Newsletter of the Water Convention and the Protocol on Water and Health
Issue no. #6 (May - July 2019)
In this 6th issue of the Water Convention Newsletter, enjoy news from activities carried out under the Water Convention and its Protocol on Water and Health from 1 May to 31 July 2019

The Secretariat of the Water Convention
Way ahead to the 5th session of the Meeting og the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health in Belgrade
On 19-21 November 2019, the Protocol on Water and Health will hold its fifth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP 5) in Belgrade. Organized by the government of Serbia with support of UNECE and WHO Regional Office (joint secretariat of the Protocol), this high-level meeting will highlight achievements but also reflect on challenges and identify areas for action by reviewing the progress attained in the Protocol’s implementation. It is expected that representatives of over 40 countries - Protocol Parties and other States, NGOs, development agencies, academia and private sector from the pan-European region will gather to shape and advance the water, sanitation and health agenda in the region. The high-level session of MOP 5 will discuss political and technical dimensions of key issues related to the achievement of SDGs such as safe management of water and sanitation services, equitable access to water and sanitation and emerging regional priorities such as legionella and anti-microbial resistance. In May 2019, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Serbia and UNECE in collaboration with WHO Regional Office for Europe jointly organized a briefing on MOP 5 in Geneva to present the main topics to be discussed in Belgrade including the future programme of work for 2020-2022 to be adopted. More on MOP 5 ..
Advancing ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins
On the occasion of global workshop on ecosystem-based adaptation organized in cooperation with INBO, IUCN, AGWA and WWF under the leadership of the Netherlands and Switzerland (on 29-30 April 2019), more than 100 participants across the world from Australia to Chile gathered to review tools, good practices, case studies and financing mechanisms focusing on transboundary aspects of ecosystem-based adaptation. Such transboundary basins as the Danube, the Mekong, the Niger and the Sixaola shared their experience in ecosystem-based adaptation. The workshop was followed by the 10th meeting of the Task Force on Water and Climate , where participants discussed inputs to global processes such as the as the UNFCCC COP25 and global platform for disaster risk reduction and how to mainstream water into the revised Nationally Determined Contributions 2020 under the Paris Climate Agreement. Read more ..
Drafting of the Guide to reporting under the Water Convention and as a contribution to SDG indicator 6.5.2
Lessons and experiences from the first reporting exercise under the Water Convention and on SDG indicator 6.5.2 highlighted the need to provide further guidance for the completion of the reporting template. To enhance the quality of national reports – a Guide to reporting is under development. 35 representatives from across all SDG regions discussed and agreed on the scope and objectives during the first drafting group (9-10 May 2019, Geneva). In summer 2019, all countries sharing transboundary waters are invited to review and comment on the draft Guide. A second meeting of the drafting group (3-4 September 2019, Geneva) will further elaborate the Guide considering the comments received from countries and partners.
Drina riparians exploring a more harmonized approach to environmental flows
As part of the follow-up project to the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus assessment of the Drina River Basin , funded by Italy, an Expert Group meeting on flow regulation and environmental flows was organized on 11-12 June 2019 in Zagreb, with the International Sava River Basin Commission . The meeting focused on flow regulation, taking stock of current needs, discussing trade-offs, and exploring practices from other basins. Officials and experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia agreed to work towards a harmonized methodological approach to determine environmental flows that provide water for ecosystems as well as other water uses. The need to coordinate and update operational rules for hydropower dams was also recognized. A desk study is being developed for release in October. More on the meeting ..
Regional workshop deepens commitment for global water conventions across Francophone Africa
On 18-19 June 2019 in Dakar, Senegal, the workshop entitled ‘Practitioner to Practitioner: Regional Training on Promoting Implementation to Two Global Water Conventions’, financed by the European Union, brought together a diverse range of trainees from countries, basin organizations, technical and financial partners and United Nations agencies across francophone Africa. Over 35 regional professionals whose work relates to water came together to share their own practical experiences of water cooperation in order to find ways to collaborate to promote, implement and accede to the two global water Conventions. A common understanding on the practical benefits of implementing and acceding to the global water conventions were the key outcomes. More information is available here and workshop resources including presentations are here .
10th anniversary of the National Policy Dialogue (NPD) intersectoral platform celebrated during steering committee in Tajikistan
On 28 June 2019, in Dushanbe more than 60 representatives of various national stakeholders and international partners gathered at the 15th EU Water Initiative National Policy Dialogue (NPD) Steering Committee meeting to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the NPD intersectoral platform, facilitated by UNECE and OECD, and its achievements by reviewing water policy reforms driven by the NPD. Options to promote Public Private Partnerships in the water and sanitation sector of Tajikistan were also discussed in detail. Read more ..
Algerians, Libyans and Tunisians meet to discuss groundwaters management through nexus approach
Stakeholders from Algeria, Libya and Tunisia gathered in Hammamet on 18-19 June 2019 for the closing workshop of the North Western Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS) nexus project, organized jointly by UNECE, GWP-Med and OSS. They discussed results from the analysis of intersectoral issues related to groundwater management in the basin and reflected upon a package of "nexus solutions" proposed to be implemented in different sectors. Participants also discussed the benefits of transboundary water cooperation through the work of the NWSAS Consultation Mechanism and possible follow up activities to the nexus project, linking to other regional efforts such as those of AfDB, GIZ, and FAO. The nexus assessment report of the NWSAS will be produced by the end of the year.
The key role of the Water Convention in achieving sustainable development was acknowledged during the 4 th UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disaster
The growing interest in the Water Convention , with more than 20 countries having shown interest in accession, its relevance with regards to sustainable development. This momentum offers many opportunities to countries, the United Nations system and ultimately the millions of people depending on transboundary waters, to reap the benefits of transboundary water cooperation. In that context, during the 4 th UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disaster, as side event was co-organized on 24 June by Chad, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, The Netherlands, The Russian Federation, Senegal, Switzerland und UNECE in New York. It discussed the role of the Water Convention in strengthening transboundary water cooperation and sustainable development- especially through the numerous tools it offers, starting by its intergovernmental platform to exchange experiences.
A new brochure for the Programme of Work 2019-2021 under the Water Convention
This new brochure summarizes the Programme of Work for 2019-2021 under the Water Convention adopted at the eighth Meeting of the Parties to the Convention (Astana, 10-12 October 2018). The programme of work is intended to support the implementation of the Convention and its principles, with the overall objective that transboundary waters worldwide are managed in cooperation between riparian countries to promote sustainable development, peace and security.
Download the brochure in  English .
Protocol on Water and Health and the 2030 Agenda: A Practical Guide for Joint Implementation
The Practical Guide for Joint Implementation , jointly developed by UNECE and the WHO Regional office for Europe, aims to provide step-by-step guidance on how to identify, establish and operationalize the links between the Protocol on Water and Health and the 2030 Agenda .
As a legally binding instrument aimed at achieving an adequate supply of safe drinking water and sanitation for everyone and effectively protecting water resources in the pan-European region, the Protocol provides a sound approach, valuable experience and a successful regional platform to implement the Sustainable Development Goals pertinent to water, sanitation and health. The practical guide demonstrates how countries can use and benefit from the tools and methodologies developed under the Protocol, irrespective of whether they are Parties to the Protocol or not. More information here ..
Other projects and activities under the Water Convention and the Protocol on Water and Health

