ICPDR Goodwill Ambassadors: Messengers of the Danube

The first two "ICPDR Goodwill Ambassadors" are Dr. Wolfgang Stalzer of Austria and Dr. Fritz Holzwarth of Germany. Goodwill Ambassadors will represent the ICPDR in ceremonial occasions upon approval by the Commission, travel on behalf of the ICPDR and represent the ICPDR upon approval by the Commission, and bear the "ICPDR Ambassador" pin as an emblem of their office.

The new honorary function was established by the ICPDR Ordinary Meeting last December, and now sees its first two dignatories in this role with the approaching retirement of Mr Holzwarth, as the commission has defined three criteria for the selection of "ICPDR Goodwill Ambassadors": they must have retired from civil service, served their country as Head of Delegation to the ICPDR for at least six years and acted as ICPDR President. In addition to these three formal criteria, the commission stated that "distinguished benefactors of the ICPDR who contributed substantially to the evolution of the commission should be awarded an 'ICPDR Goodwill Ambassador' status as a sign of gratitude".

Dr. Wolfgang Stalzer is a Senior Expert for River Basin and Water Management in cooperation with the ICPDR since 2006, when he retired as General Director of the Water Management Division in the Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management.

He is the only ICPDR President who served the commission in this function twice: as the first ICPDR President after the establishment of the Secretariat in 1998 and for a second “term” in 2012. From 1999 to 2006, Mr Stalzer was also head of the Austrian Delegation to the ICPDR. Since 1982 he is a Visiting Professor at the University of Natural Resources (BOKU) in Vienna with lectures on selected chapters on water protection and water management.

In 1989, Mr. Stalzer joined the Water Management Division in today’s Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management and become General Director of the Water Management Division in 1992. In this role, Mr. Stalzer also served as Head of several Austrian delegations of bilateral and multilateral water commissions and was Austrian EU-Water Director from 1995 until his retirement.

Previously to his work on the federal and international level, Mr. Stalzer had worked for the water authority of the Burgenland, Austria’s eastern-most province, and obtained his degrees at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna Water Management Branch, and the Technical University Vienna, Faculty for Civil Engineering, where he pursued his doctorate in the field of wastewater treatment and water protection.

Dr. Fritz Holzwarth will retire as Head of Directorate for Water Management in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety later this month. Mr. Holzwarth was appointed Deputy Director General for Water-Management in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in 1991.

He is Head of the German Delegation not only to the ICPDR, but also the Baltic Marine Environment Commission (HELCOM), Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR). He acted as President for the ICPDR in 2003, for the International Commissions for the Protection of the Rhine (2004-2007), as well as River Elbe (2008-2010).

He is advisory board member of the European Water Partnership, WATCH (Water and Global Change), the Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics, Cologne University of Applied Sciences, a member of the supervisory board of the Helmholtz-Center Geesthacht, member of the board of trustees of the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology, and member of the international steering committee of Great Rivers Partnership (GRP).

Together with the World Bank, Mr. Holzwarth was one of the initiators of the “Petersberg Process on Transboundary Water Management”, a global initiative, a key example for one of many significant transboundary water cooperation initiatives to which Mr. Holzwarth contributed substantially. In his position as German Water Director he has been actively involved in developing the Water Framework Directive, the Marine Strategy Directive and other water-related regulations. With the EU-Commission and the Joint Research Centre, he initiated the discussion process on Climate Change and the European Water Dimension and chaired a conference on climate change and water during the German  EU presidency in 2007.

Mr. Holzwarth studied Economics, Law and Political Science at the University of Freiburg/Breisgau and holds a Diploma (1977) and Ph.D. (1984) in Economics and a Diploma in Business Administration (1973) from the College of Economics, Pforzheim.

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