IW Learn DEF
The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe



UNO Vienna

The UNDP Global Environment Facility and the EU through its Phare and Tacis programs, have provided since 1992 in the frame of the Danube Environmental Programme and Pollution Reduction Programme, international assistance to develop appropriate mechanisms and planning tools for the implementation of the Danube River Protection Convention and to prepare for funding pollution prevention & reduction activities required to both restore the Danube River Basin and to protect the Black Sea environment.

In this frame, from 1992 to 2000, donor investments can be estimated at about 27million USD for the EU Phare and Tacis Programs and about 12.4 million USD for the UNDP/GEF assistance. This facilitated the building up of capacities and structures of the ICPDR for joint operation under the Convention.

The current ongoing Danube Regional Project (DRP) is actually one of three components of the 95 million USD GEF Strategic Partnership for Nutrient Reduction in the Danube / Black Sea Basin - GEF's largest and perhaps most ambitious water-related project in the world. It supports the intermediate goal of the Commissions for the Danube and Black Sea to reduce nutrient and toxic loads to the Black Seas to mid-1990s levels, and their long-term goal to reduce nutrients and toxic substances to the levels necessary to allow Black Sea ecosystems to recover to conditions in the 1960s.

This Partnership is composed of three complementary parts:

  • The Black Sea Ecosystems Recovery Project  - a GEF Black Sea Regional capacity building and technical assistance element implemented (in cooperation with the Black Sea Commission under the leadership of UNDP and with the assistance of UNEP for defined components;
  • The Danube Regional Project - a GEF Danube River basin regional capacity building and technical assistance element implemented (in cooperation with the ICPDR) under the leadership of UNDP;
  • The World Bank Investment Fund - a GEF / World Bank Partnership Investment Fund for Nutrient Reduction focused on single country nutrient reduction investments.

In addition to that, other GEF and donor interventions in the basin targeting reduction of nutrients and toxic pollutants are considered as contribution to the Strategic Partnership.

International Cooperation

Both,  the Danube Regional Project and its sister project based in Istanbul - the Black Sea Ecosystems Recovery Project will strengthen the respective Commissions and will assist countries in their efforts to adopt necessary policy, legal and institutional reforms and enforcement of environmental regulations (with particular attention to the reduction of nutrients and toxic substances). The World Bank-GEF Nutrient Reduction Investment Fund is entailing direct investments aimed at concrete reductions in pollution, primarily nutrients, at the national level that can then be replicated throughout the Danube and Black Sea region.

The DRP is of global interest to GEF and other water basins that require international management. Concrete results are expected. This is especially true for reducing nutrient pollution - a common and serious problem in water bodies worldwide. Ultimately, the Danube Regional Project could become a progressive model for expanding public awareness of the threats from nutrient pollution worldwide.

The Danube Regional Project (DRP) has to be seen as an integral part of the Danube/Black Sea Basin Strategic Partnership and a logical continuation of the GEF support for capacity building provided for a period of five years to the countries of the Danube River Basin.