Public Consultation Process towards the 2021 Management Plans Updates
The ICPDR supports the active involvement of stakeholders and civil society on all levels of its work. Two of the most important plans to the ICPDR are the Danube River Basin Management Plan and the Flood Risk Management Plan, aiming to implement the legal requirements of WFD and FD, comprising strategic guiding plans for water management over the course of six years. Both are to be developed with a range of public consultation measures.
In its pursuit of sustainable transboundary river management and effective flood risk management and in the Danube River Basin, the ICPDR continues to improve and protect a high level of water quality throughout the region. All of this work began back in 1994 with the signing of the Danube River Protection Convention, but also includes the EU Water Framework Directive (2000) and the EU Floods Directive (2007).
As laid out in the objectives of the above, the ICPDR develops such plans at 6-year intervals: a River Basin Management Plan and the Flood Risk Management Plan for the Danube River Basin. These plans lie at the core of the ICPDR's central work programs, and as such, they should be developed with strong involvement of civil society and stakeholders from the beginning via public participation events such as workshops.
How This Consultation Works
This process of consultation follows the following timeline:
Consultation on the Proposed Schedule
- Dec 2018 – June 2019: Stakeholders are invited to comment on the proposed schedule for consultation activities – WFD & EFD: Public Participation Plan” schedule (IC 209 Revised);
- Fall 2019: Proposed schedule is revised in line with comments received;
- Dec 2019: Revised schedule for consultation is adopted.
Consultation on the SWMIs
Identifying the Significant Water Management Issues (SWMIs) is one of the key elements guiding the formulation of the DRBMP. Find out more about them here.
- May 2019 - Nov 2019: Interim overview of SWMIs is discussed within ICPDR expert and task groups;
- Dec 2019 – June 2020: Publication of the overview and public are invited to make comment;
- Autumn 2020: Revision of SWMIs overview;
- Dec 2020: Endorsement of the interim overview of revised SWMIs following revisions. This document is now available here.
Consultation on the Draft Plans
- Dec 2019 - Dec 2020: Preparation of the draft 3rd DRBMP and 2nd DFRMP prior to publication;
- March 2020: Publication of DFRMP Risk and Hazard maps;
- March 2021: Publication of draft 3rd DRBMP and 2nd DFRMP for public comment;
- March 2021 - Sept 2021: Collection of comments from the public;
- Sept 2021 - Dec 2021: Revision of draft 3rd DRBMP and 2nd DFRMP; comments are made available online in an up to date consultation report;
- Dec 2021: Endorsement and publication of the revised 3rd DRBMP and 2nd DFRMP.
After the publication of the draft DRBMP, a stakeholder workshop will be held to support the development of the plans. Through such a workshop, a larger and very focused group of people can get involved in the formalization of the 3rd DRBMP and the 2nd DFRMP. This will take place in 2021.
How To Send Us Your Comments
Individuals, public bodies, NGOs, and other interest groups to make comments on the schedule, draft plans, and other relevant documents relating to the 3rd DRBMP and the 2nd DFRMP. The public is invited to provide comments on this documents to the ICPDR Secretariat:
Why Public Participation?
Communities can become more meaningfully involved in the work of the ICPDR if they are well informed about its objectives and structure. Public information, educational initiatives and outreach activities are therefore already being utilised to support public participation, in addition to the more general use of social media as a communication tool. The ICPDR is currently engaged in the following public participation activities:
- public information dissemination. This includes social media posts, technical reports, public documents and general publications (e.g. Danube Watch);
- awareness-raising educational resources, including environmental education. This includes a variety of proposed new materials, awareness raising activities (e.g. the annual Danube Day festivities) and outreach;
- public consultation activities. These can be events such as Q&A sessions regarding the development of river basin management plans, and the opening of subject-related communication channels or consultation workshops. The use of ICPDR.org for publishing information about these issues is essential.
Acting early is also important. By ensuring buy-in and a sense of ownership in our target audience at an early stage of the process, any basin/sub-basin approach will stand a better chance of success. The benefits of early engagement in the development and design of our two plans and projects include:
- fewer misunderstandings, fewer delays and more effective implementation and monitoring;
- the resulting smoother running of a project can lead to more cost-effective solutions;
- all later decisions are more likely to receive public acceptance, commitment and support. Attitudes to the decision-making process will also be generally improved;
- increasing stakeholder awareness of the various issues in the related river basin district and sub-basins before environmental efforts become worse and thus harder to resolve;
- helping to normalise common discourse earlier in the implementation process.
How Public Participation Is Changing
The ICPDR is committed to active public participation in its decision making. The commission believes that this facilitates broader support for policies and leads to increased efficiency in the implementation of actions and programmes. Active consultation with stakeholders takes place throughout the entire cycle of all ICPDR activities, ranging from developing policies, to implementing measures and evaluating impacts. The legal framework for this is provided by Article 14 of the EU Water Framework Directive along with Articles 9 and 10 of the EU Floods Directive.
Working to a six-year working cycle, we updated our plans for the Danube River Basin Management Plan (DRBM) and Danube Flood Risk Management Plan (DFRM) in 2015. The update was accompanied by public consultation activities carried out in three main phases; we collected comments from the public during the update, asking them about the timetable and work programme, as well as water and flood management issues. These public consultations each spanned periods of at least six months, utilising the ICPDR network to gather and disseminate information. The resulting timetable and work programme was then published and made publicly accessible. Six years hence, it is now time to replicate this exercise.
Our planned update to proceedings in 2021 will follow on with this emboldened programme of public consultation, along with information initiatives aimed at keeping our stakeholders and the public well-informed. These include the Danube Day - celebrating everything about the river annually on 29th June - the publication of our in-house magazine, Danube Watch, three times a year and consultation workshops such as Voice of the Danube.
You can read more on this subject in an article published in Danube Watch in 2018.
Comments on the Draft DRBMP & FRMP 2021 (tba)
Comments will be available once the public consultation campaign has been launched. Meanwhile, several stakeholders - NGOs and other interest groups, but also public entities and private individuals - have made use of the opportunity to comment on the draft SWIMI Document. Below, you can download the original comments, which were received from the following entities:
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action created in 1992. As members of the LIFE family of the European Commission – and under LIFE's 2019 preparatory programme – the ICPDR is able to develop and disseminate the DRBMP & DFRMP Updates 2021.
The ICPCR would like to thank the LIFE programme for making the development of these vital plans possible, and for ensuring the public can be reached and informed in a transparent process, in-keeping with the requirements of the WFD & FD.