Danube Watch 3/2020 - News and Events

ICPDR's Ordinary Meeting Held Despite Pandemic

On the 15th and 16th of December, 2020 – The annual Ordinary Meeting took place this year with many vital topics addressed by those in virtual attendance.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the 23rd ICPDR Ordinary Meeting was held via an online Zoom conference with all contracting Parties able to attend the meeting. The Chairpersons of the RBM EG, FP EG, MA EG, PM EG, IMGIS EG, APC EG, PP EG and ad hoc S EG also participated. Many of the accredited observers attended the online meeting as well.

The Session was particularly devoted to the budgetary situation and ICPDR administration, discussion on the work of the Expert Groups, the preparation of the Danube Flood Risk Management Plan Update 2021 and the Danube River Basin Management Plan Update 2021 (see more on page 5) and international cooperation, partnerships and projects.

This year's Ordinary Meeting showed that even in extenuating circumstances, the work of the ICPDR will not be put on hold. It also continued to highlight a central concept of 2020: we can achieve a great deal digitally that would otherwise have been done in person.

Danube Art Master 2020 Winners Announced During ICPDR's Annual Ordinary Meeting

VIENNA, 16th of December, 2020 – The environmental Art competition, “Danube Art Master” is delighted to have received a surprisingly large number of artworks submitted in 2020, despite taking place under truly exceptional circumstances.

In the “Art” category, “Laubfisch” (Fish Made of Leaves) by the 3b class of Pestalozzistraße Primary School in Ingolstadt, Germany (Juniors); “U zagrlјaju Dunava” (In the Embrace of the Danube) by the 7th and 8th graders of Stefan Nemanja Elementary School in Niš, Serbia (Teens).

In the “Video” category, Serbia’s winning video, “Dunavski ekosistemi” (Danube Ecosystems) was made by Jacopo Marazzi and Ilija Marazzi from Belgrade (Juniors); Simona Petrova and Eva Marinova from the IX. class of Prof. Dr. Assen Zlatarov Vocational School in Vidin, Bulgaria won the best video with “The Danube River” (Teens).

In the “Map” category, “Impreuna pentru dunare” (Together for the Danube) by Maria-Delia Dima from Paul Bujor Elementary School in Berești, Romania (Juniors) and “Prut River - Treasure of Moldova” by Iasmina Costileanu from Mihai Eminescu High School in Cahul, Moldova (Teens) were the winning selections.

A special COVID category rewarded contestants from countries in which the pandemic was so bad they could not participate in DAM 2020 as they otherwise would have. In this category, the video “Danes za lepši jutri” (Today for a Better Tomorrow) made by 7th graders Žana Bartolj and Ajda Jamšek of Tržišče Elementary School in Slovenia, received the most points from the international jury. .

Rural Wastewater Workshop: Beyond Utility Reach?

On the 19th and 20th of January, 2021, the ICPDR co-hosted an online workshop on rural wastewater management with the World Bank and the Danube Water Program.

For most of the countries in the Danube region, managing wastewater remains an important challenge to reach water resources protection targets, especially in the context of EU accession and harmonisation processes. In many rural communities of the Danube region, adequate sewage collection systems and treatment facilities remain a critical issue often caused by the lack of financial, technical and staff resources. The lack of awareness in Danubian society is another additional issue. However, Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underlines commitments to achieving universal access to water services for all by 2030.

This workshop followed up on several initiatives related to rural wastewater management in the Danube Region, under the auspices of the World Bank, Danube Water Program and the ICPDR. It aimed to contribute to understanding and awareness of this issue, and to create an enabling framework for sustainable and decentralised solutions for wastewater treatment in rural areas. The workshop focused on issues of wastewater management in smaller agglomerations, with an emphasis on decentralised sanitation and wastewater treatment systems in rural areas, and individual and low cost solutions. It brought together policy makers, government and utility representatives, academia, consultants and international institutions engaged in field of rural wastewater.

ICPDR Ready for First Fully Online Public Consultation Process

Following the 23rd ICPDR Ordinary Meeting on the 15th and 16th of December, 2020, the updates to the Danube River Basin Management Plan (DRBMP) and Danube Flood Risk Management Plan (DFRMP) scheduled for 2021 are continuing.

The drafts of the DRBMP and DFRMP 2021 updates submitted for approval to the Contracting Parties via written procedure were ready for publication for the 31st of March, 2021 deadline.

This signaled the launch of the all-important public consultation process. This process will span a six-month period, coming to a close in September, 2021. During this time, the public will have a variety of opportunities to give comments and offer observations on the nature and specific text of the DRBMP and DFRMP updates.

  • Firstly, the public will be able to get in touch via a dedicated email address: wfd-fd@icpdr.org.
  • Secondly, the public will be invited to fill in an online questionnaire offering their insights into some of the key sections of both plan updates.
  • Thirdly, the Our Opinion - Our Danube public consultation event will take place on 29-30th June 2021.
While the event was initially planned as an in-person event to be held in Budapest in Spring 2021, current pandemic circumstances have necessitated a shift to the virtual sphere. This means that Our Opinion - Our Danube 2021 will be the first online event for public consultation of the DRBMP and DFRMP updates, potentially enabling a broader audience than ever to let themselves be heard.

 

Next: Danube Watch 3/2020 - Copernicus and the Power of Knowledge

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