Danube Watch 1/2021 - Our Opinion – Our Danube: What Our Stakeholders Said
Our Opinion – Our Danube: What Our Stakeholders Said
One of the most important sections of this workshop came in the form of a series of nine statements from key stakeholders on the first day. As much as anything, the ICPDR is a family of organisations spanning a huge variety of interests in an aim to represent the public’s shared concerns for the Danube. These stakeholder statements are a key moment for some of our most valued participants to address the DRBMP and DFRMP Updates directly, and they were able to inform the remaining audience about their findings, their point of view regarding the relevant issues, and to look ahead to the next six years in the Danube River Basin. In general, the statements threw full support behind the steps being laid out by both the DRBMP and DFRMP – and as ever there is always room for future growth, and for the aims of future actions to get bolder, bigger, and better.
Irene Lucius of WWF-CEE
“We believe that the need and potential for river and wetland restoration is much higher than what is in the plan. More larger scale projects are possible and needed. The focus should divert to integrated solutions such as flood management, drought mitigation, water quality improvement, or biodiversity objectives.”
Gerd Frik of VGB Powertech e.V.
“There are still considerable knowledge deficits in the scientific basis of measures, monitoring, and best practices. In addition, there are also strategic deficits throughout the general European approach. Sound knowledge must be created in order to find sustainable measures and to implement them.”
Theresia Hacksteiner of the European Barge Union
“We welcome the integration with other sectors that will create synergies and avoid potential conflicts. The Inland Waterway Transport sector is ready to contribute to the consultations and intensify the discussions with the ICPDR stakeholders.”
Peter Gammeltoft of the Danube Sturgeon Task Force
“We think that the DRBMP update covers all relevant water management issues and provides impressive analysis in breadth and depth. It is an excellent umbrella for national plans. However, more commitment to action in particular in the area of sturgeon habitat restoration is much needed”.
Gerhard Nagl of the Danube Environmental Forum
“One of our goals is bringing back the beluga sturgeons...Our proposal is to use 20% of the recovery funds from the EU budget on biodiversity and ecosystems to meet the climate change goals. Out of those 20%, 10% should be used on river restoration.”
Cristina Sandu of the International Association for Danube Research (IAD)
“If climate targets are not met, according to the current climate models, dramatic changes will occur in summer by the end of the century. The most affected region will be the South-Eastern part of the Danube Basin, where, according to the worst-case scenario, the precipitation level is expected to decrease up to 30%, the temperature is projected to rise up to 7 degrees Celsius, and the Danube discharge is expected to decrease up to 75%. As nature is our main ally in the fight against the impact of climate change, nature-based solutions for adaptation to climate change need to be implemented urgently.”
Balázs Horváth of Priority Area 4 of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR PA 4)
“We at the Danube Strategy are able to give political support to fulfil the objectives of the river basin management plans. In the next EU financing period, it will be already visible that we have tried to help embedding the objectives into the EU financial programs so money can be better targeted.”
László Balatonyi of Priority Area 5 of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR PA 5)
“Flood risk management is also a significant topic for PA 5. In order to achieve a reduction of flood risk events, EUSDR PA 5 provides continuous support to the implementation of the DFRMP. We also support assessment of disaster risk, and civil protection activities in the Danube Region.”
Prof. Dr. Wolfram Mauser of Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich.
From a scientific point of view, Prof. Mauser urged the ICPDR and others to take assessments from outside of the water sector into account – particularly regarding changing demands upon water resources – before it becomes a real conflict of interest and consequences arise.