For information only – not an official document

28 February 2023

Serbia takes over ICPDR Presidency from Romania for 2023

VIENNA, 28 February (UN Information Service) – Serbia is set to take over the Presidency of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) on Tuesday, 28th February, and has announced its priorities for the upcoming term. Incoming President Vedrana Ilić who is Serbia’s Assistant Minister responsible for international relations at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, presented Serbia’s goals for its tenure, during an online ceremony.

The incoming President announced that the Serbian Presidency will be placing priority on water scarcity and droughts, groundwater, as well as improving data technology and communications.

Held again as a hybrid meeting in Vienna, the Presidency handover event saw representatives from the Serbian and Romanian missions in Austria participating in the ceremony who met to exchange a bottle of Danube water on behalf of the respective incoming and outgoing Presidents, as is the ICPDR’s tradition.

Passed over at every ICPDR presidency handover ceremony since the mid-90s, the bottle symbolizes the ways in which ICPDR Presidents hold the future of the basin’s waters in their hands. The traditional exchange was conducted by proxy between Ambassador Stelian Stoian, from the Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations, the Organization for the Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and Other International Organizations in Vienna, andAmbassador Žarko Obradović, from the Permanent Mission of Serbia to the United Nations, the Organization for the Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and Other International Organizations in Vienna. First Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Serbia to the International Organisations in Vienna Bojana Sećerov was present during the symbolic handover.

Attending remotely, incoming President Vedrana Ilić said: "I am honoured to take on the challenges of the ICPDR Presidency in 2023 at the start of another crucial six-year management cycle. With the world in a period of transition, and with climate challenges and looming droughts in our basin, this is an exciting time to step into this important post. As a country that includes two major Danube tributaries, the Sava and the Tisza, Serbia holds a critical position in our work. I see this presidency as a significant opportunity to make a positive impact at a pivotal moment."

Specific priorities of the incoming Serbian Presidency include:

  • Water Scarcity and Droughts: Climate change can cause extreme events like floods and droughts. Drought events in Europe including the Danube River Basin have increased over the last 30 years. After the dry summer in 2022, ICPDR countries are tackling droughts.
  • Groundwater: the management of transboundary groundwater bodies is of utmost importance in light of the changing climate and of the related water scarcity problems.
  • Improving data, technology and communications: Communication and information sharing is of key importance in transboundary river basins. Therefore, establishing solid databases is more than ever on our agenda.

The work of outgoing President Robert Eugen Szép of Romania, was acknowledged at the event, recognizing a successful tenure as ICPDR President during a key period that saw the finalization of the two management plans and the endorsement of the Danube Declaration 2022. Mr. Szép, attending remotely, wished his successor the best of luck and expressed his deepest gratitude to his team and colleagues across ICPDR for their hard work during 2022.

The event was live-streamed on YouTube and can be seen here:

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For further information, please contact:

Hélène Masliah-Gilkarov
Public Participation and Communication
ICPDR Secretariat at UNOV
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-4373
Mobile: (+43 676) 845 200 220
Email: helene.masliah-gilkarov[at]

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