“In 2014, we are going to celebrate to 20th anniversary of signing the Danube River Protection Convention in Sofia”, says Deputy Minister Atanas Kostadinov. The ICPDR Contracting Parties have achieved significant results on a wide range of water management issues during the past two decades, as the new president highlights, such as the 1st Danube River Basin Management Plan or the Flood Action Program, soon to be followed the Flood Risk Management Plan. Maintaining a focus on these activities are what the presidency means with “continuity”.
The “coherence” relates to initiatives that allow for synergies with the ICPDR: “ The ICPDR’s priorities are a solid basis for achieving objectives of priority areas in the environment pillar of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region”, explains Kostadinov. “The Bulgarian Presidency of the ICPDR will work for improved coordination and clear relationship mechanisms between the Danube Strategy’s water related priority areas and the ICPDR.” Coherence, however, can only be achieved through the third objective of the presidency – cooperation.
Looking at cooperation, Kostadinov underlines the ample experience of the ICPDR in trans-boundary water management and the value of knowledge transfers – and he identifies the Black Sea as a key-region for cooperation. As an EU member state, a Danube and a Black Sea country, Bulgaria will be ideal for facilitating cooperation between the ICPDR and the International Commission for the Protection of the Black Sea: “Having in mind that the reduction of pollution to the Black Sea is among the objectives of the Danube River Protection Convention, we are fully conscious of our responsibility for improved coordination, two-way communication and result-oriented activities of the two commissions with respect to strategic water related issues as well as for the implementation of relevant EU Directives in the Danube and the Black Sea region.”
Kostadinov is aware of the challenges in pursuing these objectives in the relatively short period of a presidency, but he explains: “Having in mind that Bulgaria will chair the Black Sea Commission in 2015, I would like to assure you that Bulgaria will continue to work for improved Danube-Black Sea cooperation during that chairmanship as well.”
The territory of Bulgaria is 110,912 square kilometres. The country is characterized by rich diversity in morphological, geological, geomorphological, hydro-climatic and soil-biogenic aspects.