You are opening the last printed issue of Danube Watch, which accompanied the birth, childhood, and development of the ICPDR becoming one of the most successful and inspirational river basin commissions in the world for almost thirty years.
I have witnessed the growth in Danube Watch’s quality, readership’s interest, and impact it’s made on the cooperation of Danube countries, their accomplishment in addressing key challenges of the Danube River Basin and progress towards broader management and political objectives, e.g., EU accession.
So, over all these years Danube Watch has been an excellent companion of the ICPDR by disseminating information, news, interesting stories from the entire Danube River Basin and contributing to the shared spirit of passion for the Danube both within and well far away from the Basin. The publication of Danube Watch pretty much covered the entire period of my engagement with the ICPDR in a variety of positions.
I am proud of all ICPDR activities and results, such as the TransNational Monitoring Network – which provides accurate scientifically sound data on the water quality of the Danube and its key tributaries – wastewater management improvement in cooperation with the World Bank, the improvement of safety in Tailings Management Facilities, successful cooperation with both the hydropower and inland navigation sectors, and so much more.
Two key projects, however, truly stand out. Firstly, the pivot on making the Danube passable for migratory fish species, in particular Sturgeon, through the Iron Gates dams with indispensable support from the EU in the form of ‘We Pass’. Additionally, our regular campaign of scientific excellence and innovation in understanding the status of Danube waters, morphology and biota: the Joint Danube Surveys. These are cornerstones of the ICPDR’s status as a global role model for efficient and result-bearing cooperation – and Danube Watch has tremendously contributed to making these successes known around the world.
I’m also delighted to have seen the ICPDR successfully rise to challenge of a new era for organisations such as ours, embracing rapid digital change, social media’s advent and other innovative new forms of dissemination. I’m proud to say that under my watch, we’ve become an active player in this realm via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Quite soon, by midsummer of 2022, I will leave my last professional engagements in my role as Executive Secretary of the ICPDR, a position I’ve had the privilege to hold for nine years. Here at the end of my tenure, I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to assist and to support hundreds of outstanding experts from all 14 Danube Countries and the European Commission, in their commitment to deliver state of the art expertise, engaging ICPDR activities, and communications deliverables. I wish to acknowledge my colleagues throughout the Danube River Basin, who, in addition to their regular hard work in national institutes and administrations, go above and beyond, devoting their time to the ICPDR.