The Danube River is the lifeline of our region, it hosts immense natural values, and it is also a transport corridor. It is a challenge to bring together all the different interests, but the cooperation between different sectors brings also many synergies. Therefore, the cooperation between the DANUBEPARKS Network and the NEWADA Network - waterway administrations along the river - was brought to a new level with a cross-sectorial conference.
The NEWADA Network is coordinated by the Austrian waterway administration via donau. Their Managing Director Hans-Peter Hasenbichler mentioned in his opening address: “The Danube is not just a waterway and not just a recreational paradise. Events such as today's conference are here to help us combine the different interests and needs involved.“
DANUBEPARKS Speaker Carl Manzano, Director of the Nationalpark Donau-Auen, added: “I wish as a result of this high-level event, to see numerous initiatives and ideas for future cross-border cooperation along the Danube.
Many ideas for future cooperation were collected indeed: With participants of Protected Areas as well as waterway administrations from nearly all Danube countries, the discussions could get to very concrete ideas: conservation ideas like preserving "wild" Danube islands in a joint effort, common actions on sediment management or restoration, as well as integrated waterway management, were all on the agenda. Project ideas were discussed on Danube-wide level, but a clear aim of the conference was also to intensify cooperation on national and regional level.
Benedikt Mandl (ICPDR), Florian Ballnus (EUSDR PA 6 - Biodiversity Coordinator), and Markus Simoner (EUSDR PA 1a - Inland navigation Coordinator) provided the international and political framework concepts for this cross-sectorial conference and the various cooperation ideas.
"All together in a boat" is the reality along our joint river; "all together in a boat" was also the motto for the excursion on the second day of the conference: Visiting a wide range of restoration projects by rubber boat, the participants could get an insight into which diverse projects can be realized in cooperation of Protected Areas (Donau-Auen National Park in this case) and waterway administrations (via donau in this case). In the next years, such projects could and should be realized all along the river and in a transnationally coordinated way - we're working on letting this vision become reality!