ICPDR to host the Danube WILDisland Ramsar Regional Initiative

We are really excited to announce that the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) has accepted our offer to consider taking the patronage and host a future Danube WILDisland Ramsar Regional Initiative!

The decision was confirmed by ICPDR Heads of Delegations with a resolution at the 26th Ordinary Meeting of the ICPDR, which took place from 12 to 13 December 2023 in Vienna.

The Convention on Co-operation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the River Danube (Danube River Protection Convention) forms the overall legal instrument for co-operation and transboundary water management in the Danube River Basin. The ICPDR comprises 15 Contracting Parties who jointly work to ensure that surface waters and groundwater within the Danube River Basin are managed and used sustainably and equitably.

The ICPDR has identified several significant water management issues addressed in the Danube River Basin Management Plan (latest update from 2021), such as organic and nutrient pollution, pollution from hazardous substances and hydromorphological alterations, including the interruptions of river continuity and sediment balance or morphological alterations. The ICPDR clearly strives to restore the lateral and longitudinal connectivity of the Danube habitat corridor through cross-sectoral cooperation.

DANUBEPARKS is an official observer to the ICPDR and got the chance to present to the ICPDR the draft of the Danube WILDisland Ramsar Regional Initiative (RRI) with a view of future synergies and enhanced cooperation. The future Danube WILDisland Ramsar RegionalInitiative - elaborated within the LIFE WILDisland project - intends to set up the first river-focused Ramsar Regional Initiative in Europe to foster international and cross-sectoral cooperation and natural river island protection. It generally aims to assist the Ramsar Contracting Parties in their efforts to conserve wetlands, strengthening the Danube as an ecological corridor, and act as an example of best practices for the establishment of European Green and Blue Infrastructure, stressing on restoring river dynamics and natural hydrological regimes.

Based on the ICPDR resolution from the 25th ICPDR Ordinary Meeting, DANUBEPARKS has developed a full proposal for the establishment of the Danube WILDisland RRI, following the call for the establishment of new RRIs announced with Diplomatic Note 2023/3 of the Ramsar Secretariat. Official national letters of support have already been provided by all Danube countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine). 

The ICPDR by resolution stated that it:

"welcomes and accepts to take over the patronage of the Danube WILDisland Ramsar Regional Initiative as a formal host and Non-Country Member of the Ramsar Regional Initiative following the resolution from the ICPDR OM-25 and based on the official national support letters provided by all Danube countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine);b) will officially submit the application documents developed by the DANUBEPARKS Association for establishing the Danube WILDisland Ramsar Regional Initiative as the world’s 22nd Ramsar Regional Initiative to the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands by the end of 2023."

This development is yet another milestone for the establishment of the Danube WILDisland RRI, expected to be adopted at the next Conference of the Parties of the Wetlands Convention in the year 2025. It brings us a step closer to our goal to foster international cooperation, further develop our network and mobilize additional political engagement and financial resources for protecting the most international river in the world!

We are very grateful to the ICPDR Permanent Secretariat and all ICPDR Contracting Parties for their trust and support and we are looking forward to our fruitful and even closer cooperation!

For more information:
Georg Frank - Donau-Auen National Park: g.frank@donauauen.at