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Romania: Danube Delta Integrated Sustainable Development Strategy

December 17, 2014


About the Danube Delta Region

The Danube Delta is one of the continent’s most valuable habitats for specific delta wildlife and biodiversity. Established as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a Ramsar site in 1990, it is the Europe’s second largest delta, and the best preserved of European deltas.

The most significant physical and ecological feature of the Danube Delta is its vast expanse of wetlands, including freshwater marsh, lakes and ponds, streams and channels. With an area of 3,446 km2, is the world’s largest wetland. Only 9% of the area is permanently above water.

The Delta hosts extraordinary biodiversity and provides important environmental services.  It is the home of over 1,200 varieties of plants, 300 species of birds, as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes.

There are 16 strictly protected areas in the delta where no economic activities are allowed, and areas for ecological rehabilitation and buffer zones between economical areas where tourist activities are permitted as long as the environment is protected.

Dual Challenge in Developing the Danube Delta

A dual challenge for the sustainable development of the Danube Delta is the conservation of its ecological assets and improvement of the quality of life for its residents.

The Danube Delta is the largest remaining natural delta in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It is also the only river that is entirely contained within a Biosphere Reserve. It is important to conserve all of its ecological assets.

Danube Delta is perhaps one of the least inhabited regions of temperate Europe, with only about 10,000 people in one town (Sulina) and about 20 scattered villages. Life for the residents of the core Delta is challenging and access to essential social and economic services is limited.

Acute isolation and harsh conditions of living, based mainly on subsistence characterize the Delta. Water transport is often the only option to reach and travel from destinations in the core Delta. The area has lower access to basic services, such as piped water and sewerage, than the neighboring rural areas.

Health and education services are also constrained by inaccessibility and decreasing population. The ecological significance and economic and social challenges of this unique region of the Danube Delta makes it necessary to elaborate an integrated development strategy to guide the sustainable development of the region. Read More