Newsletter of the Water Convention and the Protocol on Water and Health
Issue no. #8 (November 2019 - January 2020)
In this 8th 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 November to 31 January 2020.

The Secretariat of the Water Convention
Pan-European countries reaffirm commitment to advance the water, sanitation and ‎health agenda at the 5 th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health
The 5 th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health , key intergovernmental meeting on water, sanitation and health in the pan-European, region took place in Belgrade from 19 to 21 November, welcoming more than 200 participants from 40 countries. The Meeting reviewed  achievements and progress in the implementation of the Protocol  and addressed strategic issues related to the pan-European agenda on water, sanitation and health such as equitable access to water, climate change impacts on health and Montenegro announced it is to become the 27th Party to the Protocol on Water and Health in the next months and 7 other countries confirmed that they are on their way to accession. The Meeting of the Parties also adopted an ambitious Programme of Work for 2020-2022 .
More information about the main outcomes and decisions of the meeting here ..
Future directions for work on exchange of data and information in transboundary basins from a global workshop discussed in Geneva
The main challenges preventing effective data and information exchange in transboundary river basins and aquifers worldwide were identified at the workshop, among them financial obstacles, the lack of appropriate infrastructure, political instability as well as insufficient funding and institutional coordination. From strategic discussions by region, building on the workshop, the Working Group on Monitoring and Assessment refined proposals for possible future activities. Notably, the Group recognized the need to update the strategic guidelines on monitoring and assessment and decided to work towards integrating technological advances and experiences from different regions. The events, organized together with key organizations working on the topic such as WMO, INBO, the World Bank etc., brought together about 140 participants from approximatively 70 countries. More information here ..
Cameroon confirms intention to accede to the Water Convention
Cameroon shares most of its water resources - such as Lake Chad, the Congo, Sanaga and Niger rivers - with other states. As a result, Cameroon is also heavily involved in several transboundary basin organizations (Lake Chad Basin Commission, International Commission of the Congo-Oubangui-Sangha Basin, Niger Basin Authority) and other regional organizations (Economic Community of Central African States, African Union, African Minister’s Council on Water). In this context, Cameroon recently confirmed its intention to accelerate its accession process to the Water Convention at the national workshop on the Convention held in Yaoundé on 5-6 November 2019 , during which the Convention’s obligations, benefits and accession process was discussed with key national stakeholders. More information here..
Water Convention Partners on Training for Improved Transboundary Water Investment in Africa
On 11-14 November 2019, the Water Convention secretariat partnered on the training organized by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and others on Water Governance and International Water Law for improved transboundary water investment in Africa . The regional training, hosted by the Water Resources Institute of the Ministry of Water and the Environment of Uganda, aimed at strengthening capacities of institutions of countries and basin organisations in Africa in addressing transboundary water resources management. Over 42 participants from 22 countries attended the training. More information here .
Water Convention supports national meeting for Uganda towards possible accession
With a view to the possible accession of Uganda, a national meeting was organized on 15 November 2019 by the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment to increase awareness and understanding of the Convention among government officials. The Secretariat supported the meeting through presentations on the Convention’s provisions and obligations, its work on the ground, clarifying misconceptions and outlining the benefits and possible challenges for Uganda to accede to it. The meeting concluded with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs outlining Uganda’s accession process. Further details are available here .
UNECE supports countries to collect, report and make use of data on SDG indicator 6.5.2 ahead of the 2nd reporting exercise
To raise awareness and improve the quality of reporting on SDG indicator 6.5.2 , and in view of the second reporting exercise, to be implemented in 2020, 3 regional workshops were organised for countries in Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia , Central Africa and Central America in October and November 2019. The guidance materials were enhanced: the Step-by-step-step methodology was revised; an inter-governmental drafting group, composed of about 40 States worldwide developed a Guide to reporting under the Water Convention and as a contribution to SDG indicator 6.5.2 . UNECE also published online the national reports of the first reporting exercise .
