The role of Bavarian NGOs in protecting the environment along River Danube as part of the projects of Danube Strategy (Full Article)


Authors: Krisztina Kőműves, geographer, PhD student, and
András Mérei
, geographer, politologist, PhD student,
Doctoral School of Earth Sciences University of Pécs, Hungary

Editor’s note: This is the full article of the abstract published last week.


The southeast strategic direction and the importance of the Danube region has been present in the German political thinking for centuries. This thanks not only to the pass of the River Danube in Southern Germany, but also to the vacuum of power in the area in the past and the presence of German ethnic groups. Due to the changing German interests in Southeast Europe, today the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) could define a new policy which base not only on state interests but on the determinate role of NGOs and ’bottom-up’ initiations. According to the ’bottom-up’ principle – the idea of European Commission – there are many proposals which come from the local players Similarly, proposals due to the relatively short progress time yet not complete planned or funded, are nevertheless interesting because of its basic idea. The actual implementation of these projects therefore depends on the availability of third-party resources, or whether the existing programs and each of the available resources (especially the EU) and placements for the support are possible. Some proposals – especially the environmental projects – are as the best-practice examples because other places with similar problems along the Danube could acquire these as well. The order of the proposals is based on the following six pillars nominated by the Free State of Bavaria: ’An attractive and prosperous region’, ’A safe and environment-friendly energy supplies’, ’Environment-friendly design of transport and accessibility’, ’The Danube as a natural territory’, ’A secure region’ and ’A culturally diverse and valuable region’. In our paper we summarize the proposals of Bavarian NGOs among the environmental projects of the Danube Strategy.

Bavarian contributions to the Action Plan of EUSDR

The European Commission has announced that in accordance with their practice of European Strategy for the Baltic Sea and the Danube region for the next release the strategic orientation of the Danube Strategy an action plan with concrete Submit projects to try. The Bavarian State Government would be in the process of project proposals bring in from Bavaria. According to the European Commission advocated so-called ’bottom-up process’, the Bavarian municipalities, Institutions and associations in the Danube Region on 1 March 2010 to a Bavarian Danube Forum at Regensburg invited to present their projects. Of the 200 Participants were subsequently submitted over 80 proposals. The following article contains predominantly ideas from this process. according to the ’Bottom-up’- Idea of the European Commission’s proposals are among many, of the local players to come and lie in their ownership. Similarly, pre-including suggestions that because of the relatively short forward line has not completely-planned or funded, are nevertheless interesting because of their basic idea were taken. The actual implementation of these projects therefore depends on whether Third party resources are available, or whether it in the context of existing programs and each of the available resources (especially the EU) and places a Funding. Some suggestions – particularly from the environment – areas best practice examples in other places with similar problems along the Danube could be acquired. Detailed information about each Projects can also be found in the attached summaries.

The ranking of proposals based on the proposed six of Bavaria Pillars ’An attractive and prosperous region’, ’A safe and environment-friendly energy supply’, ’Environment-friendly design of transport and accessibility’, ’The Danube as a natural territory’, ’A secure region’ and ’A culturally diverse and valuable region’.

Protecting the environment in the Danube region

This pillar focuses on three priority areas. The aim is to:

  • restore the quality of the waters and secure;
  • environmental risks to bring them under control;
  • biodiversity, landscapes and the quality of air and soil.


These goals need to be merged with other policies. Learn traffic infrastructure can only promote growth be, if it is accompanied by adequate planning. Otherwise, they can adversely affect biodiversity and the quality of air and ground impact.

Responsibilities of state institutions in the countries of the Danube region

  • § Implementation of European directives into national law under
  • § Application of conservation laws under the European Framework Directive
  • § Measures and projects to achieve compliance with legal requirements


Role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the EUSDR

  • Suggestions, hints, encouragements: With their specific expertise to judge the environmental groups in politics and administration with: proposals for legislative initiatives, suggestions of specific measures, attention to conditions and situations
  • Own nature and environmental protection projects: see Table 1 and Table 2
  • Environmental education: Children and young people experience the most international river in the world through research trips, seminars etc.
  • Monitoring public policies: critical observation of state and local measures (Implementation of European framework directives, applying the conservation laws), informing public about the law, and implementation issues, public protest against violations, harmful projects and plans


Table 1: The introduced proposals at the Danube Forum, Regensburg, 1st March 2010

Name of the Proposal

Drafter of the proposal

Feasibility study of the Danube tributary mountain and ITS Improvements for the balance of bedload budget

Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e. V.

