ICPDR Presidency 2007: Romania
In its continuing series, Danube Watch presents portraits of the leaders whose passion and commitment help determine the future of our river basin. In this issue we speak to ICPDR President for 2007, Lucia Ana Varga.
In the presence of the diplomatic representation from all Danube Basin countries, Constantin Mihailescu, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Moldova, presented a bottle of Danube Water to Lucia Ana Varga, State Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Water Management of Romania, on January 22. With this symbolic gesture, the ICPDR Presidency 2007 has been taken over by Romania.
Danube Watch: What are your goals for the presidency?
Lucia Ana Varga: The presidency of the ICPDR represents a real challenge in keeping the regional cooperation among the Contracting Parties, for coherent coordination of the activities for protection and improvement of the Danube and its tributaries, to meet the hopes of the population and the needs of nature.
One of our priorities is to successfully complete the Joint Danube Survey 2. The purpose of this expedition is to evaluate the status of the Danube water quality, as well as the quality of the aquatic environment. We are at a critical moment to develop the Joint Program of Measures. In this respect, the results of the Joint Danube Survey 2 will be a starting point in our assessment related to the necessary measures.
Another goal is to design common flood risk maps for the all Danube River courses. As the person responsible for flood management in Romania, I am aware of the difficulties in meeting the hopes of the people for safety and the need to protect and restore flood plains. In recent years we have faced major floods within the Danube River Basin and it is the right time to increase our cooperation on flood management.
Romania is particularly interested in continuing this process, as part of the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) – the most important water management issue right now. For this, we shall encourage the active involvement of the stakeholders, especially in the elaboration, revision and in keeping current the Basin Management Plans.
In my opinion, we also need to continue the education and awareness of stakeholders for sustainable protection of the Danube, its tributaries and the Black Sea ecosystems. In order to be involved, citizens and the business sector need to be informed of their rights, obligations and, of course, the measures that we as a governmental structure take in the framework of WFD implementation.
Danube Watch: How can cooperation between the Danube and Black Sea be improved?
Lucia Ana Varga: Protection of the Black Sea environment is one of the goals of the Danube Convention. However, this goal won’t be reached without coordination between the Danube and Black Sea countries.
The High Level Ministerial Conference of the Danube River Basin and the Black Sea region, organised by the Romanian Ministry of Environment and Water Management in February was an important step in the cooperation process. This meeting intensified regional cooperation among Danube states and Black Sea riparian countries, as well as among these states, the European Commission and international financial institutions.
Danube Watch: As the UNDP/GEF Danube Regional Project comes to an end, are the Danube countries ready take over?
Lucia Ana Varga: The UNDP/GEF Danube Regional Project has successfully reached its overall objective: the improvement of the environment of the Danube River Basin, by protecting its waters and managing its natural resources for the benefit of nature and people. Romania, along with the other Danube Basin countries has learnt a lot from this experience during these 15 years.
Thanks to all our efforts, the quality of the water in the Danube and the Black Sea has improved, but fertilizers in agriculture and toxic pollutants still represent a threat to aquatic ecosystems. That is why, as a follow up to this tremendous work undertaken by the Danube countries within this project, we need to concentrate on finding other financial resources for future activity that will give rise to a balance between environment and human activities.
Investments in water infrastructure cost a lot of money, but they are absolutely necessary. Human agglomerations, especially big cities, generate a huge volume of waste waters, which, if they are not treated, have a significant negative impact on the environment.
Within the strategic approach of water infrastructure projects it is essential to keep a long term perspective. The development of financial efforts allows a sustainable advance of the projects, which takes into consideration the acceptance both of the population and involved institutions.
Innovative financial mechanisms are also significant – using the financial instruments of the European Union such as ISPA, SAPARD or PHARE, of multilateral funds or grants, of credits and governmental warranties by stimulating the private capital participation and private-public partnerships. Furthermore, international financial institutions have valuable experience in investment activities for water and waste water infrastructure.
Danube Watch: : Romania is a real Danube country, with 97% part of the Danube River Basin, including two-thirds of the Danube Delta. What does the Danube mean to you personally?
Lucia Ana Varga: The great Romanian scientist Grigore Antipa once said that the Danube “is the greatest natural treasure of our country”.
Along with the Carpathian Mountains and the Black Sea, the Danube represents one of the important symbols of our natural landscape, which defines Romanian cultural and spiritual values. Historical vestiges, such as the former Roman camp Dierna, from Orsova, the ruins of the bridge built by the Apolodor from Damascus, situated in Drobeta Turnu Severin, the Roman-Byzantine castle Nicopolea Mica from Turnu Magurele, the ruins of the castle built by voivode Mircea the Elder, define what the Danube river meant for Romanian civilization, which has been connected to this ‘river of life’.
Danube Watch: Thank you and all the best for your presidency!
LUCIA ANA VARGA
Ministry of Environment and Water Management, Romania
Member of the Liberal National Party
|1986-1991||Technical University of Timisoara – Faculty
|2001- Present||Technical University of Timisoara – Faculty
of Mechanics – mechanical engineering
candidate for a doctor’s degree
|Employment and Professional Experience:|
|2007||President of the Bureau of the Meeting of the Parties on the Protocol on Water and Health to the 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes|
|2005 – Present||Secretary of State, Ministry of Environment and Water Management|
|2004 – 2005||Chief Commissioner – Bihor County Commissariat of the National Environmental Guard|
|1998 – 2004||Inspector – Environment Protection Agency – Bihor County|
|1997 – 1998||Teacher – Bihor County Schools
|1991 – 1997||Teacher – “Mihai Bravu” secondary school – Oradea|