Kick-off conference of the WACOM project (October 16, 2020)

end:  16.10.2020.start:  16.10.2020.
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The Kick-off conference of the WACOM project was held due to Covid-19 crisis via teleconference on October 16, 2020 aiming that the wider public get the basic information on the Project, Danube Strategy, and Interreg Danube Transnational Programme. The conference gathered more than 70 participants from the project partners, the ministries, directorates, water agencies, hydrometeorological institutes, local authorities, enterprises and international organizations.

The conference started with the welcome speech of Dragan Zeljko, the Secretary of the International Sava River Basin Commission who stressed the importance of the project for implementation of three protocols to the Framework agreement on the Sava River Basin; Protocol on flood protection (entered in force in 2015), Protocol on prevention of water pollution caused by navigation (entered into force in 2017) and protocol on emergency situations (harmonization at the beginning of 2021).

After the welcome speech, the Primož Banovec (UL- the Lead Partner), introduced the main facts of the WACOM projects (main objectives, results, outputs). He stressed that the project was approved for co-financing by the Danube Transnational Programme under the Priority 2 and the programme priority specific objective SO 2.4 Improve preparedness for environmental risk management. The particular technical work packages were presented by the project partners responsible for coordination of the each, i.e. Robert Mikac (AZUR) - WP T1- Explore and Define Joint Preparedness and Response, Primož Banovec (UL) - WP T2 – Develop Joint Preparedness and response Toolbox, Ambrož Božiček (HESS) - WP T3 – Verify Joint Preparedness and Response- pilot implementation, and  Dušan Kostić(JCI) - WP T4 – Strategy for the Implementation of Coordinated Preparedness and Response.

The panel discussion which followed the introduction of the project and the work packages was focused to three main issues: (i) international cooperation in accident pollution and flood management, (ii) cross-sectoral cooperation in accident pollution and flood management and (iii) potential impact of WACOM project to transboundary accident pollution and flood management. The panellists were the representatives from different fields on navigation: Duška Kunštek (Ministarstvo mora, prometa i infrastrukture - HR), on water management: Mitja Bricelj (Ministrstvo za okolje in prostor- SI), on flood protection: Biljana Savić (JVP Srbijavode - RS), on civil protection: Almir Beridan (Ministarstvo Sigurnosti – BA) and on international: Adam Kovacs (ICPDR).

The panel discussion could be summarized in three main messages:

  1. The social dimension of the WACOM project should be equally addressed as the technical dimension.
  2. It is important to establish the trust within different stakeholders and structures covering water management, flood protection, navigation, and civil protection.
  3. The WACOM project should ensure that the existing efforts which have already been lodged in development of Sava GIS and Sava FFWS (human, money and time) would be upgraded beyond the project timeframe (ensure sustainability) and beyond the basin (as an example for other river basins in Europe).

At the end of the kick- off conference the participants were invited to follow the project activities via web, Facebook and Twitter and actively participate in the planned workshops, trainings, and events at national and regional level.

More information on the Kick-off conference is available at the WACOM DTP website