16 January 2006

Moldova to Take over the Presidency of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR)

VIENNA, 16 January (UN Information Service) -- The Republic of Moldova will take over the Presidency of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) for the year 2006 on Tuesday, 17 January. The handover will take place at an official ceremony hosted by the outgoing President, Hungary.

The Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Moldova, Dr. Constantin Mihailescu, will serve as President during 2006 and will guide the activities of ICPDR which was set up to coordinate protection and improvement in the quality of Danube waters. "During my presidency, I am committed to promoting development which meets the hopes of the people and the needs of nature", said Dr. Mihailescu. He intends to emphasize the essential role of ICPDR as a forum for the resolution of conflicts related to water management -- including for the Danube Delta where controversial navigation projects have created tensions between neighbouring countries.

Moldova is particularly interested in ensuring that there is stronger integration of countries at the lower end of the Danube in the work of the ICPDR and to utilize the Presidency as a way of demonstrating the benefits of intensified cooperation with other Danube countries to the people of Moldova. "As the President, I will work hard to ensure that non-European Union countries such as Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Ukraine are fully engaged in the Danube cooperation within the framework of the ICPDR," emphasized Dr. Mihailescu.

Regardless of their political status, be it EU Member State, an applicant country or another European country, all of the Danube Basin Countries are committed to implementing the EU Water Framework Directive. Water managers and experts throughout the river basin are working toward achieving "good water quality by 2015" as required by the Directive, and the coming year will be essential in creating the Danube River Basin Management Plan that must be completed by 2009.

Dr. Mihailescu expressed further interest in supporting the work needed under the Water Framework Directive to strengthen cooperation in sub-basin rivers including along the Prut River that flows through Moldova, Romania and Ukraine. Danube Day celebrations on 29 June 2006 will focus on this sub-region. 

The ICPDR Presidency rotates annually among the Contracting Parties of the Danube River Protection Convention. Moldova follows Hungary and will be succeeded by Romania in 2007.

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For further information, please contact:

Jasmine BACHMANN, ICPDR Secretariat at UNOV
E-mail: jasmine.bachmann@unvienna.org
Home Page: http://www.icpdr.org