The Living Danube Partnership, has been awarded the “Partnership of the Year” Award for its contributions to cross-sectoral cooperation promoting conservation and restoration of rivers and wetlands in the Danube basin.
The Partnership is engaged in river and wetland restoration as well as education and awareness raising across the Danube basin. Partners include WWF-Central and Eastern Europe (WWF-CEE), the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) and Coca-Cola. Its activities contribute directly to government commitments in the Danube River Basin Management Plan.
The award, recognising the Partnership’s model of cooperation and the commitment of all parties over the past seven years was announced 9 October as part of the Reuters Responsible Business Awards 2020.
It is estimated that over 80 Percent of the Danube River’s wetlands have been lost. However, strong government commitments across the basin aim to conserve what remains and to restore that which has been lost. By the end of this year, it is expected that the Partnership will have restored almost 7,000 hectares of wetlands by the end of this year.
Further, through communications and community engagement, including social and traditional media, the Partnership has affected more than 80,000 people directly and as many as 54 million indirectly with information concerning wetland and floodplain restoration activities, the rationale behind the programme and the benefits reaped through healthy ecosystems services.
The success of the programme has exceeded expectations due to the partners’ respective commitments. Andreas Beckmann, Regional CEO of WWF-CEE said: “I know of no comparable initiative in terms of size, scope, impact and duration. The flexibility of the partnership based on shared long-term objectives and trust has enabled us to achieve far more than originally planned -- leveraging nearly €20 million in support for wetland restoration initiatives across our region.”
"This unique partnership has shown what is possible when companies and conservationists work together on a long-term strategy to tackle our growing freshwater challenges,” said Stuart Orr, Global Practice Leader Freshwater, WWF-International. “The Living Danube Partnership has transformed degraded wetlands, while simultaneously driving a new narrative around the real values of the river - highlighting why a healthy Danube is critical to people and nature and how businesses can help to restore it to health. Hopefully, this transformative partnership will be replicated far and wide."