RiverLab is a working group of stakeholders established by the Danube Fund.  

The RiverLab working group of stakeholders was established in 2016. Its focus is the territory of the Danube River in Slovakia, which consists of the Danube and the Small Danube. These two streams form a river island, the biggest in Europe that is called Žitný ostrov. This is the origin for the name of this working group: RiverLab Žitný ostrov and its Surroundings. The central zone in Bratislava is not included due to its mainly urban character and the difference and complexity of stakeholder relations in this area.

The members of this group are various stakeholders: public authorities (regions and municipalities), public organizations and companies responsible for water related issues (flood risk management, hydropower sector, transport and environmental protection), tourism organizations and businesses (refining and tourism), sport associations and NGOs (boating, angling, and environmental protection). In 2018 nominees of three concerned ministries joined the working group (environment, transport and agriculture).






The working group has formulated a future vision of the Danube River areas, that is in accordance with the mission of the Danube Fund:
The area of the Danube and the Small Danube should become a purposefully maintained and developed space for meaningful recreation and relaxation, in long-term symbiosis with other human activities and nature. The aim is to achieve a higher quality of physical space in accordance with the unique natural environment. This is achievable by creating a sense of shared space and community and tighter relations between stakeholders, communities and people on the river.

One of the recommendations the group agreed on is the need to set up a governance model that would be working on a long-term basis, dealing with challenges of the river locations of the Danube in Slovakia with the perspective to develop into a cross-border platform (Hungary and Austria).

In 2017, the discussion document of the working group was created with the title:
Six keys to unlock the potential of the river.
It proposed a set of measures that should be taken to achieve a better quality of physical space along the Danube River.


The measures are divided into six thematic areas (keys):

  1. Connect the unconnected
    The smooth and enjoyable movement on water and land is not an unreachable luxury. Concrete measures in different locations were proposed.
  2. Keep the oases, but comprehend the complexity
    We have unique natural and landscape values ​​that deserve our care. Revitalization of riverbanks in locations where there is no high risk of flooding, and overall improvement of environmental conditions of the river life.
  3. Higher safety and giving the rules a real importance
    An opportunity to transfer expertise from our mountains to the river (e.g. improving the rescue and information services).
  4. Determining common criteria for the evaluation of plans
    This is not an all-encompassing plan, but the coordination of procedures and plans.
  5. Invest meaningfully and multiply the effect of investments
    Resources are never sufficient, the more we need to think about how we use them.
  6. Improve the cooperation and exchange of experience
    We do not use all the possibilities yet.

The discussion document was presented to all relevant decision makers in the territory. The proposed measures were subject of a discussion of state secretaries of three ministries on the stage of the Danube Fund Forum in 2018. For the next period, the realization of some proposed measures is planned (e.g. information platform for the community on the river, code of conduct for the development of the river areas).

Learn more about our activities in the interview with Juraj Čorba, the initiator and creator of the Danube Fund. 

Partners of the RiverLab working group: