Protocol on water and health Print
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Friday, 01 June 2012 16:45

In 1999, the third Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in London adopted the Protocol on Water and Health. The Protocol was designed to complement the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, signed in Helsinki in 1992. The Protocol entered into force on 4 August 2005. From that date its provisions are legally binding on its Parties.

The Protocol is the first international agreement adopted specifically to ensure an adequate supply of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation for everyone in European region.

The Protocol was adopted to effectively protect human health through the control and reduction of water related disease, the improvement of water management and the protection of ecosystems.

As of 28.05.2012, there are 26 Parties to the Protocol: Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and Ukraine. In addition, the following States have signed the Protocol: Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom.;mtdsg_no=XXVII-5-a&chapter=27&lang=en

The objective of the Protocol is:

“To promote at all appropriate levels, nationally as well as in transboundary and international contexts, the protection of human health and well-being, both individual and collective, within a framework of sustainable development, through improving water management, including the protection of water ecosystems, and through preventing, controlling and reducing water-related disease.

The Protocol is the first legally binding agreement linking sustainable water management and reduction of water-related disease.

It offers a holistic framework for addressing the whole chain of cause and effect, from environmental degradation to water-related health effects.

It combines environmental protection with the promotion of human health and well-being,

thereby uniting ecologists, conservationists and ecosystem managers with water, sanitation and

health professionals.

It brings a largely hidden problem to the forefront of public awareness and Government decisionmaking.

It offers a framework for public participation and involvement in the pursuit of the basic human right to water and sanitation.

The Protocol operates through two core provisions: Setting targets and Surveillance.

Setting targets: To accomplish its objectives, the Protocol requires Parties to set firm targets in areas covering the entire water cycle, as well as dates by which they will achieve such targets.

Targets should address issues related to the quality of drinking and bathing water; problems related to water supply, sanitation and wastewater; the reduction of water-related disease; the management of water resources; the control and clean-up of pollution; and the availability of information to the public.

Parties tailor the targets according to their national/local circumstances and available resources and must regularly assess progress made towards reaching these targets. Parties also must demonstrate if such progress has helped to prevent, control or reduce water-related disease and they have to publish the results of that assessment. Moreover, every three years Parties are required to report to the Meeting of the Parties on implementation and progress achieved.

The secretariat functions for the Protocol are jointly carried out by the UNECE and the WHO/EURO secretariats. The secretariat communicates with the parties via the country Focal Points, nominated by country.

Surveillance: Parties shall establish and maintain comprehensive national and/or local surveillance and early warning systems to prevent and respond to water-related disease, along with contingency and outbreak response plans.

Protocol Instruments: The Protocol on Water and Health provides for a mechanism to review and facilitate compliance: the Compliance Committee.

The Protocol promotes International cooperation. The instrument of implementation of international support is based on work of project facilitation mechanism to help EECCA countries to implement the Protocol.

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