Joint Statement: Navigation & Environment

Content pages

In October 2007, a "Joint Statement on Inland Navigation and Environmental Sustainability in the Danube River Basin" was concluded and very positively received by stakeholders. In the years that followed, the responsible government authorities and interest groups met again to discuss the progress achieved so far and how to improve the application of the Joint Statement in waterway projects. These meetings continue.

Close up of lifebuoy on boat

The Joint Statement initiative was launched in 2007 by the ICPDR in cooperation with the Danube Commission and the International Sava Commission. 

The overall goal was to develop and commit to a “Joint Statement on Guiding Principles for the Development of Inland Navigation and Environmental Protection in the Danube River Basin”. This was achieved in autumn 2007.

Inland navigation can contribute to making transport more environmentally sustainable, particularly where it substitutes for road transport. It can, however, also have significant influence on river ecosystems, jeopardizing the goals of the EU Water Framework Directive, which aims for the “good ecological status” of all waters by 2015.

Economic growth is linked to investments in infrastructure; to improve the cross-country transportation, the European Commission has therefore developed the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) with guidelines and financing for Pan-European road, rail, air and waterway transportation corridors. The Danube has been identified as Corridor VII.

Next Steps

Recognising this potential conflict, the ICPDR has linked up with the Danube Commission, and the International Commission for the Protection of the Sava River Basin to initiate an intense, cross-sectoral discussion process, which led to a `Joint Statement on Guiding Principles on the Development of Inland Navigation and Environmental in the Danube River Basin´.

The Joint Statement summarises principles and criteria for environmentally sustainable inland navigation on the Danube and its tributaries, including the maintenance of existing waterways and the development of future waterway infrastructure. The `Joint Statement´ is a guiding document

  • for the development of the `Programme of Measures´ requested by the EU Water Framework Directive,
  • for the maintenance of the current inland navigation,
  • for the planning and the investments in future infrastructure and environmental protection projects.

The process was conducted in 2007 with several meetings of the partners. The final document was adopted by the ICPDR and the Danube Commission in December 2007 and by the Interational Commission for the Protection of Sava River Basin in January 2008.

Danube Navigation Dialogue

This cross-sector agreement was very positively received by participating and observing stakeholders. On 29-30 January 2009, the wide range of responsible government authorities and interest groups had met again in Budapest. Since then, key actors in navigation and environment have met in annual follow-up meetings.

The Statement and its annexes can be found below in English and in Bosnian, Croatian, French, German, Hungarian, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Romanian and Ukrainian languages.