More than 81 million people in Central and Eastern Europe will unite to preserve, protect and celebrate the river that connects their countries on 29 June, when the eighth annual Danube Day takes place.
Danube Day is the largest river festival in the world and highlights conservation efforts along the course of the river Danube and within the wider Danube Basin which includes more than 300 tributaries. As a founder member of the Green Danube Partnership*, Coca-Cola Hellenic plays a key role in the increasingly broad series of awareness-raising activities ranging from local festivities to major international campaigns. A list of events by country is available here www.coca-colahellenic.com
In developing and staging celebrations, the Green Danube Partnership works together with governments, NGOs, educational institutions and local authorities. Since the partnership was launched in 2005, it has raised awareness of the need to conserve vital water resources through a broad range of performances, exhibitions, competitions and the distribution of educational material. It has been especially keen to actively engage citizens in hands-on activities such as cleaning riverbanks, removing and recycling waste from waterways and rehabilitating wildlife habitats.
Ulrike Gehmacher, Group Public Affairs and Communication Manager at Coca-Cola Hellenic, explained: "Rivers are a particular focus for our conservation efforts. The Danube is an iconic waterway which has played a key role in the history and culture of many of the countries Coca-Cola Hellenic operates in, which is why we are so committed to efforts to protect and preserve it.
"Passing through 10 countries and four capital cities, more than any other river in the world, the Danube and its tributaries transcend national boundaries. It is heartening to see this is being mirrored in the annual celebration of Danube Day and in ever-greater cross border cooperation to conserve this vital water source and ecological hotspot."
This year the Danube Day celebrations will pay special attention to the Tisza Basin, an important Danube tributary. In an example of the cross border collaboration that Danube Day embodies, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Hungary will be celebrating their international cooperation in the Tisza Basin. Each country will place a memorial plaque at the source of the mighty river in the Carpathians near Rakhiv in Ukraine, in recognition of the progress made working together for the Tisza.
Every year, a particular focus for Danube Day activities is to inspire school pupils to be aware of the river's importance. Schools throughout the Danube Basin were able to take part in the Danube Art Master competition to create sculptures and images from materials collected at river banks. Two winners from each of the 14 countries that celebrate Danube Day will be announced on the day itself.
Since its creation, the award-winning Danube Box, an educational toolkit developed to inform future generations about the importance of resource conservation and water management, has been translated and specifically tailored for each country. The toolkit, which includes interactive materials, maps and games was launched to offer a holistic approach and raise pupils' awareness about the protection of the Danube and its wise and sustainable use. The individual translations are available online at www.danubebox.org
Danube Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Danube River Protection Convention in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 29 June, 1994.
To find out more about the numerous Danube Day events, please visit: www.danubeday.org
Notes to Editors
* The Green Danube Partnership seeks to protect and preserve the Danube – one of the world's most endangered rivers – its tributaries, and the natural habitats through which they flow. Since 2005, the Partnership has helped restore wetlands, providing critical habitat for flora and fauna, and supported better river basin management, as well as leading extensive public awareness campaigns.
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