Initiated by the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority (DDBRA), the Council of Danube Cities and Regions and the Romanian Academy, Danube Environment Forum was held in Tulcea, on June 27-29, 2013. The event was organised under the patronage of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, in partnership with Apa Nova Bucharest, the water division of the Veolia Environnement Group, and with the full support of the European Commission / Joint Research Centre.
The aim of the Forum was to strengthen interregional, cross-border and transnational cooperation and to find solutions that would harmonize economic development and environmental protection in the natural areas of the Danube river basin. Furthermore, the event served as a platform for discussions among stakeholders involved in the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, in order to establish solid partnerships and identify sustainable solutions to the common environmental challenges that the Danube region is faced with, by offering a unique insight into the most recent environmental research and development. At the same time, participants were presented with the latest scientific results of national and international research, field studies and marketable results.
Structured into four plenary sessions, the event was opened by Anne Jugănaru, State Secretary within the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, together with Edward Bratfanof, Governor of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority, Constantin Hogea, Mayor of Tulcea, Gheorghe Şişcu, Vice-president of Tulcea County Council, Gheorghe Şalaru, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Moldova, and Eric Bartha, Secretary General of the Council of Danube Cities and Regions.
Focused on research and innovation for a sustainable environment, the second session was moderated by Cristian Hera, Vice-president of the Romanian Academy, and Heinz Trasch, Chairman of the Danube Scientific and Business Advisory Council and Former Chairman of Steinbeis Foundation. Vladimir Šucha, Deputy Director General of the Joint Research Centre – European Commission, highlighted the importance of bringing scientific evidence into decision making in the Danube Region, while Dan Balteanu, director of the Institute of Geography, Romanian Academy, presented concrete projects that address specific environmental issues within the Danube Region.
The Forum brought together representatives of local, central, regional and European authorities, diplomats, members of the business sector and non-governmental organizations from national and international level, members of the Parliament, as well as scientists representing research and development institutes from across the Danube Region.
The debates that took place during the two days sought to provide concrete solutions that can be implemented in the Danube Delta to issues such as building sustainable cities and human settlements in the Danube Delta, green growth and sustainable development in the Danube Delta, bringing scientific evidence into decision making in the Danube Region, creating healthier ecosystems and a less polluted environment, as well as the protection of sturgeons. Moreover, the discussions helped participants to “cross bridges” between policy-makers and scientists, between different countries and between various policy areas and/or scientific fields.
The Danube Environment Forum contributed to confirming the potential of generating integrated projects in the context of the 7th Environment Action Programme of the EU, which provides a comprehensive and coherent framework for environmental strategic initiatives, setting the priorities for 2020 and clearly showing how environmental policies can contribute to green growth, improved health and increased wealth.
Moreover, the participants celebrated the Danube Day on June 29 and highlighted their common aspiration to unite efforts and promote a cleaner, safer and healthier Danube River, and to enhance the significance of the Danube Day as a symbol for international cooperation. On this occasion, 1000 sturgeons were released by the participants in the Danube, in an attempt to repopulate the river with this endangered species.
Scientific Support to the Danube Strategy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission is coordinating an initiative aiming to provide scientific support to the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) focusing on four vertical priorities: environment protection, irrigation and agricultural development, navigability and energy production. As a transversal priority, the initiative also aims to sustain the development of Smart Specialisation strategies for innovation in the Danube Region. Moreover, it will provide policy-makers and other stakeholders with comparable data to support evidence-based decision-making in the Danube Region.
Outcomes of the event:
The Proceedings (work in progress)