’Blue Ribbon of biodiversity’ – Auenverbund Donau

Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e. V.

Environment protecting project and regional development of the Danube valley

Schwäbisches Donautal

LIFE+ – Nature project „Danubia“

Bavarian State Ministry for Environment (StMUG), Kelheim (Landkreis) Kelheim, Neustadt and Markt Bad Abbach, Bavarian State Forestry (Bayerische Staatsforsten)

’Initiative habitat Donauried’

Lebensraum Donauried

Natural Area Danube: action potentials and trade possibilities

Landesbund für Vogelschutz in Bayern e. V.

Danube Parks – Danube network of protected areas


Annual ’International symposium on flood defense and crisis management’

Government of Passau

Dynamics of the Danube river between Neuburg and Ingolstadt

Auenzentrum Neuburg/Donau

Source: Bayerisches Donauforum am 1. März 2010 in Regensburg – Projektvorschläge aus Bayern für die Europäische Strategie für den Donauraum

Table 2: Projects in connection with environment protection which had not been presented at the workshop of the Danube Forum

Name of the Proposal

Drafter of the proposal

Sunny side of the Danube: the protection of heat-favored habitats of the Danube breach between Regensburg and Passau

Landesbund für Vogelschutz in Bayern e. V.

International Research Station for mollusks

Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e. V.

Danube treasure chest: Children and young people experiencing the most international river in the world

Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e. V.

Ecological improvement of the free-flowing Danube between Straubing and Vilshofen

Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e. V.

Life on the Danube: Developing Sustainable use of the landscape and regional economic cycles

Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e. V.

’Green Danube’: improving the international exchange of information

Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e. V.

Seminar ’Regional Development in harmony with nature and culture in the Danube Region’

Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e. V.

Source: Bayerisches Donauforum am 1. März 2010 in Regensburg – Projektvorschläge aus Bayern für die Europäische Strategie für den Donauraum


How operates and organises an NGO in Bavaria? Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e. V. – one of the greatest association in Bavaria for environment protection – as an example

The Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e. V. (Federation of Nature Protection in Bavaria, hereinafter abbreviated as BN) is the oldest and largest environmental organization in Bavaria. It saves the animals, plants and landscapes throughout the state. From corporations or political parties accepts no financial help: only supported by the donors and members, it allows to preserve Bavaria’s beauty.

The BN works economically, politically and religiously independent. The association declares itself as an independent advocate of nature and is used exclusively for charitable purposes. The goal is to preserve the natural life thus animals and plants for people and also to preserve the natural beauty and diversity of Germany

There are currently around 174 000 BN members, organized into a nationwide network of 76 district groups and 600 local groups. In addition a variety of children’s and youth groups that are own by a youth organization that supports the JBN.

The organisation of the association: district and local groups

The approximately 170 000 members of the BN are organized into 76 code groups and over 660 associated local groups. The active members on site are the heart and hand of the Association. They provide many free hours of practical nature, contributing to the preservation of sensitive habitats and landscapes.

The county groups are contact points for information, gain a voice in local politics, offering events, conduct public relations and conservation projects.

In the local groups to take care of the BN members, especially to the classic types of protection, care and the purchase of biotopes.
In addition, active in each circuit group for children and youth groups.

Goals, tasks and areas of activity:

  1. Objectives and tasks:
    • The BN wants to preserve the natural beauty and diversity of our country.
    • Declares itself as an advocate for nature, landscape and people.
    • The goal is to preserve the natural foundations of life for humans, animals and plants.
  2. Responsibilities lie in all areas of environmental policy:
    • Protecting animals, plants and their habitats.
    • Presenting useful concepts for transport and energy.
    • Keeping the livelihoods water, soil and air clean.
    • Promoting organic farming.
    • Offering people of all ages a comprehensive education program.


Land use and environmental policy

  • The association has the leaders in politics and government attention to environmental abuses and press for the enforcement of relevant laws.
  • In the debate over current hot spots such as the development of the Danube, traffic projects, waste incineration, water conservation, energy use and climate change, it presents advanced concepts.
  • Point to alternative ways of how to use natural resources carefully while improving the quality of life: for example, an ecological tax reform, the regional recycling and organic farming.


