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August 4, 2012 / landscapeiskingston

CALL FOR POLITICAL PRESENCE AT FINAL ‘Waterways Forward’ CONFERENCE

Drazen Lovric, HEAD OF DEPARTMENT FOR COOPERATION OF DANUBE REGION COUNTRIES, Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Serbia highlights the importance of political presence at the final  ‘Waterways Forward’ conference to be held in Paris. 

A general observation could be that partner institutions and their representatives in EU financed project meetings are mainly technicians and civil servants. Experience shows that it takes a lot of preparation, a lot of debate and a lot of expertise during the project implementation timeline. However, there is a missing link, namely the politicians.

In many European Union projects there is a whole lot of energy and expertise which is not turned into real outcomes or results either on regional or local scale. The reason is that the political structures were not introduced with the project existence or were uninformed about its potentials.

‘Waterways Forward’ project’s closing meeting in Paris shall be the perfect time to make politicians and community leaders aware of the inland waterways potentials, whether we talk about governance, climate change, tourism or heritage.  Many political figures do not realise two closely related aspects: the seriousness of the inland waterways challenges and it’s a key concern of socio-economic development in many countries. By inviting politicians to join our final meeting, we offer them a unique opportunity to get involved and learn more about waterways.

We shall more effectively put political pressure on leaders to strengthen waterway policies, step up commitment and follow on past promises. That is why different political structures need to hear findings and solutions derived from our joint two and a half year long project implementation.”

Waterways Forward partners from Spain, the Netherlands, France, England and Serbia visited Vojvodina (Serbia) to take part in one of a series of transfer visits within the project.  The transfer event , supported and financed under the European INTEREG IVC Programme, took place at the administrative building of the Public Water Management Company (PWMC) “Vode Vojvodine”  in Novi Sad on Monday, 30 May 2011.

The sessions were opened by Prof. Attila Szalvai, PhD, Director of PWMC “Vode Vojvodine,

The sessions were opened by Prof. Attila Szalvai, PhD, Director of PWMC “Vode Vojvodine, Dušanka Sremaki, Provincial Secretary for Urbanism, Construction and Environmental Protection, Predrag Novikov, Director of European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina and Nico van Lamsweerde, Lead partner of “Waterways Forward”.

The meeting looked at the EU’s Danube strategy and how commercial and recreational development in their particular region can be achieved.   Partners contributed their experiences in tourism, heritage marketing and multifunctional use of waterways.

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2 Comments

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  1. Di Murrell / Aug 4 2012 3:04 pm

    How prescient the call for political presence and how unlikely that any really committed response to the call will be forthcoming.

    Take France for example: this is a country with the most integrated waterways system in mainland Europe but the least political interest or input at national level. Why is this? Many reasons: historical, social and economic but largely because the French themselves have no interest in inland boating.

    How extraordinary that one of France’s last great resources which could be developed for leisure and tourism, generate thousands of jobs in related service and other industries and allow many ordinary people to spend their leisure time pursuing an interest which keeps them healthy and active well into their retirement years is given no consideration at the highest political level.

    The French government tries to hand down its waterways to local departments and authorities who have no idea how to run and maintain or pay for them. The navigation authority is largely regionalised and what it does in terms of maintenance varies from area to area. In any case spending money locally on the development of ‘honey pot’ sites without being party to an overall long-term strategy to develop and maintain the whole system is pointless.

    It needs recognition of the potential of the waterways network and political determination at the highest level to to create that strategy. In France we simply watch this hugely important national resource being wasted because the top politicians are just not interested in saving it.

    • Geza / Feb 18 2013 6:39 pm

      We can be happy and proud in Serbia, that we have the Danube, that is positioned in central and South Europe, where the Summer swimming season is 5-6 moths, long, the river is clean enough, wide and slow flowing, and it is an internationaly water highway connecting 6-7 countries and more. So, opening towards life on the Danube river bank, has both busines, leisure, and turistic conotations. citizens come here in hundreds of thousand every day during the season to spend time by the river, boating is quite widespread, it is the standard of living that keeps the investors away in investing in the infrastructure, and facilities, as locals can not afford a high style life, and least to the majority of them. As for shipping and cargo, docking, there is a lot to be done,especially in Novi Sad, where there should be a cargo peer, that accepts embarking and disembarking of high load freight, containers, raw materials, and liquid cargo.

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