National and regional story (Romania) - How do implementation the Danube River Protection Convention
Danube River Basin , water management
Implementation of the Danube River Protection Convention — the best success story in international water management
The Danube River Basin is Europe's second-largest river basin and the world's most international river basin as it includes the territories of 19 countries. Within the basin, countries have a large variety of social and economic conditions starting from very developed (Germany, Austria) to developing economies (Republic of Moldova, Ukraine). For a long period of time, this basin was shared by two economic systems divided by the Iron Curtain.
omania is the largest country in the Danube Basin, both from the surface and population point of view, and, therefore, has a significant impact on the river. Moreover, the Danube discharges its waters into the Black Sea through the Danube Delta which is largely located in Romania.
However, the targets for the protection of the River Danube and the Black Sea are very much influenced by what happens upstream and, therefore, Romania is very interested in strong cooperation on all the aspects related to water management of the Danube and its basin.
The ecosystems of the Danube River Basin are highly valuable in environmental terms and support a large number of economic and social activities. Therefore, on 29 June 1994, the Convention on Cooperation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the River Danube (Danube River Protection Convention)was signedin Sofia.The main objectives of this Convention are:
- the conservation, improvement and rational use of surface waters and groundwater;
- preventive measures to control hazards originating from accidents involving floods, ice or hazardous substances;
- measures to reduce the pollution loads entering the Black Sea from sources in the Danube River Basin.
During more than 15 years of existence, the ICPDR has established a number of products and tools which support joint activities and sustainable development.
One of the most important early achievements was the Transnational Monitoring Network (TNMN), managed by the ICPDR on the basis of national monitoring stations. This provides information on the ecological and chemical status of Danube basin waters. The information in this monitoring system has been reinforced by two Joint Danube Surveys which have been carried outin six-year cycles. An Accident Early Warning System has been established to notify the downstream countries in the event of a pollution accident.
A large GIS database on sources of pollution and environmental factors affecting water has been developed, including data on all wastewater treatment facilities in the region and information on structures in the river — dams, weirs, etc.
But the most important achievement inthis cooperation is the Danube River Basin Management Plan (DRBMP), adopted at a Ministerial meeting in February 2010. This is a comprehensive plan, required by the WFD, for improving and maintaining water quality. The DRBMP provides specificinformation on the status of water in the Danube as well as a detailed list of actions needed to achieve ‘good status’ by 2015.
The DRBMP is complemented by the Danube Flood Action Programme prepared by the ICPDR which mandated the preparation of sub-basin plans for flood risk management. These plans are a further essential element of environmental protection and require strong support to ensure that the damage to human life and property that has resulted from floods is minimised. A component of this is a major project currently underway to develop a uniform flood risk mapping scheme for the Danube.
Beside these targeted actions, the ICPDR has reinforced a successful awareness-raising activity for citizens of the Danube Basin, including the yearly celebration of Danube Day on 29 June, and the creation of the Danube Box, an education kit for teachers prepared together with corporate supporters. This has both demonstrated the possibilities of cooperation with business in supporting the goals of an improved environment and engaged thousands of students in learning about the Danube.
Based on these outstanding results, the cooperation within the Danube River Basin will continue to be strengthened in order to bring its contribution to further challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, and to play an important role in future initiatives such as the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.
Despite differences between the partners, all the countries involved are determined to maintain this cooperation at the highest standards and to remain the worldwide front runners in the international cooperation for water management.
Further information is available online (www.icpdr.org).