Press release: CEE 10 year celebration

Posted: 2008-10-20

BUDAPEST, 6 October - Global Water Partnership Central and Eastern Europe (GWP CEE) celebrates its 10th anniversary today, presenting results of major achievements over the past decade.

Since its establishment in 1998, GWP CEE has organised several thematic dialogues including Vision for Action, Financial Flows, Water, Food and Environment, Gender and IWRM Planning. The results were synthesised and presented at World Water Forums. To take stock of the results achieved since the Hague Forum, a regional stakeholder meeting was held in March 2001 in Budapest, Hungary. A Ministerial Declaration was adopted at the meeting welcoming, amongst other things, the initiative of the GWP to promote integrated water resource management in the region.

GWP CEE was one of the coordinators of Europe Day at the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan. During the Forum, GWP CEE was involved in various meetings such as Tool Box sessions, the World Panel on Financing Water Infrastructure and others. According to GWP Regional Chair for CEE, Liviu Nicolae Popescu, “Dialogues are a central GWP CEE activity. We have used dialogues – facilitated conversations among groups with often disparate views – to discuss complex water management issues with a notable success”, says Popescu.

During 2006-2007, GWP CEE used national dialogues to organise a series of IWRM Policy Dialogues, responding to national water priorities in 12 countries of the region. There has been a steady increase in interest for public participation, as well as recognition for it on different governance levels, in a wide range of sectors and contexts, including environmental management. To respond to this, GWP CEE established the Public Participation Task Force. The major achievements include organisation of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) Stakeholder Conference in 2005 and annual celebrations of 29 June as Danube Day with international celebrations in Zaragoza Water Expo in 2008.

GWO CEE identified a gap of 20 Million EU citizens who lack safe and affordable sanitation

This was done by an international specialist task force publishing its findings in the book, Sustainable Sanitation in Central and Eastern Europe: Addressing the Needs of Small and Medium-Size Settlements. This action was also well timed to contribute to the International Year of Sanitation 2008. Since 2003, there has been an ongoing study on flash floods under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) / GWP Associated Programme on Floods Management. One of the most recent achievements, “Guidance on Flash Flood Management-Recent Experiences from CEE”, has been published and provides easily accessible guidance on flash flood management to mayors, provincial administrators and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Service.

In the region, the GWP ToolBox is instrumental in supporting knowledge exchange on integrated water resources management approaches towards sustainable water resources development, management and use. “Over the next years, GWP Central and Eastern Europe plans to undertake several initiatives including increased multi-sectoral dialogues, and raising political will for extended application of IWRM principle, says Milan Matuška, GWP CEE Regional Coordinator.

Notes to Editors:

Background to water situation in CEE region

The region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), covered by GWP, has a total area of over 2.03 million km2 and is mostly located in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea basins. Rivers in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland discharge their flows to the Eastern Baltic Sea. The second group of countries – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine – is located in the Danube River basin which flows into the Black Sea. Water resources in the CEE region are important for the development of its countries, providing water for consumption, sanitation, irrigation, industrial use, navigation, fishing, recreation, and other purposes. Ecosystems depending on water form the backbone of the region’s biodiversity including lakes, river basins, wetlands, coastal areas and groundwater.

Throughout the region many water ecosystems have suffered from degradation or are threatened by pollution, overuse of surface and groundwater and habitat losses. The application of integrated approaches to water management, use and development, which meets the demands of the population, and satisfies the needs of water ecosystems, remains a key challenge.

Background to the GWP CEE

Global Water Partnership Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is an inclusive platform for organizations promoting the practical implementation of Integrated Water Resources

Management (IWRM). In Central and Eastern Europe, GWP helped to establish the interim Technical Advisory Committee (CEE TAC) in 1998, involving ten CEE countries - Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. CEE TAC held dialogues in all ten CEE countries in 1999 involving 500 stakeholders to discuss the most compelling water issues in the region.

Prior to the World Water Forum in the Hague, the interim CEE TAC developed a Regional Water Vision up to the year 2025 that was generated in a dialogue with water specialists, policy makers, the private sector, NGOs, governments and civil society. In addition, it developed a regional Framework for Action (FFA) which brings the vision closer to reality and sets out a path, a direction to achieve a sustainable water future. The completed report was presented at the second World Water Forum in the Hague, The Netherlands in March 2000.

In 2003, the CEE Technical Advisory Committee was transformed into the Regional Water Partnership (GWP CEE) consisting of 10 Country Water Partnerships. Currently, GWP CEE network spans over to 12 countries including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. The GWP CEE Secretariat rotates among member countries and is located in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Background to the GWP

The Global Water Partnership (GWP), established in 1996, is an international network open to all organizations involved in water resources management: developed and developing country government institutions, agencies of the United Nations, bi-and multilateral development banks, professional associations, research institutions, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. GWP was created to foster Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), which aims to ensure the coordinated development and management of water, land, and related resources by maximizing economic and social welfare - without compromising the sustainability of vital environmental systems. The GWP provides a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue at global, regional, national and local levels to promote integrated approaches towards more sustainable water resources development, management and use.

GWP has established a network of regional partnerships in Central America, Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Caucasus, China, Eastern Africa, Mediterranean, Pacific, South America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and West Africa.. The GWP Secretariat is located in Stockholm, Sweden. The GWP mission is to support countries in the sustainable management of their water resources.

For further information, please contact:

Richard Muller
GWP CEE Regional Secretariat
Communication Officer
Telephone: (+421 2) 5941 5294 / Mobile: (+421 915) 130 958

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