Kopacki Rit in Croatia.  / ©: Mario Romulic


The Danube is the most international river basin in the world. It provides drinking water for 20 million people and is home to unique species like the ancient sturgeon and white pelican. Globally important wetlands like the Danube Delta and the Mura-Drava-Danube protected area are found here, the latter comparable in terms of biodiversity to rainforests.
However, over the past 150 years, the Danube basin and its wetlands have been much abused. The main threats to them are unsustainable flood management plans, navigation and hydropower. Moreover, dikes, dams and dredging have straightened large parts of the river. More than 80% of wetlands have been lost, and with them the services they provide, like flood protection, fuel and food.
WWF staff member Ivan Hristov, freshwater expert with Danube programme.

Our solutions

Policy work: We promote integrated river basin management, largely by participating in the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) and contributing to the Danube River Basin Management and Flood Management Plans. Within the EU Danube Strategy and the ICPDR, we work to incorporate WWF positions on wetlands, hydropower, navigation, water economics, flood mitigation and climate change into relevant policies. We also work to evaluate ecosystem services and promote policies and schemes that ensure sustainable economic development.

Wetland and floodplain protection and restoration: We undertake restoration activities and push decision makers to fulfill commitments to protect and restore wetlands, especially on the Lower Danube Green Corridor, the Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve, and under the Danube River Basins Management Plan.

Sustainable navigation: We promote environmentally-friendly approaches to navigation under the EU Trans-European Network for Transportation (TEN-T), in particular through the provision of WWF expertise and the promotion of participatory, fact-based planning processes.
Where we work: Our current focus is on the Drava River, the March-Thaya wetlands, the Lower Danube and the Danube Delta.


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