GWP at European UNECE Meeting on Transboundary Waters

Posted: 2012-11-29

More than 50 countries and numerous international organizations, including a GWP delegation, met at the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes in Rome, Italy, on 28-30 November 2012.

As a key event in the Water Convention’s development - the Rome meeting is convened on the 20th anniversary since its founding – it will adopt a new programme of work for 2013-2015 to which GWP contributed at the meeting in Geneva in July 2012.

During its high level segment, Mr. Demeti, the Albanian Minister of Environment in his address emphasized that the Memorandum of Understanding for the Drin River Basin was one of the most important achievements in the field of transboundary water resources management for Albania. The Drin MoU was signed in Tirana on 25 November 2011 by the Ministers responsible for water resources and environment management from Albania, FYR Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo and Montenegro, a process which GWP Mediterranean and the UNECE facilitated.

GWP Mediterranean is serving by appointment of the Ministers of the Drin Riparians as the Secretariat of the Drin Core Group, the joint body established to coordinate the implementation of the Drin MoU and the enhancement of cooperation among the countries.

The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) is intended to strengthen national measures for the protection and ecologically sound management of transboundary surface waters and ground waters.

The Convention obliges Parties to prevent, control and reduce transboundary impact, use transboundary waters in a reasonable and equitable way and ensure their sustainable management. Parties bordering the same transboundary waters shall cooperate by entering into specific agreements and establishing joint bodies. The Convention includes provisions on monitoring, research and development, consultations, warning and alarm systems, mutual assistance, and exchange of information, as well as access to information by the public.

The Convention takes a holistic approach based on the understanding that water resources play an integral part in ecosystems as well as in human societies and economies. Its commitment to integrated water resources management replaces an earlier focus on localized sources of pollution and management of separate components of the ecosystem.

GWP has submitted an intervention to this meeting of the Convention outlining how important the Water Convention has been to supporting GWP work.

The Rome meeting is also looking to the Convention becoming a global instrument with the forthcoming entry into force of amendments that open it to countries outside the UNECE region. The Rome meeting is being held back-to-back with the International Roundtable on Transboundary Water Resources Management in the Southern Mediterranean (Rome, 26-27 November 2012).

UNECE is facilitating several initiatives where GWP is active:

  1. Joint monitoring and assessment of transboundary basins
  2. EUWI and National Policy Dialogues on IWRM
  3. Protocol on Water and Health and a new program
  4. New Programme on water and adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins

More about the meeting.

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