Over one million barriers on Europe's rivers have resulted in extensive loss of river connectivity, and 70-90 % of Europe's floodplain areas are ecologically degraded due to human modifications. Despite having an ambitious EU policy framework in place, implementation of freshwater and transitional water ecosystem restoration is lagging behind. Reasons for this lie among others in the lack of knowledge, awareness and participation of local people and business actors. The overall goal of DANUBE4all (a 5-year Innovation Action funded by the EU) is the development of a comprehensive Restoration Action Plan for the Danube River basin developed in an unprecedented co-creation process with stakeholders, integrating citizens' interests to support the EU Mission "Restore our ocean and waters by 2030". Based on solid scientific knowledge and new findings, the Action Plan will promote the improvement of ecological status, biodiversity and ecosystem connectivity as well as adaptation to climate change.
To achieve this overall goal, the following objectives guide the project:
- Advance knowledge of the Danube River system towards enhanced environmental integrity of habitats and main species and improved biodiversity
- Contribute to the expansion of free-flowing rivers by identifying and implementing restoration measures to reduce artificial river flow barriers
- Promote innovative win-win nature-based solutions for floodplain, lagoon and river restoration to strengthen protection of communities and ecosystems against flood and drought risks under climate change
- Build robust evidence on the success of win-win nature-based solutions for freshwater and transitional water restoration via demonstration and knowledge exchange
- Contribute to effective and economically profitable ecosystem restoration and sustainable ecosystem use in the Danube basin using business cases and ecosystem service assessment
- Strengthen public acceptance and interest in freshwater ecosystem restoration by applying Citizen Science, training and communication activities in the Danube River basin and in Associated Regions
- Promote a wide uptake, upscaling and replication of win-win nature-based solutions for freshwater and transitional water ecosystem restoration in- and outside the Danube River basin.
DANUBE4all will implement innovative demonstration activities at three sites in the Upper, Middle Danube and the Danube Delta. The project will link ecological and economic benefits providing tailored business cases for SMEs and will deliver innovative tools to accelerate citizens' and stakeholders' engagement. DANUBE4all will provide GIS and Citizen Science tools for upscaling these restoration actions via ten Synergy Sites to the Danube Basin, and will also transfer the outcomes to five Associated Regions for further replication of restoration action.
The role of Ecologic Institute
Ecologic Institute contributes to work package WP7 on the development of an integrative Danube Basin Restoration Action Plan as well as Replication Roadmaps for Associated Regions to enable the upscaling of innovative restoration solutions from the Danube4all demonstration sites to other areas in the Danube basin and to other European basins.