Ukraine Takes Over Presidency of ICPDR

Ukraine takes over the Presidency of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) for the year 2011 at the United Nations’ Vienna International Centre as of January 19. The Head of the Delegation of Ukraine to the ICPDR and Ambassador at Large of the Ukrainian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Mykola Melenevskyi, will serve as President and guide the activities of the ICPDR.

“The Ukrainian Presidency will focus on key issues necessary for ensuring sustainable development of the Danube Region,” says Mr. Melenevskyi, “Close collaboration of all Danube countries will be necessary to make this happen.” The ministers of the environment of Slovenia and Austria, Roko Žarnić and Nikolaus Berlakovich, will attend the handover ceremony to emphasise that the presidency will be supported by a troika of countries.

The new President highlights three areas of particular importance: firstly, the adoption of the integrated Tisza River Basin Management Plan will be a milestone for the ICPDR. The management plan of this important Danube sub-basin will be the result of years of preparatory work and is due in the course of the year. A ministerial meeting of the Tisza basin countries will be hosted in Uzhgorod in April 2011. Secondly, Mr. Melenevskyi wants to use his presidency to dedicate increased attention to the implementation of the Danube River Basin Management Plan (DRBMP) in specific areas, such as the Prut-Siret basin and  the Danube Delta. Thirdly, expert group meetings of the ICPDR dealing with issues such as river basin management or ground water and other events will be hosted in Ukraine.

Of importance will also be the EU Danube Strategy, which was developed under the leadership of the European Commission. The goal of this strategy is to ensure socio-economic development of the region without jeopardizing the ecological values for the future. It falls within the responsibility of the ICPDR to ensure that sustainable management of the Danube and its tributaries is taken into account, as Mr. Melenevskyi emphasises. The ICPDR can play a valuable role in the implementation of the strategy, as it involves not only EU member states, but equally all countries with a significant share of the Danube catchment area.

The ICPDR Presidency rotates annually among the Contracting Parties of the Danube River Protection Convention. Ukraine follows Slovenia and will be succeeded by Austria in 2012.

Key Objectives of the Presidency:
- Implementation of the Danube River Basin Management Plan
- Adoption of the Integrated Tisza River Basin Management Plan and a Ministerial meeting hosted in Kyiv in the first half of the year
- Finalization of the Sub-basin River Management Plan for Danube Delta
- special attention to strengthening an international Danube Delta cooperation under the auspices of the ICPDR in order to achieve a good ecological status of Danube Delta
- finalizing an Integrated Management Plan of the Danube Delta with new funding from the UNECE in 2011
- Initializing preparation of the sub-basin river basin management plans for the rivers Prut and Siret
- active involvement of the ICPDR into the process of the preparation and further implementation of the activities under the EU Danube Strategy with consideration to the interests of all riparian countries, especially Non-EU countries

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