Danube Watch 1/2021 - News and Events
#DiscoverDanube at Danube Day 2021
VIENNA, 29th June 2021 – For Danube Day 2021, the ICPDR again invited more than 80 million people across 14 Danube countries to celebrate, to learn about the waters, to experience the river, and to #DiscoverDanube. Events were held partially online this year with only a small number of outdoor events taking place.
While still more subdued than in previous years due to the pandemic, Danube Day 2021 happily coincided with the ICPDR’s Stakeholder Consultation Workshop, Our Opinion – Our Danube, as well as the results from JDS4 – the Fourth Joint Danube Survey – which were published just a few weeks ahead of the day.
Regarding the 2021 edition of Danube Day, the ICPDR’s 2021 President, Momčilo Blagojević of Montenegro made the following statement: "It has been an unusual time for the ICPDR and the citizens of the Danube River Basin, just like everywhere in the world. However, the strength of this international cooperation has bolstered the ability of our shared river basin to cope with unprecedented circumstances. It’s a tribute to the ICPDR that during such a difficult time, we have been able to coordinate the process of drafting, revising, and consulting the public during the formulation of the all-important updates to our Danube River Basin Management Plan and Danube Flood Risk Management Plan. They will inform our activity until 2027, and the process has proven the ingenuity and flexibility of our dynamic institution."
ICPDR Launches its Public Consultation Process for the DRBMP & DFRM Updates 2021
March 2021 – the ICPDR officially launched the Public Consultation Process for the drafting of the Danube River Basin Management Plan (DRBMP) and Danube Flood Risk Management Plan (DFRMP) Updates 2021.
Running at the turn of each management cycle, these plans will guide the ICPDR’s work programme for the next six years, thus in keeping with its aims to ensure the active involvement of stakeholders and civil society on all levels of its work, the ICPDR is giving the public the chance to #HaveYourSay and provide input towards these all-important plans. These plans aim to make the waters of the Danube River Basin cleaner, healthier, and safer. They will further protect and enhance the status of all waters and to ensure the sustainable, long-term use of water resources as well as the sustainable management of flood risks.
As of 31st March 2021, the ICPDR published draft versions of both the DRBMP & DFRMP Updates on its website, freely available to the public. Until September 2021, the ICPDR has been managing a variety of channels through which consultation can take place and citizens of the Danube can have their say in the drafting process. This includes a public consultation workshop (Our Opinion – Our Danube – held online via Zoom due to the pandemic), a Public Consultation Questionnaire hosted on the ICPDR website, and the collection of written comments from individuals and organisations throughout the Danube River Basin via email or post. The latter can be addressed to the ICPDR’s Secretariat address or sent to wfd-fdicpdr [dot] org.
“Workshop on Sludge management in the Danube Region for a greener EU”, co-hosted by the ICPDR
ONLINE, 10th June 2021 – In cooperation with the Priority Area 4 (Water Quality) of the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region, the Danube Water Program run by the World Bank and the International Association of Water Service Companies in the Danube River Catchment Area, and the International Sava River Basin Commission, the ICPDR is co-organized an online workshop on sewage sludge management.
The workshop set the scene on the situation, mapped trends, and above all raised awareness on this important, but thus far relatively neglected topic. This workshop was intended to kick off the discussion on sewage sludge management in the Danube Region and pave the way towards more in-depth policy and technological dialogue on this issue.
The highly informative event provided an opportunity to hear the latest developments from EU DG Environment experts regarding the evaluation process of the Sewage Sludge Directive and the revision of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, with 103 registered attendees representing 17 countries at the workshop.
Of heightened relevance due to the European Green Deal, the workshop highlighted the high energy content of sludge, and underlined the variation in relevant management across the Danube Region. Key messages taken away from the event included pleas for improvements to source control, resource efficiency, better sustainability, and sludge-drying reed beds. Find out more at www.danube-region.eu.
19th Standing Working Group Meeting of the ICPDR Successful Heads Online
ONLINE – 23rd-24th June 2021. The ICPDR held its 19th Standing Working Group Meeting online, once again due to the pandemic.
A variety of key issues were discussed over the course of the two-day meeting, uninterrupted by the switch to an online format. Topic ranged from expert group reports to fresh upcoming projects, drafting and consultation for the DRBMP & DFRMP Updates 2021 (see above), outputs from the ICPDR Hydropower Workshop held in March 2021, ongoing coordination of the Sturgeon Issue, and much else. The expert and task group reports included renewed focus on a myriad of projects, including the PM EG’s collaboration with EUSDR PA4, the FP EG’s appreciation of the DAREFFORT project, the RBM EG’s work with the DSTF on sturgeon conservation issues, the APC EG’s taking note of a successful test of the DRB’s AEWS (Accident Emergency Warning System), plus much else.
Despite shifting to an online format, the Standing Working Group delivered a focussed and lively series of fruitful discussions, demonstrating the resilience and focus of the ICPDR. The cooperation mechanisms in place were clearly shown to have withstood the challenges of the pandemic, and have boldly kept the ICPDR’s work between its contracting parties going strong in 2021.
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