Danube river: Solutions

Our work over the last few years

In 2000 WWF facilitated a heads of state summit of basin governments. They pledged to protect and restore 600,000 ha to establish a 'Lower Danube Green Corridor' of restored riparian lands for nature conservation, water quality improvement, better flood management, and development of sustainable livelihoods for local people.

Progress in implementing this commitment has been slow. It is likely, however, that had the pledged restoration been implemented, the floodplains would have mitigated the 2006 lower Danube floods by holding and safely releasing the water.

In 2003, WWF completed the official 'Danube River Basin Public Participation Strategy', to contribute towards the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive in the basin.

Floodplain restoration, watershed management and flood warning and evacuation systems allow rivers to continue to provide natural benefits, and are much less expensive than the physically intensive modifications.

WWF has also begun a public consultation process for the restoration of the river beds of the Danube tributaries in Bulgaria. Following meetings between WWF and the Odessa Oblast Environmental Commission, a Task Force for "cooperation with the Partners for Wetlands project in Ukraine" was initiated and signed by the Odessa Oblast Governor to implement model wetland restoration projects.

Due partly to WWF's efforts, removal of a flood levee bank restored 750 ha of Tataru Island, and in spring 2005 a colony of protected Pygmy Cormorants established on the island. A coalition of WWF, other NGOs, Romania and other government partners also secured the Austrian-Czech-Slovak trilateral protected area which later received the Ramsar Convention Award in 2002.

As a result of international pressure including the European Commission-led, fact-finding mission (initiated by WWF) and the change in Ukrainian government, the construction of the Bystroye Canal stopped temporarily pending further environmental, social and economic impact assessment.

In 2005, WWF's Danube-Carpathian Programme created a "black list" of navigation projects along the Danube proposed by the Trans- European Networks for Transport (TENT). WWF is lobbying for a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and coordination between the European Commission’s Directorate of Environment and Directorate of Transport & Energy on navigation projects.

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