ICPDR Presidency 2008: Serbia


ICPDR Danube Watch: Danube Day 2006: River of Life

Danube Watch 1 2008

ICPDR Presidency 2008: Serbia

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 2008, Saša Dragin.

Lucia Ana Varga, State Secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development and ICPDR President for 2007, presents a bottle of Danube Water to Saša Dragin, Minister of Environmental Protection of Serbia and ICPDR President 2008.

In the presence of diplomatic officials from all danube basin countries, lucia ana varga, state secretary of the Ministry of environmental Protection and sustainable development, presented a bottle of danube water to saša dragin, Minister of environmental Protection of serbia, on january 21. with this symbolic gesture, serbia has taken on the ICPdR Presidency for 2008.

Danube Watch: What objectives do you intend to meet during your presidency?
Saša Dragin:
As ICPDR President 2008 – and being responsible for environmental protection in Serbia – I shall focus, above all, on protecting the Danube and its tributaries and overcoming the obstacles in the sustainable use of natural resources. As the Danube suffers from the impact of 81 million people in 19 countries, cooperation and information exchange are crucial for its preservation. The Upper Danube countries are particularly responsible and timely information exchange is the main instrument for the prevention of damage caused by accidents and flooding in Lower Danube countries.

The following activities will be especially important in 2008: the dissemination of the results of the joint Danube Survey 2, the extensive river monitoring which has been carried out jointly by all Danube countries in 2007; optimal use of the Accident Emergency Warning System; activation of the Danube European Flood Alert System (Danube EFAS); and the reduction of household wastewater pollution in the basin through local projects. A further goal for this year will be to support Montenegro in becoming a Contracting Party of the ICPDR.

Danube Watch: How important is public participation in river protection?
Saša Dragin:
It is vital to educate the public and increase their awareness of the importance of river protection. Danube Day raises public awareness of the role of the Danube, and appeals to all citizens to treat one of Europe’s most important ecosystems in responsibly. Year by year, the scope of action and the number of people involved increase significantly, and in addition to the ecological aspect, this year’s activities will also include an educational and cultural aspect.

Danube Watch: How is responsibility shared between your Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of agriculture, Forestry and Water Management?
Saša Dragin:
The Ministry of Environmental Protection shares its competency over waters with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, and our responsibilities for the ICPDR are also divided. The ICPDR Presidency has been assigned to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the official representation of the Serbian Delegation to the ICPDR has been assigned to the Directorate for Water of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, as in previous years. Such a division of responsibilities was made to distinguish water protection and its use, however all these are inseparable and achieved through integrated water management.

All water-related projects, as well as water-related problems, require the involvement of both ministries. A good example for such an intergovernmental project is the‘Serbia Danube River Enterprise Pollution Reduction Project’, which is financed by the World Bank to reduce nutrients in the Danube Basin and the Black Sea. This project – prepared by the Ministry of Environment and carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management – aims to promote sustainable production and environmentally friendly agricultural practices, especially in cattle and pig farms.

Danube Watch: Why has Serbia – not an EU member – decided to take on the burden of implementing the EU Framework Water Directive (WFD)?
Saša Dragin:
Addressing problems of water pollution as well as of wastewaters in our country reduces the possibility of transboundary pollution. Meeting water-related EU requirements and standards is a priority goal for our country and an important condition to fulfil in the process of EU integration. Within the ICPDR, the Republic of Serbia has already taken some steps to implement the WFD in the field of surface waters – including the identification of watercourses with basins bigger than 100 km², the demarcation of the boundary between the basins, as well as the identification and classification of water bodies.

Danube Watch: The whole territory of Serbia lies within the Danube River Basin. What does the Danube mean to you personally?
Saša Dragin:
The Danube River Basin is rich in natural resources and cultural heritage. Nevertheless, the fundamental value of the region, especially of the middle and eastern part, lies in its geo-strategic and economic position. The Danube is a transport route connecting not only the northeast with the southeast part of the continent, but also Europe with Asia, with Africa and the whole world. This is extremely important for the economic development of the region – creating possibilities as well as obligations to establish international cooperation between countries. The revitalisation of activities along corridors has revived the possibility of economic and overall development not only for our country but for the whole European continent. The Danube is a European river with incredible agricultural, tourism and transport potential. This immense treasure should be cherished and well protected. All Danube Basin countries should strive for long-lasting water quality enhancement and the protection of the Danube and its tributaries.

Danube Watch: Thank you and all the best during your presidency!


1991 Completed secondary school education at the ‘Dr Siniša Stankovi´c’ High School for Agricultural Sciences, in the Veterinary Programme
1999 Graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture in Novi Sad as an agronomy engineer. Completed postgraduate studies in Genetics and Animal Improvement at the Faculty of Agriculture in Novi Sad
2001 Earned a certificate for working in the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics (Winter School of Molecular Genetics – Domžale)
2003-2004 Attended several study visits at the Research Institute of Animal Production in Nitra, Slovakia, where he devised an experiment which served as a framework for his Masters and Doctoral theses in the Department of Genetics and Animal Reproduction
2003 Received a Master’s Degree
2007 Received a PhD from the Faculty of Agriculture in Novi Sad
  Employment and Professional Experience:
2000-2001 Scientific Associate at the Faculty of Agriculture in Novi Sad
2001-present Assistant Teacher of Physiology of Domestic Animals, and Associate in Physiology Course – Veterinary Programme
2001-2005 Selection Service and Laboratory of Animal Reproduction in the Cattle Breeding Department of the Faculty of Agriculture in Novi Sad
2002 Laboratory of Transgenic Animal Design in the Animal Science Department, and in the Laboratory of Domestic Animal Molecular Genetics in the Department of Agriculture, Illinois State University-Urbana, USA
2004-present Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of AP Vojvodina