New President and ambitious aims for the CCNR, starting in 2012


2012 marks the start of two years of a French Presidency for the Central Commission, with Ms Edwige Belliard, member of the French Council of State and Director of Legal Affairs at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, taking up her post on 1 January.

The challenges and opportunities on the horizon for the next two years are sizeable, and the French Presidency intends to mobilise all the necessary energy and skills to meet them to the best possible advantage. The aims of the new Presidency in this respect were presented at the last plenary session, held in November 2011. They are centred on seven ambitious projects.

  • Priority is to be given to modernising the system of qualifications for inland navigation personnel, with a view to counteracting the structural shortage of qualified personnel.
  • Emphasis will also be placed on navigation safety and waterway reliability. A guide containing good practices directed at waterway users could constitute an initial element in response to these issues. Efforts will also be continued in developing the river information systems and harmonising river and maritime standards in Europe.
  • The Central Commission will also make efforts to increase the efficiency and the transparency of cooperation in inland navigation at the European level. This mainly involves looking into ways of improving methods for cooperation with the European Commission.
  • Particular attention will also be paid to strengthening cooperation with various other players, including not only the river commissions but also the Danube States, as it is felt there is too little such cooperation at present.
  • The topic of sustainable development will be another focal point of the French Presidency, embodied in the organisation of a congress on the theme of inland navigation as a “green” means of transport.
  • Another important area of activity during the French Presidency will be the setting up of an inland navigation observatory. The Central Commission has already developed considerable competence in this field, and the aim is to gradually expand its market observation mission to include data of any kind related to inland navigation.
  • Lastly, the Commission will be looking at issues connected with the henceforth global dimension of inland navigation. The World Water Forum to be held in Marseille next March will offer a good opportunity for exchanging ideas on an international scale

These various aims will be incorporated both in the working programmes assigned to the CCNR’s various committees and in the actions developed by its Secretariat.