Diary entryDiary entry
2007-09-06 Philip Weller presenting the JDS2 promo materials to Nikola Marjanovic.jpg
Philip Weller presents a JDS2 T-shirt to Serbia's Nikola Marjanovic
2007-09-06 Press conference was well attended by all major media in Serbia.jpg
The well-attended press conference in Belgrade
2007-09-06 Vesna Micic giving a presentation to the students.jpg
Vesna Micic gives local students the Argus tour
2007-09-06 Branko Velimirov is overtaking the tasks of Alexander Kirschner fo rthe seconf part of the survey.jpg
Passing on the duties half-way, from Alexander Kirschner to Branko Velimirov
2007-09-05 Sieving sediments late evening in Belgrade.jpg
More late-night sample processing for Hana Hudcova
Location map

Thank-you SerbiaThank-you Serbia

Location: Belgrade, Serbia
The highlight on September 6 was the press conference in Serbia's capital city on the Danube, Belgrade. Before the press conference began, a group of some 40 scientifically-minded local students had a tour on-board, led by Vesna Micic - a Serbian-born post-doctorate student at the University of Vienna. She is helping out the JDS2 Team with sediment sampling from Baja, Hungary to the Bulgarian border, as well as using some of the samples for her own research.

The 11:00 press conference was very well-attended by media, including Serbia's main TV stations, as well as Serbian water management stakeholders. Serbian and German representatives involved in an EU twinning project regarding effective Water Framework Directive (i.e. the EU's water protection legislation) implementation were also present, as was the Danube Commission President, Ambassador Milovan Bosinovic.

Nikola Marjanovic, Director of the Directorate for Water in Serbia's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, as well as Serbia's Head of Delegation to the ICPDR, introduced the JDS2 to the journalists, noting his pride that his country had donated the Argus research ship to the survey.

The importance of the JDS2 work and results for improving the water quality of the Danube River, as well as its main tributaries in Serbia including the Sava and Tisa, and the Danube-Tisa-Danube Canal, was emphasized by Dusan Pajkic, Assistant Minister in Serbia's Ministry of Environment.

Dorde Bobic, the City of Belgrade's Chief Architect, noted how the 10 km section of the Danube passing through Belgrade, as well as Ratno Island, was currently under-used. Given that the City was now taking significant efforts to make the Danube area more attractive to residents and tourists, improved water quality is an essential ingredient and the work of the JDS2 was key to achieving this status.

ICPDR Executive Secretary Philip Weller noted that, while the technical component of the JDS2 is very important, so was its contribution to raising public awareness. For this reason, the slogan for the survey is "Watch your Danube". He also thanked all of the contributing Serbian government agencies and institutes for their excellent assistance.

The news of the ships reaching the half-way point of the survey the day before, at 1206 km from the survey's end, was announced by JDS2 Team Leader Bela Csanyi. Finally, Serbian biologist and JDS2 Core Team member Momir Paunovic emphasized the Serbian contributions alongside that of the Argus ship, especially those made by institutes such as the University of Belgrade, Hydrometeorological Institute of Serbia and Biological Institute of Sinisa Stankovic.

After the conference

Journalists were brought aboard the Argus for a tour and sampling demonstrations. The JDS2 team then received samples that had been collected from the Sava River - three by the Serbian National Team, and one by a representative from the Sava Commission from the Sava in Croatia.

The evening was spent in a beautiful restaurant in the district of Zemun, Belgrade, thanks to support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, and the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, where reaching the survey's half-way point was again celebrated. And appreciation was expressed to the Austrian trio of biologist Patrick Leitner, microbiologist Alexander Kirschner and air-left sampling expert Stefan Steiner, who left the JDS2 ships to continue related efforts back home. They were replaced, respectively, by Austria's Wolgang Graf, Branko Velimirov and Richard Niederreiter.

Next stop, Smederevo for sampling!

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