(Press Release) World Water Day 2020: the ICPDR adapts to Climate Change

News & Media

VIENNA, 22 March 2020 (International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River) – World Water Day 2020 is focusing on how Climate Change policy must put water first.

2020 World Water Day logo

As the impending Climate Crisis draws ever closer, it’s increasingly clear how extreme water events are going to make water availability more unpredictable. World Water Day, held on 22 March every year since 1993, is an annual United Nations Observance focusing on the importance of freshwater. In keeping with the aims of this year’s World Water Day, the ICPDR is consistently bringing water policy and climate change policy together throughout the Danube River Basin.

“Along with the all of impressive activities taking place around the globe for World Water Day 2020,” says ICPDR President for 2020, Dorin Andros, “the ICPDR is proud to be at the Danube River Basin level, a partner in securing the future of water throughout the world as we face impending climate change.”


What is World Water Day 2020 about?


World Water Day 2020 is about water and climate change – and how the two are inextricably linked. The impacts of climate change are amplified in water environments (too much or too little water), and it is increasingly clear that the water is part of the problem as well as an important part of the solution. The campaign shows how our management of water will help reduce floods, droughts, scarcity and pollution, and will help fight climate change itself.


It’s clear that using water more efficiently will reduce greenhouse gases. Furthermore, by adapting water resources management to the effects of climate change, we will protect health and save lives.

Putting Climate Change On To Our Top Priority List

The ICPDR regularly updates its Danube River Basin Management Plan on the basis of Significant Water Management Issues – aka SWMIs – comprising the most important indicators of the current status and quality of the waters of the DRB. Until recently, four SWMIs were in place: “Organic Pollution”, “Nutrient Pollution”, “Hazardous Substance Pollution”, and “Hydromorphological Alterations”. In 2019 Danube countries agreed upon the proposal to add a fifth SWMI called “Effects of climate change (drought, water scarcity, extreme hydrological phenomena and other impacts)”. This development arrived following several reports, including a focused look into droughts made in 2015 indicating the necessity to expand the scope of the SWMIs in use by the ICPDR.


The document including the addition of the new SWMI is under public consultation. Its acceptance into the ICPDR signifies a step forward in the process of planning and adapting to climate change along the Danube River. Reorienting the assessment and planning processes of the ICPDR to correctly reflect these issues is going to be ever more vital in the coming years. The document proposing the update to the SWMIs can be found here.


ICPDR Climate Change Adaptation Strategy


In addition to the extension of our core indicators to explicitly include a climate-change-related SWMI, the ICPDR already made an update to its in-house Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in 2018. As a leader and pioneer among transboundary river basin commissions in responding to climate change, the ICPDR adopted the first ICPDR Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change in 2012. Based on its strategy, the ICPDR will fully integrated climate adaptation issues in its updated Danube River Basin Management Plan and in the second Danube Flood Risk Management Plan in 2021.


The key outcomes of the 2018 update to the strategy include the creation of a “Climate Change Adaptation Measures Toolbox”, providing a comprehensive and easy-to-use toolbox of possible adaptation measures for the reference of the public in the DRB. Furthermore, it increased the scope of the ICPDR to widen its knowledge base and bring on board a broader range of stakeholders and other interests in relation to the most pressing issue of our time.

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] icpdr.org
Web: www.icpdr.org