Sustainable navigation

Dredger and pelicans in the Danube Delta.
© Anton Vorauer

Living river or transport corridor?

Current plans for developing navigation on the Danube disregard many of the river's other uses and benefits. Navigation has been and always will be one of the main human uses of the Danube River and its many tributaries, but it is not the only one.

According to the authoritative Danube River Basin Analysis 2004, developed by the Vienna-based International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) and Danube member states, navigation has regrettably been one of if not the greatest causes of environmental degradation on the Danube, mainly due to activities that have deepened, dammed or straightened the river.

A number of future navigation projects in several riparian countries could cause further environmental damage to the Danube, especially to the river's last free-flowing (non-dammed) sections.

Further damage to the river's natural areas could have far-reaching impacts, including intensifying flooding -- which has already been increasing in frequency and intensity in recent years -- and creating obstruction's in the migration routes of unique Danube species, including sturgeon.

Development of transportation on the Danube must take into account the myriad of other uses, benefits and services that the river provides, from fishing, rest and recreation to flood mitigation in wetlands and biological diversity.

The Danube must remain a living river, not just a transport corridor.

Transport plans for the Danube

As part of its Trans-European Network for Transportation, the EU has identified the Danube as one of the key transportation arteries for Europe.

The EU plans call for removing a series of "bottlenecks" to shipping along the river -- areas that also happen to be the most valuable natural areas on the river.

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 / ©: DCP
Fit the ships to the river, not the river to the ships

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