Education and counselling

  • Advise on the impact of products and services to the people’s health and the environment.
  • At the events, actions and seminars the association provides comprehensive information on current topics and give constructive advice on what can be done for the everyday nature and the environment protection.
  • Through research and education, promotes understanding of environmental issues and relationship.
  • The association is revived by children and young people in touch with nature and ensures that an emotional bond is formed in plants, animals and landscapes.


Species and habitat protection

  • The association takes concrete measures to protect nature and landscape.
  • Through the purchase and maintenance of valuable habitat, it saves rare flora and fauna.
  • With numerous projects and initiatives, threatened animal species such as beaver, lynx, wild cat, find a home again in Bavaria.


Project which will be realized in frame of EUSDR – ’Blue Ribbon of biodiversity’ with the cooperation of BN, Working Group Wachau (Arbeitskreis Wachau) and austrian Environmental Umbrella (Umwelt Dachverband)

As an introduction into the practical cooperation are BN, Working Group Wachau and Environmental Umbrella the project “Blue Ribbon of biodiversity -Auenverbund take Danube “attack in which the federal nature prompted by the Bavarian State Chancellery of Bavaria as a component of the contribution to the EU Danube Strategy has proposed. First step is the establishment of a His project plan, according to

  • a model for the Danube Auenverbund developed
  • the ecological health of the entire Danube River, including all existing Programs and projects recorded
  • a development and networking concept developed
  • an action plan with local and regional implementation of projects established


The basis for the model is the common position of 22 non-governmental organizations from 10 countries bordering the Danube for navigation in the Danube catchment area ‘Save the Danube! – Towards an environmentally sustainable and conservation-shipping’ of 15 October 2009. BN, Working Group Wachau and Environmental Umbrella organizations have signed this position with the organizations, got into contact to expand the platform for cooperation in the EU strategy for the Danube Region. The goal is to frame the project ‘Blue Ribbon of biodiversity – Auenverbund Danube’ in matching individual projects in all Danube countries implement. The environmental organizations count on the support of the Bavarian State Ministry of Environment and Health, after that Bavaria together with Croatia took the European Danube Strategy coordinator role in the priority field ‘Conservation of biological diversity, landscapes and the quality of air and soil’.

The newly launched cooperation between the BN, Working Group Wachau and Environmental Umbrella therefore aims the conservation of biodiversity to provide a strong collective voice in the Danube region and to ensure that these which are not undermined by the existing transnational communities of interest in other fields of the Danube Region Strategy. The EU countries have committed in the European Biodiversity Strategy to conserve biodiversity; the Danube is a central axis of biodiversity in Europe. A predominant proportion of Danube is part of the European network of protected areas Natura 2000, including national parks and UNESCO World Heritage sites. In addition, all Danube riparian states in implementing the Water Framework Directive for at least good ecological status of the Danube and its tributaries provide.

The newly established platform is therefore of the following concerns:

The free-flowing sections of the Danube have a value in itself, the ‘hot spot’ biodiversity to be recognized as part of the Danube Strategy. They form the backbone for the project ‘Blue Ribbon of Biodiversity’, the priorities under field of nature conservation action should be implemented. In the first step the associations clarify and start the project ‘Blue Ribbon of biodiversity -Auenverbund Danube’.

The shipping must be based on the capabilities of current and not the power to the wishes of the shipping! The cargo of the waterway and under the relevant development programs like the ‘bottlenecks’ designated areas not jammed along the Danube which may not ecologically impaired. After all, these areas represent a predominantly-share following ecologically valuable sections with some very strict protection (Natura 2000 sites, national parks, world heritage sites, etc.). This protected areas are put beyond dispute and as such their value in particular recognition for sustainable tourism.


The implementation of the Danube Region Strategy requires the formation of cross-sectoral working groups with appropriate involvement of civil society. For voting determination of the different target systems and strategic objectives in the individual action-fields and to avoid collateral damage among the topics appropriate cross sectoral working groups the setting-up and regularly convenience of NGOs dealing should be allowed on thematically appropriate place and a corresponding right of participation.





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