Danube Day 2009 was a superb celebration of everything achieved in the 15 years since the signing of the 1994 Danube River Protection Convention. From a landmark Stakeholder Forum to events that saw children make friends across borders, Danube Day 2009 was a success across the region. Festivities lined rivers from the Black Forest to the Danube Delta: river challenges, cycling adventures, conferences, the annual ships' horn blast and Danube Art Master contests.
Over 420 organisations were involved in planning and hosting events, overseen by the ICPDR. Ministries responsible for river management coordinated events, working in partnership with other government agencies, NGOs and private companies. With 14 countries using the waters, finding ways to work together is a major challenge. The 2009 theme, "Shared Waters - Joint Responsibilities" saw events focus on ways to bring people, communities and countries together - sharing the waters in a way that doesn't compromise their use and enjoyment by others now and in the future.
2nd ICPDR Stakeholder Forum, Bratislava:
Major stakeholder conference that brought together organisations from across the agricultural, industrial, commercial and environmental sectors to discuss the management of the Danube rivers. For more details, see: www.icpdr.org/participate/stakeholder_forum.
Danube Art Master schools competition:
This 14-country artistic extravaganza inspired children across the basin to create beautiful art for the Danube. Won this year by 15 year-old Vasyl Vataman from Ukraine, his artwork entitled "Water gives life", was a working model of his home village with streams flowing into the Tisza. 2009 marked the sixth year of the DEF-ICPDR competition that has resulted in the creation of over 19,500 river artworks by children living in the Danube Basin. Download the press release announcing the 2009 winner:
Greet the Danube horn blast:
A wave of sound reverberated across the Danube Basin at 14:00 (CEST) on Danube Day, as Danube workers paid a very special tribute to their river. The annual Greet the Danube horn blast, organised by the Global Water Partnership saw ships along the Danube rivers from Germany to Ukraine simultaneously sound their horns in a united salute to the rivers.
The Danube Challenge:
A Linz to Bratislava river adventure brought together young Austrians and Slovaks. From 1000s of entries, 11 teams representing each of the Austrian regions plus two teams for Slovakia took part in the four-day cruise organized by the Austrian Environment Ministry and Coca-Cola Austria. The young sailors competed in a series of aquatic challenges and were joined on-board by sports stars such as the 2000 Olympic champion, Christoph Sieber. A highlight of the trip was the challenge to literally pull the ship over the Austrian-Slovak border using just ropes and teamwork. Burgenlanders, Hannah and Lena, were the eventual winners.
Green Bikes for Peace:
Young people saluted the Danube with pedal power in a 5-country Italy to Hungary cycling extravaganza. The 30-day action, organised by the Hungarian Cyclists' Club, highlighted sustainability issues. Championing Danube Day in Linz, a raft was built from discarded plastic bottles to carry "messages for a sustainable world".
Danube Delta photographic exhibition:
Winning photographs from the 2008 International Friends of Nature (IFN) Danube Day competition toured the region in 2009, with the opening exhibition at the Ministry of the Environment and Water in Budapest.
Danube Basin jigsaw puzzle:
The new Danube Day 2009 puzzle was featured at many Danube Day celebrations across the region. By competing the puzzle, people could see where their local river begins and where it ends up, demonstrating that we are all part of one huge Danube family!