Athens, 24 June 2011 – 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.
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: http://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.
Specific actions by country:
Throughout June, Coca‑Cola Hellenic will be playing a vital role, as a member of the Green Danube Partnership, in organising events in 10 countries in which it operates, including:
Austria– Activities focused on the importance of water and the river as a natural habitat are taking place at locations within the Danube National Park and at Milser Au, Tyrol, at the river Inn, an important tributary of the Danube.
Bulgaria– On Danube Day the results of a national essay competition on the theme of ‘water’ will be announced, with the winner receiving a nine-day cruise along the Danube.
Croatia – ‘Our Beautiful Sava’, a national campaign promoting river conservation and sustainable business and tourism along the Sava River, a Danube tributary, comes to a climax on Danube Day. Activities include four city fairs, films, children’s workshops and the creation of a Nautical Tourism Atlas.
Czech Republic – Celebrations are centred on efforts to protect the river basin of the Morava, a Danube tributary. A programme is being conducted to introduce the Danube Box, to schools along the Morava, while young artists took part in an art competition with a river protection theme, with the winner to be announced on Danube Day.
Hungary – June has been declared "Danube Month". To ensure residents of Budapest would know about the month-long celebration, a tram which runs along the banks of the river was painted ‘Danube blue’ and carries the message ‘Let the Danube be the Talk of the Town’. Events linked to the river are being held in June in Budapest, including an 11-stop nature trail along the banks of the Danube, lectures examining the restoration of the Danube’s wetlands and a three-day conference for young people on challenges facing the Danube and its development.
Romania – A festival celebrating the folklore, ethnographic traditions and gastronomy of the Danube Delta is taking place in Tulcea count designed to promote local customs and support the development of eco-tourism projects. A roundtable will be held to discuss the challenges the river faces.
Serbia – Twenty-six towns will join the central celebrations taking place in Belgrade, reflecting the fact that 92% of Serbia’s territory lies within the Danube Basin.
Slovakia – Educational trips along the Danube for 3,000 people, with a focus on the flora and fauna of the river, also looking at the Danube’s importance as a source of power generation, with a trip to the largest hydropower plant at Gabčíkovo Waterworks.
Slovenia – Danube Day will feature an exhibition of entries to the ‘You Are My River’ competition to find the best photo-story about the country’s rivers and their conservation which was open to all Slovenian schools.
Ukraine – Symbolic unveiling of commemorative plaques at the source of the Tisza, 1,240m above sea level in the Carpathian mountains, along with numerous competitions, a music concert and press conference to mark the occasion.
About Coca‑Cola Hellenic
Coca‑Cola Hellenic is the second-largest bottler of products of The Coca‑Cola Company in terms of volume with sales of more than 2 billion unit cases. It has broad geographic footprint with operations in 28 countries serving a population of more than 560 million people. Coca‑Cola Hellenic offers a diverse range of ready-to-drink non-alcoholic beverages in the sparkling, juice, water, sport, energy, tea and coffee categories. Coca‑Cola Hellenic is committed to promoting sustainable development in order to create value for its business and for society. This includes providing products that meet the beverage needs of consumers, fostering an open and inclusive work environment, conducting our business in ways that protect and preserve the environment and contribute to the socio-economic development of our local communities.
Coca‑Cola Hellenic‘s shares are listed on the Athens Exchange (ATHEX: EEEK), with a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: CCB). Coca‑Cola Hellenic’s American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CCH). Coca‑Cola Hellenic is included in the Dow Jones Sustainability and FTSE4Good Indexes. For more information, please visit www.coca-colahellenic.com
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