The development of the guiding priciples is based on activities launched in 2011 and is building on the achievements of a similar process on Inland Navigation. The aim is to get the right balance between economic and environmental needs and an agreement on how to address problems of existing hydropower, respectively to establish guidance for where and how to develop hydropower in the future.
The three “Lead Countries” Austria, Romania and Slovenia committed to take a stronger role within the frame of the ICPDR in order to steer the process of the development of the Guiding Principles. This work was supported by a “Team of Experts” with participation of representatives from energy and environmental administrations, the European Commission, Energy Community, sector representatives as well as environmental interest groups and the scientific community.
In the course of a number of meetings and workshops, an Assessment Report and a collection of Case Studies and Good Practice Examples were elaborated, accompanying the Guiding Principles which were finalised and adopted by the Danube countries in June 2013.
The “Guiding Principles” are primarily addressed to public bodies and competent authorities responsible for the planning and authorization of hydropower. This includes in particular bodies on the national, regional and local level in charge of energy, environment and water management. Furthermore they also provide relevant information for potential investors in the hydropower sector as well as NGOs and the interested public.
Following a request by the Danube Ministerial Conference 2010, the ICPDR has become active in initiating a dialogue with representatives from the hydropower sector. As an essential step in this process, "Guiding Principles on Sustainable Hydropower Development in the Danube Basin" have been developed by an interdisciplinary team and were finalised and adopted in June 2013.