20.09.2012 - UNESCO Venice Office

Towards sustainable sediment management in the Sava River Basin

© J. Nitzsche – Fisherman on the confluence of Sava and Drina

Announced “Practical training course on sustainable sediment management with the Sava River Basin as a showcase” in Zagreb from 15-18 October 2012. The course is part of a joint cooperation among the International Sava River Basin Commission and the UNESCO Venice Office, together with the UNESCO International Sediment Initiative and the European Sediment Network, to bring together the state-of-the-art in scientific and practical knowledge on sustainable sediment management and to share it.

One of the essential parts of the river system is sediment, which forms a variety of habitats and environments. Nevertheless, its important role has somehow been often forgotten and, as a consequence, there are as yet no examples of the fully-fledged integration of sediment management into river basin management. This was a key driver for the establishment by UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of the global International Sediment Initiative (lSI), and for the creation of the European Sediment Network (SedNet) funded by EC DG-Research under the 5th RTD Framework Programme as a Thematic Network. Both lSI and SedNet promote and provide ample arguments for sustainable sediment management (SSM).

The Sava River Basin, a major drainage basin of South-East Europe, is shared by six countries and hosts a population of roughly 8,5 million. Within the implementation of the Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin (FASRB), the Sava countries drafted the Protocol on Sediment Management to the FASRB, to provide a legal basis for future cooperation of the countries on the development of the Sediment Management Plan for the Sava River Basin (Sava SM Plan). The Protocol highlights comparable guiding principles to SSM as those endorsed by lSI and SedNet.

These 'shared' principles set an excellent condition for cooperation among the Sava countries that implement the Protocol, and, for lSI and SedNet to support that implementation through the project entitled “Towards Practical Guidance for Sustainable Sediment Management using the Sava River as a Showcase”. The purpose of the project is to bring together the state-of-the-art in scientific and practical knowledge on SSM and to make that knowledge available through a practical training course.

lSI, German IHP National Committee, International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC), UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe - Venice (Italy), BRGM Geosciences for a sustainable Earth, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Flemish Environment Agency (WMM), Deltares Enabling Delta life and SedNet have contributed to the organization of the course which will be hosted by Croatia, one of the Sava countries, over 4 days in mid-October.

Top experts from Europe and the United States have been invited to teach theoretic fundamentals on sediment balance throughout the river system; sediment monitoring; and, evaluation of sediment quality and quantity. National experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia will present the state-of-the-art for their country.

The course - which connects perfectly to the implementation of the Protocol - aims to train local experts from the Sava River Basin, involved in sediment management. Theory and practice will be combined during the course for participants to transfer their learning experiences into draft practical guidance on how to sustainably manage sediment in the Sava River Basin.




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