Experience Note: International Development of NGOs: Danube Environmental Forum (DEF)
The Danube Environmental Forum (DEF) is a network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which is dedicated to protecting the Danube River and its tributaries, their biodiversity and national resources by enhancing cooperation among governments and stakeholders. Targeting pollution reduction and transboundary cooperation in the same basin, the UNDP-GEF Danube Regional Project (DRP) has worked to build and strengthen the DEF regional NGO network and to establish a Regional Secretariat to coordinate its widespread, multi-country activities and projects. DEF now has a strong Secretariat, 174 member organizations and national focal points from 13 Danube countries. Activities such as an annual basin-wide Danube Day as well as their participation in the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River Basin (ICPDR) are among its successes. DEF challenges included selecting a small set of common issues to focus network efforts and developing financial sustainability. DRP seed funding to support such efforts and institution-building was critical for the DEF and its members to reach new heights in positive regional impact. Through a similar process, other projects and NGO networks can take advantage of regional economies of scale and networking to support public involvement across their transboundary water basins.
05 Jan 2015