  • UNECE and GWP-Med assisted the Drin Core Group (Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia) in the development of a Strategic Action Programme for the Drin Basin that effectively tackles intersectoral (nexus) issues. A training was also organized for strengthening monitoring and exchange of data (30-31 May 2019)

  • Outcomes and lessons learnt from Nexus assessments carried out in transboundary basins of the Mediterranean region under the Water Convention were presented at the 10th meeting of the Water Expert Group of the Union for the Mediterranean in Brussels, 13-14 June 2019.

  • The Water Convention shared experience in cooperation on transboundary waters and source-to-sea perspective at the 17th "Europe-INBO 2019" International Conference for the Implementation of the European Water Directives on 17-20 June 2019 in Lahti, Finland (Declaration of the conference)

  • On June 21 2019, The Water Convention secretariat took part in the kick-off meeting of the World Water Forum 2021 in Dakar, Senegal during which transboundary water cooperation will be one of the main topics discussed. UNECE will be one of the Forum’s strategic partners in this regard.

  • Meetings of the Permanent Okavongo River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) discussed the outcomes of the assessment of the benefits of transboundary cooperation in the Cubango Okavango River Basin (supported by the Water Convention Secretariat, the World Bank and CRDIF), along with the potential value add for Angola, Botswana & Namibia to join the Water Convention (Gaborone, Botswana, 9-10 July 2019)

  • As co-coordinator of the UN-Water expert group on water and climate, UNECE facilitated the development of the UN Water Policy Brief on Water and Climate which, among other main messages, highlights the key role of transboundary water cooperation in addressing climate change impacts at basin level.

Find additional information on the Water Convention's website
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