In the framework of the UN-Water Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 , UNECE and UNESCO, invite all countries sharing transboundary waters to track their progress on transboundary cooperation by submitting a template for the second reporting exercise of SDG indicator 6.5.2. by 30 June 2020 . For Parties to the Water Convention, reporting on SDG indicator 6.5.2 is combined with the reporting under the Water Convention, in order to increase synergies between the two processes and avoid duplication of efforts.
The Water Convention at UNFCCC COP 25
The  25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change   was held from 2 till 13 December 2019 in Madrid, Spain and is known as blue COP since it aimed, among others, to highlight the importance of the oceans and coastal ecosystems for climate change mitigation and adaptation. In addition, the COP 25 called upon countries to address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change at different levels including the regional one. The Water Convention contributed to various events at COP25, in the framework of UN-Water and the Paris Pact on Adaptation in the Basins of Rivers, Lakes and Aquifers.
Water Diplomacy discussed in Brussels
On 12 November, the EU (European External Action Service and the EU Directorate for Development and Cooperation, DEVCO) organized an event in Brussels to celebrate the first anniversary of the EU Council conclusions on water diplomacy . It brought together high-level speakers from EEAS, DEVCO, Finland, Senegal, UNECE and Danilo Turk, former President of Slovenia. All the speakers stressed the importance of water diplomacy for peace, conflict prevention and sustainable development as well as the role of the Water Convention in this regard. Kire Ilioski, Director of the Office of the Executive Secretary, representing UNECE, described the potential of the Convention as a global intergovernmental platform for water diplomacy.
EUWI+ week in Paris: 3rd Steering Committee Meeting and high-level peer-to-peer exchange on water management best practices
In November 2019, a week of learning and exchange on water management best practic e s was organised by the EU-funded “ European Union Water Initiative Plus for the Eastern Partnership Countries (EUWI+) to steer progress of the EUWI+ programme. The third Regional EUWI+ Steering Committee meeting enabled discussing the high-level representatives of the six countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine) on recent developments regarding water policy and integrated water resources management. In other events during the week, participants learned about the organisation of the French water governance system and benefited from a regional capacity development event on economic instruments for strengthening water management and infrastructure. Country representatives also discussed areas where further improvements are required, including with assistance from development partners. More information here ..
Since 2011, the work under the Protocol on Water and Health has accelerated national and local efforts to improve equitable access to water and sanitation in the pan-European region. Building on the findings and lessons learned from this work, the newest Protocols publication ( The Human rights to water and sanitation in practice: Findings and lessons learned from the work on equitable access to water and sanitation under the Protocol on Water and Health in the pan-European region ) capitalizes on the experiences of the region, and particularly of eleven countries, which have committed to improving equitable access. It maps out the lessons learnt from the Equitable Access Score-card based assessments, presents concrete technical and policy actions taken by these countries and examines national experiences with the development of Equitable Access Action Plans, considering the practical steps that can be taken to improve the planning and financing of specific action plans. It is particularly important in 2020, the year of the 10 th anniversary of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. More information here ..
Other projects and activities under the Water Convention and the Protocol on Water and Health

  • The Implementation Committee met for the tenth time on 2-3 December 2019 during which it discussed several matters, including: the promotion of the mechanism to facilitate and support implementation and compliance; the role of the Committee in the global opening of the Convention; and the Committee’s contribution to the current programme of work for 2019–2021 under the Convention.

  • On 20 December 2020, the Water Convention Secretariat was invited by the Ministry of Water and Sanitation of Burkina Faso to take part in the 36th Extraordinary Session of the National Water Council in Ouagadougou to present key provisions and activities under the Water Convention to Burkina Faso’s water sector stakeholders.

  • In December 2019, the Water Convention secretariat in collaboration with the Industrial Accidents Convention secretariat published the Safety guidelines and good practices for the management and retention of firefighting water which aims to support governments, competent authorities and operators by enhancing existing practices and promoting harmonized safety standards for firefighting water management and retention, in order to prevent accidental pollution of soil and water.

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