The waters of the Danube cross more than just political boundaries – they cross overlapping interests. The ICPDR’s program of stakeholder dialogues have been vital in bringing these sometimes conflicting interests together for everyone’s benefit.
A transport mode such as inland navigation can help make transport more sustainable, especially when it replaces road transport. And the Danube plays a crucial role as the backbone of the European economic area as a mode of transport and transport network. However, navigation can also have a significant impact on river ecosystems, jeopardizing the goals of achieving good ecological status of the basin’s waters. To address this potential conflict of interests, the ICPDR, together with the Danube Commission and the International Commission for the Protection of the Sava River Basin, created an intense cross-sectoral discussion between all stakeholders. The result is the Joint Statement on Inland Navigation and Environmental Sustainability in the Danube River Basin concluded in October 2007, which offers
- Benchmarks for environmentally sustainable inland navigation
- Guidelines for the maintenance of existing waterways and
- Standards for the development of future infrastructure projects
The 9th meeting following the Joint Statement aimed to inform about progress on the implementation of the Joint Statement on Guiding Principles on the Development of Inland Navigation and Environmental Protection in the Danube River Basin, discuss challenges and solutions in relation to the practical application of the integrated planning approach and learn from the lessons of this join initiative. The workshop also provided a platform for information and discussion on new facts and perspectives of European inland waterway transport, including the EU Danube Strategy. Such meetings ensure regular information exchange and presentation of new initiatives and are a clear illustration of the fact that the environment and economic interests do not have to be mutually exclusive, but - on the contrary - can complement each other optimally.
The Joint Statement workshop followed the Danube Awareness Day held on 13 September organised jointly organised by the Austria waterway company viadonau in the framework of the Austrian EU Council Presidency. The main purpose of the meeting was to present and discuss good practices in waterway management that allow an equilibrium between good ecological and good navigation status.
Read more here about the Joint Statement.
Source and Editorial: ICPDR, Photo credits: ©ICPDR