Planning processes should include an inventory of wetlands and other aquatic sites that remove pollutants, reduce flood damages and/or supply food and shelter for fish and wildlife. Environmental, economic, and quality-of-life values of these areas should be assessed, their location and areal extent determined, historic losses estimated, adverse consequences of past losses evaluated, and priorities for conservation and restoration ranked.
The biodiversity and natural heritage values of the Danube basin have become significantly degraded through pollution, canalization, dam construction, the draining of wetlands and the loss of natural dynamics. In the early 1980s the governments of the Danube region recognized some of these problems. In 1985 the [Bucharest Declaration on Water Management of the Danube] was signed in which the countries agreed to protect the Danube and its tributaries from pollution, and in 1991 the [Environment Programme for the Danube River Basin] was agreed. The [Green Danube Programme] was developed by WWF in 1992 as a further contribution to resolving the environmental problems in the Danube basin. Since 1992, the [Danube Delta Biodiversity Project] has been launched and nine countries have agreed the [Convention on Cooperation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the Danube River]. The Programme's objectives are: (1) to halt the increasing destruction of the Danube and to ensure the protection of the most valuable remaining floodplain areas; (2) to conserve the basin's biodiversity; (3) to reduce water pollution; (4) to secure the safe supply of drinking water for 20 million people; and (5) to ensure the protection and sustainable management of the ancient floodplain forests. The Programme is composed of five major projects which are intended to serve as examples of restoration of wetland habitat, namely the Isar estuary, the central Danube multilateral park, the Gemenc-Beda protected areas, the Bulgarian islands and the Danube Delta. The projects are carried out in cooperation with governments, WWF national and regional offices and local partner organizations.