World Water Day 2019: Austrian know-how for water protection in Serbia

Umweltbundesamt assists in implementation of EU Water Framework Directive

Vienna/Belgrade, 22 March 2019 – World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about focusing attention on the importance of water. This year's theme, 'Leaving no one behind', adapts the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit. The Serbian environmental authorities will also focus on water protection during the next 18 months. With the support of European experts, among them representatives of the Umweltbundesamt (Environment Agency Austria), they will work on a national water management plan for Serbia, a planning instrument for the protection, improvement and sustainable use of all waters. A draft for the Danube river basin is already available. For the new project, European and Serbian experts will evaluate previous work and derive suggestions for improvement. “Access to clean water and the ecological functioning of water bodies are of paramount importance to sustainable development,” explaines Georg Rebernig, Managing Director of the Environment Agency Austria. “With our experience from more than 110 country partnerships, we assist our Serbian project partners in increasing their capacities for a careful management of their precious water resources.”

Priorities for cooperation

 

The development of an operational guidance document to help Serbian authorities to delineate and characterise water bodies, assess their ecological status, establish a modern water quality monitoring system and to develop measures to achieve environmental goals will be an important milestone in the project. At the same time, the European project partners will pass on their know-how and experience in the field of water quality analysis, along with cost recovery and cost efficiency in water protection, to the Serbian authorities in workshops and training sessions. Their knowledge will also be needed when it comes to citizen participation and the involvement of interest groups in finalizing the river basin management plans.

 

From Austria, the Federal Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism are participating in the project, from the Netherlands the research institute Deltares. The project leader is the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The funds for the project are provided through the European Instrument for Preaccession Assistance (IPA).

The Environment Agency in a nutshell

 

The Environment Agency Austria is Austria’s most important institution of environmental experts and, with a demonstrable track record of more than 100 projects in 27 countries in eastern and south-eastern Europe, and in the Mediterranean countries, an experienced project partner. The Environment Agency Austria stands for the transformation of the economy and society in order to secure sustainable living conditions. Our experts provide the basis for decision making at local, regional, European and international level. Since 1999 the Environment Austria has been supporting central and south-eastern European authorities in institutional capacity building and in the implementation of EU legislation.

 

Further informations:

Inge Zechmann, Press Officer Environment Agency Austria, phone: +43 1/31304-5413