The Drin Dialogue which aims to establish a Shared Vision for the management of the extended Drin River Basin, was launched on December 1st 2009, at a meeting that took place in Podgorica.

The Meeting was co-organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med), the Government of Montenegro and the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE), with the financial support of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

The presentations and discussions focused on: (i) the current and planned management status of the Drin sub-basins, (ii) the context and activities of the Drin Dialogue, (iii) the settings of the Drin Core Group (scope, objectives and structure, basic work-plan), (vi) the Situation Analysis of the Drin Basin, (v) its aim, modalities and eventual synergies for its preparation.

The Meeting established a coordinating body, the Drin Core Group and MIO-ECSDE as a Federation of NGOs was included as member of this group. The Drin Core Group is composed of representatives of the ministries responsible for water management in the riparian countries, as well as formal and informal joint structures established in the shared river basin (the Prespa, Ohrid and Shkoder Lakes), UNECE and GWP-Med.

In the morning session of the meeting an opening brief statement was made by Mr. Milan Vogrin, Member of MIO-ECSDE’s Executive Bureau, in which he gave a description of MIO-ECSDE’s identity, its goal and objectives. He highlighted the fact that MIO-ECSDE has a number of member organizations, national and local, who have various competences and expertise on water issues, and have followed closely the evolution of civil society involvement and contribution in the Danube, Drin and Sava, river or lake basins. Furthermore, he expressed MIO-ECSDE’s commitment to support the Drin Dialogue process by contributing to the establishment of a common understanding and shared vision and enhancing the ability and capacity of NGOs to act in such transboundary initiatives in a constructive way. Later on, in the intervention made by MIO-ECSDE representative Ms. Thomais Vlachogianni, MIO-ECSDE’s previous actions and activities addressing issues of transboundary water resources management in South Eastern Europe in the framework of the Petersberg Phase II/Athens Declaration Process and within GEF IW:LEARN, were briefly presented.

MIO-ECSDE as a direct follow up of these previous actions and in the frame of its new role in the Drin Core Group will make the links with other important regional programmes it participates in as a catalyst in mobilizing and involving the civil society in the beneficiary countries of Southeastern Europe, such as the GEF Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Large Marine Ecosystem and the Horizon 2020 Initiative to De-pollute the Mediterranean by the year 2020.