Sustainable Development (SD) in the Danube River Basin needs an Interdisciplinary approach. Researchers must be able to identify, analyse and take into account the legacies of the past and the long history of human interactions with the environment in this densely inhabited region. This introductory contribution to DIANET 2013 maps the 7 pillars of the EU strategy for the Danube onto the ‘magic triangle’ of SD. Finding solutions requires understanding the present situation through the study of socio-natural sites. Such sites form by interaction of humans and the river system. Practices result in material arrangements which are created and kept in working condition by human actions. Benign or wicked, short- or longstanding legacies can be distinguished, their fate determines the potential for sustainable futures.
Stefano Brumat, expert in EU Funding he works at the University of Trieste where he attends to the Development and Management
of EU-financed regional and trans-national projects. He is the project creator of DIAnet – Danube Initiative & Alps Adriatic network including the International Schools, and sees to the financial and practical organisation of the Danube:Future project. Diana Frausin, translator and Interpreter between Italian, English and Dutch, she works at the University of Trieste as part of the DIAnet staff, where she collaborates to reinforce the network and supports decision makers, coordinates the relations with the universities of the Danube area, and attends to the analysis and drafting of relevant documentation and communications.
The aims of the project are to develop a decision-making support tool – DeWOS; and to establish a
permanent users network using a spin-off company, which will enable international cooperation and implementation
of the software. DeWOS will encompass all existing relevant data on factors affecting
wellbeing: environmental (water, air, soil, food quality and quantity), social-demographic (education,
prosperity, migration, tourism and mobility, health services, safety) and economic factors (employment,
industry, agriculture). The tool will provide a reliable valuation of the degree of wellbeing in the Danube
River Basin enabling policy makers (from the municipality to the national level) and other stakeholders
to assess the current wellbeing situation and simulate possible scenarios along with the feasibility and
impacts of possible interventions.
The main objective of the project is to restore some of the ancient inland waterways in the Danube River
Basin and Adriatic River Basin to help implement a sustainable boat tourism in order to connect societies
in borderlands, improve their socio-economic future and consequently help improve water management
and the environment of the river basins, reduce cross border water pollution, promote natural heritage and
support local organic farming. The project takes into consideration the needs of the incoming tourist, that
will come to these areas for boat adventures and fulfil expectations of local communities in borderlands,
and the low water table and the ecological perspective, which call for the use of smaller boats with
basic facilities. The final outcome of the project will be a spatial plan proposal for local and/or national
authorities in study areas.
The project aims at reducing the gap between the Eastern and Western part of the Danube River, regarding
economic disparities and environmental problems. This gap can be reduced by introducing Artificial
Green Floating Islands in the Danube region, with the following objectives: improvement of water quality
using specific plants that purify the water to be used in agriculture, attraction of tourists to the less developed
countries to make a profit, opening of new jobs for young and inexperienced people, creation for the
local people of public places where they can get together and socialize. The introduction of the Artificial
Green Floating Islands would also change how people and countries of the area perceive the Danube
River turning it from a natural border into a centre for social interaction between different coastal states.