The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has been working to address priority environmental problems in the Danube since 1992.
The main goal of the project is to strengthen existing structures and activities in order to facilitate a regional approach, thus strengthening the capacity of the ICPDR and the Danube countries to fulfill their legally binding commitment to implement the Danube Convention. This task now also includes the development of a River Basin Management Plan in line with the EU's Water Framework Directive.
Key targets include reducing nutrient pollution and supporting trans-boundary co-operation. The project is already well under way, and covers some 80 activities, largely concerned with improving water supply and other water services, strengthening agricultural policies, providing effective river basin management tools and protecting wetlands.
The 5-year project has a total budget of 15 million USD.
The Danube Regional Project is one of three components of the 95 million USD GEF Strategic Partnership for Nutrient Reduction in the Danube / Black Sea Basin – the largest and perhaps most ambitious water-related project supported by the GEF anywhere in the world.
Strategy for Public Participation (342.82 KB) Danube River Basin Strategy for Public Participation in River Basin Management Planning 2003-2009
- Stakeholder Analysis 2003 (574.76 KB)
The WFD obliges Member States and accession countries to use a river basin approach for managing water resources, as does the DRPC. The WFD requires cross-border cooperation and encourages multi-stakeholder cooperation. It also obliges every EU river basin and sub-basin, including the Danube, to develop a ‘River Basin Analysis’ followed by a ‘River Basin Management Plan (RBMP)’ by 2009 which specifies a ‘Programme of Measures’. The RBMPs are meant to help EU countries meet the WFD requirement of a ‘good status’ for all EU waters and ecosystems by 2015. From 2001-2007, interventions through the UNDP/GEF ‘Danube Regional Project’ continued to support improvements in Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM) in the Danube Basin.
Reducing nutrient and toxic (e.g. pesticide) pollution from agriculture to Danube water bodies is a key objective of the UNDP-GEF Danube Regional Project (DRP). In response, the DRP has developed a number of products and activities of use and value for various stakeholders in the Danube River Basin. DRP agriculture-related activities were also geared to assist the ICPDR in their efforts to implement the Danube River Protection Convention and EU Water Framework Directive.
Industrial activities are a significant source of pollution within the Danube Basin. Pollution sources are varied including industrial discharges, accidents resulting in pollution and the flooding of contaminated sites and leaching of pollutants. Discharges from municipal wastewater treatment utilities can also lead to increased nutrient and toxic pollution in Danube Basin waters. This includes phosphate-based cleaning detergents released via wastewater treatment utilities.
Wetlands such as floodplain forests, marshlands, deltas, floodplain corridors and lakeshores have numerous functions. They are valuable drinking water reserves for millions of people. They assist in reducing the impacts from floods and pollution. They also provide habitat for many species. However, 80% of the Danube's wetlands and floodplains were lost since the end of the 19th century, threatening species such as pelicans in the Danube Delta and beavers in the Upper Danube. Danube wetlands are getting significant help from the UNDP/GEF Danube Regional Project. A key goal is to target Danube water and wetland managers to better incorporate wetland conservation into their river basin planning, especially to help them fulfil the EU Water Framework Directive. Project partners include Danube NGOs, especially those in the Danube Environment Forum (DEF) with 170 NGO members, scientific experts and the ICPDR.