The Danube River is our lifeline. The countries of the Danube region share common features as well as many differences, but the Danube is what connects them. It is a decisive feature in their
landscapes, settlement development, economy, but also culture. Austria has always taken efforts towards a joint development and strengthening of the Danube region. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management has therefore contributed to the Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, the Danube Navigation Commission as well as to the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. I can assure you
that we will continue to work on overcoming the challenges in the Danube region in the future.

By taking over the Presidency of ICPDR Austria has become a driving force behind the cooperation of the Danube states in 2012. Austria took up the Presidency full of energy and well-prepared.
It seemed particularly important to me to appoint an experienced person for the presidency, as is Professor Stalzer, but also to launch new initiatives in those areas that represent special challenges.
They include, for example, the development of hydro power with due consideration of ecological and economic aspects, the promotion of the work for the EU Floods Directive as well as other
steps towards awareness-raising in the Danube region and their
annual highlight, the „Danube Day“.

In this publication we would like to give our readers an insight into the most important activities undertaken during our Presidency in 2012 and into the interactions of the Danube states with the Secretariat of the Danube River Protection Convention, the European Commission, the stakeholders and NGOs as well as
the Business Friends of the Danube. Finally, it is also very important to me to thank all those who
contributed to the joint success of the Austrian presidency with their committed efforts. Only together will we be able to overcome the challenges that a region surrounding an international river – like the Danube – faces, and to guarantee lasting success.

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