12th Follow-up meeting of the Joint Statement on Guiding Principles for the Development of Inland Navigation and Environmental Protection in the Danube River Basin

 

The 12th Follow-up Meeting of the Joint Statement was held on 15 and 16 September 2021 in Vienna, Austria. The meeting was conducted online via the ZOOM platform and involved about 60 participants.

Experts from Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia reported on the status of implementation of key national and cross-border projects under the Joint Statement process. All presentations are available at the following link: https://danubis.icpdr.org/share/25522/32b0dc7d3d4a78361f284b4290b119f3  (accessible for 60 days as from 18 September)

The main topics of discussion were the EU Taxonomy Regulation and Delegated Acts and their impact on integrated projects in the field of inland navigation and environment. The focus was on the proposed criteria for infrastructure and inland vessels. The currently proposed criteria only concern infrastructure for zero-emissions vessels and transshipment in ports, but not inland waterway infrastructure itself. The importance of integrated projects that take into account both the nautical side and the improved environmental component of the projects was reiterated.

A panel discussion entitled: Effects of climate change on discharge and water level of the Danube, brought together renowned experts from universities, institutions, and river administrations. The basic documents deal with the ICPDR Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change of 2018 and the IPCC Assessment Report 6 Climate Change 2021. Recommendations for the future, include the preparation of a consistent, comprehensive, integrated Danube-wide study on the impacts of climate change, covering all Danube countries and all related areas and sectors. One of the suggestions was that the three Commissions establish a climate expert group to address the issue of climate adaptation.

The presentations of the panel discussion are available at the following link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1StYXXFSUUKCkYGLWpBKZ3y2TDo3TFSPS

The EU representatives addressed aspects of inland navigation and environmental policy developments relevant for the Danube region, as well as current and future funding instruments, and reported on progress with EUSDR PA1a and the Fairway Rehabilitation Maintenance Masterplan (FRMMP).

The METEET project continues to be implemented through webinars and the next online workshops will be held in Ukraine on 25 and 26 November 2021.

To pave the way for new positive developments in the JS reform process, the DC will organize the next Joint Statement Meeting in Budapest in mid-September next year. A workshop on sustainable waterway engineering (”Building with nature”’) will be organized for the first time on a biennial basis back-to-back with the regular JS Follow-up meetings. In addition, the DC Secretariat presented a summary of the next step in the overall approach.