Plenty to celebrate but more to do as 19 nations mark Danube Day
But now, as the 83 million people in the basin of the world’s most international river prepare to celebrate Danube Day, there is plenty to celebrate - the Blue Danube is on the way back, thanks to an impressive display of multilateral cooperation by the 19 Danube basin nations.
And while the water is becoming more blue, the banks are becoming more green, with world leading programs to restore wetlands and floodplains that keep the river healthy, provide natural and more effective flood mitigation, boost recreational use of the river and are playing a big part in bringing back threatened wildlife.
While the Danube boasts one of the world’s key examples of river basin cooperation and some of the leading global projects in river restoration, there is still some way to go on the path to a healthy river able to face the full challenges posed by development and the looming threats of climate change.
Phillip Weller, former head of WWF's Green Danube programme and now executive secretary for the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, is excited about the possibilities that the Danube Strategy of the European Union offers to further create political attention and support for measures needed to restore and protect the Danube.
"I am an optimist," he said.
Read WWF's Danube Day feature, including interviews with people who have seen the oil slicks disappear, have swum the length of the river and those now restoring its living natural character..