Danube Watch 3/2018 - Stakeholders’ Forum – Improving performance through mutual respect and a common vision

T he Stakeholders’ Forum is a concept established to ensure transparency in project management and is recognised throughout all the Danube riparian countries. In Serbia it was originally incorporated into the project “Preparation of Documentation for River Training and Dredging Works on Critical Sectors of the Danube River in Serbia”, a 100% EU funded project implemented during the period 2011-2014.

The successor to this project, “River Training and Dredging Works on Critical Sectors on the Danube River and Supervision and Environmental Monitoring of River Training and Dredging Works on Critical Sectors on the Danube River”, will ensure the continuity of the Stakeholders’ Forum. It also aims to maintain the good practice measures from the previous project and the long-term orientation of the Directorate for Inland Waterways, as the End Recipient of the Project.

This project kicked off in 2017 with the signing of two contracts between the Serbian government, the Spanish engineering consultancy firm, ACCIONA lngeniería S.A as service contractor, the consortium Agromah Ltd, Regulacije Ltd and Kolubara Ltd acting as the works contractor. The Project is 85% financed by EU funding and is co-funded by the Republic of Serbia. The overall objective of this project is to improve navigation conditions on the Danube River in accordance with the national policy and strategy provisions. This is also in accordance with the Danube Commission’s recommendations and the EU transport system development plans designed to ensure fast, safe, reliable and environmentally friendly transportation, the smooth flow of freight and mobility of people. To achieve this ambitious objective, dredging and river training measures have been designed for six critical sectors for navigation on the Danube River between Backa Palanka and Belgrade. This will involve the construction of three river structures and dredging at five critical navigational sectors.

The project promotes interconnectivity between different expert areas and various institutions and organisations are welcome to participate as Stakeholder Forum members and observers. Most of the rules of the organisation and work of the Forum have been retained from the first forum as a method of recording liaisons between the Forum results, along with the exchange and dissemination of opinions on the overall project development.

The basic principles on which the Forum is established include voluntary, free membership, mutual acknowledgment and respect of the different standpoints of the other Forum members, and full transparency of the work being implemented. The Stakeholders’ Forum is a multidisciplinary body in which different interests are represented, including water management, environmental and nature protection, hydrotechnology, industry, archaeology, fishing and poultry. Members of this advisory body include the ICPDR, the Institute for Nature Protection of Vojvodina, WWF, Aqua et Archaeologia, the Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia and the United Fishermen of Serbia. A number of observers also take part in Forum meetings, including the relevant Serbian ministries and other governmental institutions interested in the project, international river commissions, waterway administrations from other Danube countries, as well as NGOs which are not members of the Forum.

All Forum documents are prepared and distributed in both Serbian and English to reflect the wider importance of the work of the Forum and are available on the Plovputs’ website (www.plovput.gov.rs/forum-zainteresovanih-strana), along with other information. The website is constantly updated in order to keep all stakeholders up to date with the newest outputs of the project development and to ensure the transparency of completion of objectives.

The chairperson for the Forum is a representative from Plovput, whose role is to ensure that all Forum members receive equal treatment and is also responsible for all aspects of the organisation of Forum meetings. The chairperson is also a link between Forum members and the consultants, thereby ensuring the proper flow of information between them. Forum members have the right to raise specific questions, as well as to make recommendations for further investigations and more detailed analysis of different issues that could emerge during the project’s implementation.

Two meetings were held during the period of March to May 2018, whereby all Forum participants contributed to the exchange of experiential and expert opinions. Since most of them also dealt with the implementation of the preparation phase of this project, their involvement is of great significance in enabling the continuous process of implementation of a two-phased project.

It is hoped that the Forum’s role will increase as an interactive component and that its advisory role will unlock new perspectives for a number of methodological measures that will hopefully improve supervision and environmental monitoring procedures, as well as streamlining the implementation of compensatory measures, in accordance with defined procedures.

The possibility to see the project development at first hand will certainly be the subject of upcoming meetings, with multilevel participation of both Forum members and observers resulting in a unified project for a unified river.

Milica Gacic, MSc., GIS administrator Directorate for Inland Waterways Plovput, Republic of Serbia

Jasna Muskatirovic, PhD, Head of Department Directorate for Inland Waterways Plovput, Republic of Serbia

Ivan Mitrovic, M.Sc., Head of Division Directorate for Inland Waterways Plovput, Republic of Serbia

For more information about the Stakeholders’ Forum and Project progress, please visit Plovput’ official web site: www.plovput.gov.rs

Next: Danube Watch 3/2018 - The Joint Danube Survey

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