Resolution accepted at the 14th Council Meeting, Budapest, Hungary, April 1-3, 2011
Despite the economic factor of the river the Danube region represents more than just an economic area as the region offers a unique nature and a large ecological diversity. However, this exceptional biodiversity is endangered by the industrial use and the regulation of the river. In particular the increase in freight transportation aimed at in the Strategy is contradicting the aims of protecting the precious environment of the Danube region.
The Danube Region covers one fifth of EU territory and represents a significant historical bond between the West and the East of Europe, connecting different cultures within and outside the EU. Despite the economic factor of the river the Danube region represents more than just an economic area as the region offers a unique nature and a large ecological diversity. However, this exceptional biodiversity is endangered by the industrial use and the regulation of the river. In particular the increase in freight transportation aimed at in the Strategy is contradicting the aims of protecting the precious environment of the Danube region.
Nevertheless, the establishment of a macro-region with the Danube Strategy opens up new perspectives for cooperation by taking an integrated, coordinated approach to sustainable development on a broader regional territorial level and setting out a more efficient use of the Danube Region's potential for development and preservation of the nature. It aims at a liveable, sustainable and developed, prosperous Danube Region by managing environmental risks such as floods and industrial pollution, preserving the quality and quantity of water reserves and ensuring their sustainable use, preserving biodiversity, landscapes and the quality of air and soils.
To achieve these goals the EGP calls for:
• Improvements to the ecological status of the Danube and for measures to reduce pollution and prevent further releases of oil and other toxic and harmful substances;
• An ecosystem based approach; restoring the flood plains (where possible) to increase flood security.
• Projects only being pursued if they are consistent with EU environmental legislation;
• Environmentally friendly transport such as rail or inland waterway transport, intermodal logistic concepts, river-adapted ships for the shallow Danube and better equipment at inland ports on the river gaining priority. More emphasis being put on the construction of vessels for use on different kinds of waterways, including limited draught or variable water levels, to achieve improved navigability without harming the natural environment;
• A careful evaluation of so-called navigability bottlenecks is required prior to all bottleneck removal decisions and activities, especially due to the fact that locks are the main bottlenecks for Danube navigation;
• Green technologies and ecological modernisation, such as improved energy efficiency, renewable energies and better waste management for the reduction of negative environmental impacts of economic activity;
• Sustainable tourism as an important instrument for promoting the economic growth of the region, noting for example the opportunities offered by ecotourism;
• The involvement of the relevant regional and local stakeholders and civil society of the Danube region at all stages of decision-making, considering also women networks and minority groups;
• Strengthening projects for vulnerable groups like women and girls who are in danger of trafficking in human persons;
• The need to fight the social and economic exclusion of marginalised communities, especially Roma
• The requirements of the environment having priority, given the fact that a good ecological status of the Danube is a prerequisite of all human activity along the river.
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