Navigation statement sailing ahead


ICPDR Danube Watch: Searching for heavy metals behind the Iron Gates

Danube Watch 3 2008

Navigation statement sailing ahead

A new project funded by the EU’s LIFENature programme is helping to improve habitat conditions for some of the most threatened plant and animal species in the Záhorie region.

In October 2007 a ‘Joint Statement on Inland Navigation and Environmental Sustainability in the Danube River Basin’ was created. The initiative was launched by the ICPDR, in cooperation with the Danube Navigation Commission and the International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC). On 29–30 January 2009, 70 representatives from ten Danube Basin countries and the European Commission (EC), as well as representatives from international and regional organisations, met again in Budapest to discuss achievements and how to improve the application of the Joint Statement in waterway projects.

Statements from the workshop highlighted the strong support for the implementation of the Joint Statement. Participants also stressed that any inland waterway transport project has a better chance of receiving environmental permits and international funding if it meets the Joint Statement principles and criteria, notably early integration of the EU environment protection objectives and other river-related development plans and projects. New projects, such as PLATINA, can help apply integrated planning.

Conclusions from the workshop indicated a need for close cooperation on transport projects at the national level. For the next steps, the EC, ICPDR and ISRBC will set up a reporting system on the status of bottleneck projects and the requirements for Joint Statement application. The next meeting will be held in February 2010 in Zagreb.

Alexander Zinke is a management consultant for environment based in Vienna, and is involved in water management and nature protection projects in the Danube Basin.