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No. 17 (215) December 2012


The Sixth Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE Convention on the on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes was held on 28-30 November 2012 in the Chamber of Deputies in Rome at the invitation of the Italy Government. The meeting was attended by more than 320 representatives of the countries that joined the Convention, countries that are not members of the Convention, as well as international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and educational institutions.

The Meeting of the Parties consisted of the high-level segment and general segment. The high-level segment considered the situation with the ratification of the Convention and protocols to it and a special meeting was held devoted to the Twentieth Anniversary of the Convention and its opening for all the United Nations member countries. Main achievements and unsolved problems within the Convention were discussed at a special meeting, as well as opinions on and expectations with regard to Convention globalization were read.

The general segment was dealing with the review of the past activity and discussion of the future activity of the Water Convention in various areas such as: a) implementation and monitoring support mechanism; b) support to the implementation through capacity building and assistance in the field; ñ) transboundary groundwater; d) assessment of transboundary water condition; e) joint monitoring and assessment of transboundary water resources, including data management and information exchange; f) water and ecosystems; g) water and adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins; h) Water Initiative of the European Union and National Dialogues on Policy; i) water and industrial accidents. The Meeting of the Parties also gave hearing the reports on coordination with the Protocol on water and health problems, coordination with other plurilateral environment-oriented arrangements and international partners, relationship with the International Water Assessment Center, and vision of the Water Convention development in future.

The Program of Works for 2013-2015 assigning the bodies that should support in its implementation and assessing the needs for human and financial resources was presented to the Meeting of the Parties for consideration. The Program of Works covers the following seven program areas:

  • Program area 1: support to implementation and joining.
  • Program area 2: Water Initiative of the European Union and national dialogues on policy issues.
  • Program area 3: quantitative evaluation of the benefits from transboundary cooperation.
  • Program area 4: adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins.
  • Program area 5: relationship between water, food, energy, and ecosystems.
  • Program area 6: opening of the Convention for countries beyond the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
  • Program area 7: propaganda of the Convention and establishment of strategic partnership.

The Meeting of the Parties elected Bureau and Implementation Committee members. Mr. Massimo Cozzone (Italy) was elected Chair the Bureau which included also the representatives of Kazakhstan, Hungary, Germany, Finland, Russia, Estonia, France, Serbia, Azerbaijan, and Switzerland. The newly established Implementation Committee was composed of Vanya Grigorova (Bulgaria), Kari Kinnunen (Finland), Stephen McCaffray (USA), Alexander Stankevich (Byelorussia), Ivan Zavadsky (Slovakia), Johan Lammers (The Netherlands), Anne Schulte-Wulwer-Leidig (Germany), Attila Tanzi (Italy), and Saghit Ibatullin (Kazakhstan).

In the course of the meeting, the ceremony of signing a new bilateral agreement between the Government of the Republic of Moldova and Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for cooperation in the conservation and ensuring of sustainable development of the Dniester river basin took place. Also a series of side events was organized, including the sections “Adapting to Climate Change in Transboundary Basins: Future Work Guided by Lessons Learned”, “United Nations Watercourses Convention and UNECE Water Convention: future prospects and potential risks”, “National Policy Dialogues within the framework of the EU Water Initiative: consideration of best practice, lessons learned and ideas for future activities”, “The way the United Nations supports transboundary water cooperation”, “Joint management of transboundary water: Rivers, Lakes and Water Bodies Commissions of countries worldwide”, and “Study of the relationship between water, food, energy, and ecosystems: thematic assessment in transboundary basins”.

D.R. Ziganshina,
Deputy Director of SIC ICWC