Danube communities benefit from a restoration partnership along the river
The Danube, which is the European Union’s longest river, has seen 80% of its floodplains and wetlands disappear over the past 150 years. Damage to the river has mainly been caused by diking, dredging and damming, which has taken place for a number of reasons including the need for hydroelectric power, shipping and to keep floodwaters at bay. While large sections of the Upper Danube in Austria and Germany have been regulated, the less developed areas of the Middle and Lower Danube and the Danube Delta feature a highly rich and unique biological diversity that has been lost in most other European river systems. Home to globally important flora and fauna, the river provides habitat for five sturgeon species, as well as rare birds like the white pelican, white tailed eagle and black stork. The floodplains of the Middle and Lower Danube are outstanding landscapes that provide multiple ecosystem services, such as water purification, pollution reduction, flood protection and support for socio-economic activities such as fishing and tourism.
By 2020, the Living Danube Partnership of WWF, TCCC and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River will increase the river capacity by the equivalent of 4,800 Olympic sized swimming pools (12 million m³) and restore over 7,422 football pitches worth of wetland habitat (53 km²). A grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation is supporting wetland restoration in six countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia).
The partnership of WWF and TCCC in the Danube River basin has already led to benefits for nature and people:
- With additional financial support from the EU, Liberty Island in Hungary was restored as a floodplain forest aiding the water supply of the cities of Pecs and Mohacs
- The partnership has inspired regional WWF-TCCC wetland restoration projects at two sites in Serbia and Croatia near the confluence of the Drava and Danube rivers; both sites restored areas of the Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve – the first five-country Transboundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the world and the largest riverine protected area in Europe
- The partnership has supported cooperation between the most important protected areas along the Danube to improve management practices for protection of biodiversity, water quality, and supply through the formation of the Danube Network of Protected Areas (DNRPA).
- The partnership supported the DNRPA’s Serbian site, Gornje Podunavlje, through development of management plans and wetland revitalization efforts
- The partnership contributed to efforts by key stakeholders, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Iron Gates Dam operators and the Romanian and Serbian governments to undertake a feasibility study for a sturgeon fish passage through the Iron Gates Dams.
- The Living Danube Tour has already made more than 50 stops in Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Serbia raising awareness around freshwater conservation
Learn more about the Living Danube Tour and test your knowledge using our online quiz at http://panda.org/livingdanube
For more information:
Konstantin Ivanov, WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme, +359 884 514 636, firstname.lastname@example.org
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption (www.panda.org/dcpo).
WWF's The Green Heart of Europe initiative across 12 countries in Central and Eastern Europe aims to save and protect the five natural riches of the region – forests, wilderness, large carnivores, rivers and wetlands, and the Danube sturgeon.
The Coca-Cola Company has been an important partner in supporting WWF’s conservation work. In 2007, we announced a transformational partnership to conserve freshwater resources throughout the world and make meaningful changes to TCCC’s business. The first phase of the partnership ran from January 1, 2007 (announced publicly on June 5, 2007) through December 31, 2012.
The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company. Since its inception in 1984, The Foundation has awarded $675 million to support sustainable community initiatives worldwide, including replenishing water, empowering women, and enhancing the well-being of people and communities.
About the Coca-Cola Company and WWF
Since 2007, The Coca-Cola Company and WWF have worked together to conserve and protect freshwater resources around the world while helping to improve the efficiency of Coca-Cola’s global operations. To date, the partnership has led to major conservation gains, including helping to improve the ecological health of seven of the world’s most important freshwater basins across five continents, helping improve the Coca-Cola system’s water efficiency by 20 percent, working to prevent 5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions across Coca-Cola’s global manufacturing operations, and promoting more sustainable agricultural practices in the Company’s supply chain.