Since the beginning of DanubeSediment, our project partners have regularly involved their stakeholders in our project work. Throughout the past year, national workshops were held in all nine partner countries. They took place in Croatia, Germany, Hungary and Serbia in 2017, followed by Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2018. Around 350 stakeholders interested in sediment management joined these workshops. The experts came from sectoral authorities, waterway infrastructure, hydropower companies, shipping and nature protection and many more. Our partners involved their national Associated Strategic Partners through presentations or in discussion rounds. Several project partners used the opportunity for cross-fertilization and organized their events together with thematically related projects from the DTP such as DanubeSTREAM and DanubePARKSconnected.
Most of the workshops began with an introduction of the DanubeSediment project and its goals. A key workshop goal was to give stakeholders an opportunity to discuss the situation of sediment management from their perspective. Interactive formats enabled discussions amongst peers, for example finding common ground for cross-sectoral recommendations in sediment management in the Danube and its tributaries.
Despite the differences in geology and hydromorphology of the Danube over 2800 km, the stakeholder workshops showed that the partner countries are facing similar issues when it comes to sediment-related topics:
- Need for a transnational sediment monitoring network that uses harmonized measurement methods in order to make the collected data comparable;
- Need for more stations at new sites, for example bedload and suspended sediment monitoring stations in Croatia;
- In order to improve governance on sediment management, state agencies must cooperate more strongly; on the Danube-wide level, a trans-boundary approach is needed since sediment and water are transnational issues;
- The measures recommended by the project need to take into account the experience made by practitioners throughout the region;
- Stakeholders in Germany and Austria agreed that finding compromises between different stakeholder sectors on common guiding principles for "good sediment management" is a key element on the path to prioritizing measures to improve sediment continuity. For example, what is our reference condition for sediment transport? Do we want to recreate the historic conditions of an unobstructed Danube? Or do we develop river-specific goals depending on how the river is being utilized by different sectors?
- Sediment issues were found to be relevant topics in many other projects funded by different EU-programmes such as the “Wild Island” initiative of DanubePARKSconnected or DanubeSTREAM, the CEF-project FAST-DANUBE and the LIFE-project ISOBEL;
A second round of workshops are planned for early 2019. They will inform interested stakeholders about the project results. Our partners will gather feedback on planned recommendations for measures that improve sediment continuity throughout the Danube River Basin. We will be communicating the dates and venues of the workshops in the next months - please check our news section and newsletter for details in the near future.
Check out our photos from the national stakeholder workshops 2017/2018!