Danube + is an initiative of WWF and The Coca-Cola Company Europe Group, supported by the ICPDR.
“We want to keep the public informed about the natural values and threats to the Danube, and about the importance of the water stewardship work that is being done on the Danube today”, said Andreas Beckmann, Director of the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme.
“The Danube + website prompts the public to explore the river by navigating through a satellite map which has three types of objects: natural values, environmental issues and actions for a Living Danube. It also gives the public and other organizations the opportunity to share information about the river. It is our hope that this will become the largest Danube community out there”, Beckmann said.
“Water stewardship is key to building a sustainable business and communities. The Danube is a focal point for us in Europe as it is the lifeline for over 80 million people and a haven for biodiversity”, said Ulrike Sapiro, Environmental Sustainability Director, Coca-Cola Europe.
The river flows through 10 countries and four European capitals, and its drainage basin includes parts of 14 countries. An estimated 83 million people live in the Danube River Basin today and more than 20 million people depend directly on the Danube for their drinking water. Flowing 2,857 km from Germany’s Black Forest to the Danube Delta and into the Black Sea, the Danube is recognized by the European Commission as the “single most important non-oceanic body of water in Europe” and a “future central axis for the European Union”.
In addition, the Danube basin is home to a diverse system of natural habitats. Among these are Germany’s Black Forest, the Alps and Carpathian Mountains, the Hungarian Puszta Plains, the Bulgarian islands and the giant reed beds and marshes of the Danube Detla. These habitats are home to a rich and unique biological diversity and species. The Danube River Basin has more than 100 different species of fish – including five sturgeon species – and it is home to rare birds like the White Pelican, White Tailed Eagle and Black Stork.
The focus of WWF’s work in the Danube River Basin has been to demonstrate the benefits of restoring wetland systems - 80 percent have been lost and with them the most biologically productive areas and essential ecosystem services. WWF has provided guidance on how to restore wetlands throughout the Danube basin, as well as created critical habitats for the Danube‘s rich flora and fauna.