The harnessing of these rivers to facilitate navigation has radically changed their physical and ecological characteristics, while pollution from ships and boats is also a problem. In order to address this problem, the ICPDR is undertaking various activities.
  • » Ships and environment to share Danube River
    Vienna, 25 April 2007. A one-year process began today to reach agreement on how to maintain and develop inland waterway transport on the Danube River without damaging the environment. The joint initiative is being organized under the leadership of the ICPDR in cooperation with the Danube Navigation Commission and the International Commission for the Protection of the River Sava.
  • » Can ecology and waterway transport coexist?
    ICPDR Danube Watch: The new riverbank at Hainburg
  • » A new platform for inland waterway transport
    ICPDR Danube Watch: Searching for heavy metals behind the Iron Gates
  • » Navigation statement sailing ahead
    ICPDR Danube Watch: Searching for heavy metals behind the Iron Gates