The Programme has the objective of providing a regional approach to environmental management in the Danube River Basin where there is great pressure from a diverse range of human activities. Serious pollution problems exist from urban populations, from industry, and from intensive agricultural practices. Although the water quality of the main Danube river is probably better than the Rhine because of its greater flow, the same is not the case in the tributaries where there the problems are more serious. A factor which makes a compelling case for a regional approach is the deterioration of the Black Sea into which the main Danube river discharges significant loads of nutrients and a range of non-degradable contaminants. The application of limited financial resources will require fine judgement about the high priority pollution sources that will lead to cost-effective improvements. This action, and other technical assistance, also requires a considerable effort to strengthen the organisations having responsibility for environmental management, and to develop effective public participation. The paper emphasises the water pollution problems in the river basin.