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EU and UNEP join forces on Danube

The European Union (EU) and UNEP are set to work even more closely on issues such as water quality and sustainable energy in the Danube region following an expert workshop held in Brussels.


The EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) and the Carpathian Convention - which UNEP provides the Secretariat for - both work to coordinate policies in key environmental and sustainable development areas together with a range of stakeholders in countries surrounding the river’s basin.


“Just as the rich ecosystems of this region are closely interlinked, I am proud that the EU and UNEP are taking steps to find synergies and ensure our work delivers the best results for people and the environment” said Jan Dusik, Director of UNEP’s Regional Office for Europe, following the workshop held on 25 November.


During the meeting, which was titled ‘Mountain dimension in the Danube region, the case of the Carpathians. Challenges and opportunities for regional cooperation in mountain areas,’ it was agreed that a Joint Synergy Paper and a Memorandum of Understanding would be prepared outlining potential areas and ways of furthering cooperation.


The expert event identified areas where the EU and UNEP could now combine forces to design projects for the region - including on water quality, transport and sustainable energy.


The two bodies agreed to step-up cooperation on water quality such as by further promoting an ecosystem-based approach, with the Carpathians being one of the two mountain ranges affecting the Danube’s drainage area together with the Alps.


On sustainable energy, the EUSDR will continue promoting the exchange of best practices in support of part of the Convention’s work, where Parties are seeking the best balance between preserving carbon stocks in forests and making use of wood sustainably for example.


Work to ensure that access to remote rural areas in the region is improved is meanwhile a priority for the EU, while the Convention is developing a strategic action plan to protect ecological corridors alongside road and rail projects – offering further potential to collaborate closely.


The meeting was organised by the Czech Presidency of the Carpathian Convention and UNEP Vienna - the Convention’s Secretariat - together with the European Commission Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy.


Prior to the workshop, the 6th meeting of the Carpathian Convention Implementation Committee was held in the Belgian capital. Parties to the Convention and other relevant stakeholders reviewed ongoing work in the Carpathians and set out their strategic vision for that of the coming years.


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