28 June 2006
Danube Day to be Commemorated in 13 Danube Countries
VIENNA, 28 June (UN Information Service) -- Countries along the Danube river will join in a wide range of activities to commemorate "Danube Day", which is celebrated annually on 29 June. The activities include clean-up operations, rivers tours and exhibitions and are part of a major awareness-raising effort.
This year, the theme is "Danube: Living Space" and it will be celebrated in co-operation with national and local governmental organizations, scientific and environmental institutions, schools and others.
An important component of the celebration is the "Green Danube Partnership" which is a private/public partnership to demonstrate business responsibility for the future of the Danube. The partnership consists of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), the Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola HBC, and is the result of an agreement signed last year through which an ongoing series of joint activities will be conducted to support the protection and sustainable use of the Danube river and its tributaries.
Local partnerships have been developed in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia. Activities are now also being extended to Austria, Moldova and the Ukraine.
A primary focus of the Green Danube Partnership this year is the launch of an extensive education project called the "Danube Box". It consists of a "teaching kit" that will give schoolchildren a greater understanding of the threats posed to the river, and the need to preserve water resources. The Danube Box will be launched in Austria on 5 July.
It is intended that the educational tool, which the ICPDR will offer to Austrian teachers, will later be made available to school authorities in other countries along the Danube.
Speaking on the occasion of Danube Day, Philip Weller, Executive Secretary, ICPDR said, "The 'Danube Box' answers a need to effectively communicate information to the younger generation on the importance of the Danube river and its tributaries as part of our natural heritage. Along with the many other attention-raising events and activities, it is expected to prove valuable in giving people a greater understanding about the role rivers play in their lives, and stimulate a heightened interest in respecting, and protecting this great natural resource."
Sir Michael Llewellyn-Smith, Board Director Coca-Cola HBC, added, "We take our corporate social responsibilities very seriously, and we have significant operations along the Danube River which contribute to water conservation and to a wider understanding of the concept of sustainable development. Our recent signature of a cooperation agreement with the Duna-Drava National Park authority comes as a direct result of our relationship with the ICPDR and is a leading example of our commitment to sustainability."
Another major activity underway in the framework of the "Green Danube Partnership" is the establishment of a non-profit entity called "Business Friends of the Danube'. This entity will seek to raise financial support from the business sector to conduct activities under the leadership of the ICPDR.
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For further information:
The Coca-Cola Company:
Tel: ++32 2559 24 77
Note to the Editor:
Danube Day is an international day honouring the Danube and the rivers that flow into it, paying tribute to the vital role they play in providing water, food, power, recreation and livelihoods. Held on 29 June, Danube Day marks the anniversary of the signing of the Danube River Protection Convention in Sofia, Bulgaria on 29 June, 1994. Every year, Danube Day raises awareness about the Danube Rivers - huge festivals on the riverbanks plus public meetings, educational events, and more pay tribute to the Danube Rivers, the people, and the progress that has been made. Danube Day demonstrates the need for countries and organizations to join forces and work together. Celebrating Danube Day helps to ensure that the Danube and its tributaries are protected, to be used and enjoyed by generations to come. For further information, visit www.danubeday.org
The ICPDR (International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River) is an international organization consisting of 13 cooperating states and the European Union. Since its establishment in 1998, it has grown into one of the largest and most active international bodies engaged in river basin management in Europe. Its activities relate not only to the Danube River, but also the tributaries and ground water resources of the entire Danube River Basin.
The ultimate goal of the ICPDR is to implement the Danube River Protection Convention, and make it a "living" instrument. Its mission is to promote and coordinate sustainable and equitable water management, including conservation, and improvement and rational use of waters for the benefit of the Danube River Basin countries and their people. The ICPDR pursues its mission by making recommendations for the improvement of water quality, developing mechanisms for flood and accident control, agreeing on standards for emissions and by assuring that these measures are reflected in the Contracting Parties' national legislations and are applied in their policies.
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