The provision of water and wastewater services is essential for the people of the Danube region. Although the region has generally a high level of basic access to water and sanitation services, the effectiveness and efficiency of those services does not always meet international standards. A recent regional review (State of the Sector report, World Bank, 2015) identified the need to strengthen the capacity of professional staff working in the sector in a number of countries in the region. In part this is due to staff and management turnover following political changes, and in part due to limited professional development and training opportunities. The Danube Learning Partnership (D-LeaP) is designed as a regional, integrated and sustainable capacity building initiative of national water utility associations and IAWD, the International Association of Water Service Companies in the Danube River Catchment Area, and provides a comprehensive curriculum to the staff of water and wastewater utilities located in the Danube region. D-LeaP has been established as a committee of IAWD, composed of representatives of national water utility associations in the region.
The primary target audience of D-LeaP programs consists of the water and wastewater utility companies of the countries in the Danube region and their management and technical staff. Out of the 17 countries that are covered by D-LeaP, utilities in 12 countries are expected to have a particular interest in D-LeaP programs based on the level of development of their utility sector: those are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine.