SONDAR: Sustainability in the Danube Region


The EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) joins the living environment of 14 nations and more than 115 millions of people into a sphere of activity for common visions, projects and initiatives. By means of the SONDAR sustainability network (Sustainable Operations Network in the Danube Region), the Working Community of the Danube Regions joins four sectors of priority of the EUSDR, "biodiversity and soil quality / knowledge and society / competitiveness / people and qualifications", into a comprehensive project area. It is a matter of implementing practical examples in close cooperation between science, economy, municipal partners of the Soil and Land Alliance, in connection with creation of broader awareness, which may contribute to sustainable improvement of conditions of life, work and economy in the Danube regions.

The Sustainability Working Group of the Working Community of the Danube Regions initiates and supports international projects and cooperation. Experts from all over Europe held a conference at the Tulln University and Research Center. The projects SONDAR and "SoPro - SOCIAL PRODUCTION", subsidized by the European Union, cooperate with more than 20 partner organizations from Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in practical implementation projects and in the establishment of a sustainability network in the Danube region.

Rector Martin Gerzabek, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna; Peter de Martin, Secretary General of the Working Community of the Danube Regions, and Hans Peter Herdlitschka, representative of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the currently presiding region, opened this event. Virgil Vrajmasu brought the first Romanian soil colour to Tulln, extracted from the sandy soil of the municipality of Nufaru in the Danube Delta.

As main lecturer, Brian Oldreive from Zimbabwe, initiator of "Foundation for Farming" and currently occupied on a worldwide scale with training and education of prospective farmers, held his lecture. He showed the great efficiency of simple and targeted cultivation of soil, which has already been founded in the order of creation. Walter Wenzel (BOKU) presented the CASEE Master's Programme for sustainability in agriculture, food production and food technology in the Danube region. This education is also offered at the Tulln BOKU.

SONDAR: Soil conservation and sustainability network in the Danube region
It is the target of SONDAR to establish a network of increasing responsibility for soil: between science and practice, between administration and users of land, between education, arts and the entire population.

Socio-oecological production: Cooperation with social enterprises
Nine project partners from Austria and Hungary operate the project of "SoPro HU-AT - social production for the environment". It is aimed at expanding cooperation oriented along sustainability between economic enterprises, public clients and social enterprises, finding products and services of high quality, developing them and promoting their marketability. The SoPro team has in the meantime performed more than 1,400 contact consultations in the environment of enterprises and public institutions. More than 100 products and services have been implemented.

Coordination with EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR)
More than 100 participants of this conference, divided into four working groups, introduced practical expectations and proposals for future projects in the Danube region. The high-ranking representatives of the EUSDR, Andrea Nasi from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Florian Ballnus from Bavaria, Coordinator of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region for the priority area of "preservation of biodiversity, landscapes and the quality of air and soils", and Hans Peter Herdlitschka, Coordinator for the priority area of "Competitiveness" offered further support.

The next work tasks of SONDAR focus on further firm establishment of a project, which shall be implemented in as many of the 14 Danube countries as possible:

  • Establishment of sustainability network in the Danube regions - broad implementation of the approach „SCIENCE - ALLIANCE - AWARENESS", with the existing partner networks (Soil Strategy Network in the Danube Region / social and economic network of "Socio-oecological production for the environment" / CASSEE - scientific network of Life Science Universities in the Danube Region)
  • Soil map of the Danube regions
  • Soil as an indicator of flood occurrences
  • Measures against soil erosion
  • Soil as a reservoir and filter / humus and regional production of fertilizer
  • Social-integrative and know-how intensive farming
  • Socio-oecological production - sustainable cooperation between economic enterprises, public institutions and social enterprises. Installation and operation of regional consultation structures and an international innovation platform
  • Painting with the Colours of the Earth / painting box from Danube regions
  • Training of "ambassadors of sustainability in the Danube region"

Subject to the resolution of the board, further preliminary works for SONDAR will be performed by the working group and the future lead partner of these projects, the SENEC Association (Soil and Bioenergy Network of European Countries, BIENE). The basis and the "recipe for success" thereof is a long-standing cooperation in the Danube regions, which is oriented along practice and results, states Secretary General Peter de Martin. "The Working Community of the Danube Regions has been in existence for 31 years now. Lower Austria is responsible for the permanent secretariat, and chairs the working groups of science, arts and sustainability. We are pleased with the scientists, generalists, persons with a great deal of practical experience and persons responsible for PR in our team. Across the borders, we have an excellent working atmosphere!"

For further information, please refer to the websites below: / / /



Sustainability Working Group of the Working Community of the Danube Regions, Dr. Erwin Szlezak
phone: +43 (0) 2742 9005 DW 9070 / e-mail:
Lead-Partner of the projects SONDAR und SoPro:
BIENE Association, Soil- and Bioenergy-Network Lower Austria and EU, Bernhard Kuderer MSc, / e-mail:


Download of the Presentations:

Leitbild der ARGE Donauländer

Brian Oldreive - Foundation for Farming, Plan for the poor

Virgil Vrajmasu -  presentation of the first Romanian Soilcolour

Anton Reinl - Agriculture and sustainable land use in Austria

Brian Simpson - the road to 2020

Brian Simpson - anamed, Skin Care For All In Africa

Walter Wenzel - CASEE Report

Erwin Szlezak, Christian Steiner - Working group "Sustainability" and
links to EU Danube Strategy

Szabolcs Hollosi, Franz Rybaczek - Soziale Produktion, Ein nachhaltiger Impuls für Europa?


Photos © Nadja Meister & Verein BIENE - siehe Bildtitel


Flexibles Begrünungsmanagement im Weinbau

Familie Pamperl, 2023 Nappersdorf, Kleinweikersdorf 35

14. - 16.5.2014
ELSA & SONDAR CZ-AT Conference

Multifunction centre Lednice Château

SONDAR CZ-AT Excursion

Researuch Institute for Fodder Crops, Troubsko

Contact AT: 

Bernhard Kuderer, MSc.
Soil and Energy Network of European Countries - BIENE Association

0043 676 751 33 73

Contact CZ:

Antonín Okénka
Municipality of Nová Lhota

0042 0724 168 208