The 5th meeting of the Working Group on Water and Health took place in Geneva Print
News Waterfall - News Waterfall #6
Friday, 02 November 2012 13:46

The 5th meeting of the Working Group on Water and Health took place on 11–12 October 2012, in Geneva. It was held back-to-back with the eighth meeting of the Protocol’s Compliance Committee (10 October 2012) and the second meeting of the Drafting Group on Public Participation under the Protocol on Water and Health (10 October 2012).

During the meeting the Working Group reviewed the implementation of the programme of work for the period 2011–2013 and provided guidance on further development of the Working programme, also taking into account changing conditions and limited financial means.

The participants of WG were informed about

- the Protocol ratification status (as of June 2012 25 countries: 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 have ratified the Protocol on Water and Health, Serbia and Georgia informed about efforts to ratify the Protocol in 2012–2013).

- Outcomes and lessons of work and future activities of the task force groups (TFG):

TFG on Targets setting and reporting (Bratislava TFG meeting and regional workshop on targets setting for 4 Central European countries, lessons of targets setting and programme of measures development, next reporting exercise in 2013, workshop on reporting is planned on 12–13 February 2013);

TGF on Water-related Disease Surveillance (TFG leader will be replaced (WHO-Europe looking for candidate to replace Roger Aertgeerts, who retired), ongoing project to support the development and management of complex monitoring systems, update the Atlas of Water and Health for the WHO European Region; introduction of GLAAS in the region; WHO/Europe direct health interventions for the reduction of helminthes and rotaviruses infections, including vaccination, Water safety plans for small water supply and sanitation – new publication);

- Work on small-scale water supplies and sanitation (draft outline of the policy guidance documents and preliminary results of the survey, WSP compendium for teachers by WECF and Water safety plans for small community water supplies – WHO’s new publication);

- Compliance procedure (the outcome of the Committee’s seventh meeting and possibilities for countries to consult on next report preparation);

- The developments under the Project Facilitation Mechanism (PFM) (involvement of EBRD Water Fund into project implementation related to national target 12 in Ukraine; new project on Protocol implementation – development of action plan to achieve the national targets to the Protocol of Moldova funded by Switzerland and UNECE, future meeting of PFM )

- Special discussion on theme “the Protocol on Water and Health and the Green Economy” ( Moldova, Hungary and Germany presented their cases the links between activity to the Protocol on water supply and sanitation for health and healthy environment , energy and water saving, resources recycling and contribution in social and economic development)

- Public awareness, access to information and public participation under Protocol (progress in drafting guideline on this issue, on-going project on awareness rising and strengthening of NGOs role in Water Convention and its Protocol implementation funded by UN ECE).

- Promotion of the Protocol and advocacy (Protocol activities at Marseille WWF, future work will be focus on opportunities linked to the 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation.

- Equitable access (work of expert group on development of scorecard for self assessment of the status of the access to Water and sanitation at national-local levels, 3 planned pilots on testing the tool in Paris city, Portugal and in Ukraine with a support of Government of France)

- Strengthening synergies between the different activities under the Protocol and with Water convention activities as well as with WHO work; there is a need to work on synergy from economical point of view too;

- Financial arrangements to support the implementation of the Protocol (the situation is not good, the funds of the Protocol under the ECE Technical Cooperation Trust Fund and the WHO/Europe Voluntary Fund are insufficient to implement the adopted programme of work, the Bureau made the efforts towards fund-raising and presented a concept for a fund-raising strategy, Norway and Switzerland informed about their financial support and contributions to the Protocol activity for the next year).

The Working Group took a number of decisions which require contributions from all focal points and other experts, who are invited to:

1. Provide comments on the draft of the policy guidance document on Small Scale Water Supply and Sanitation by 30 November 2012. The draft document “Small-scale water supplies and sanitation in the pan-European region – Policy instruments and programs towards instrument” is available in ENG:

Parties and non-Parties which have not yet done so are also invited to reply to the questionnaire on Small Scale Water Supplies in the pan-European region by the end of October 2012.

2. Provide comments on the draft Guidelines on Public Participation under the Protocol on Water and Health by 20 November 2012. The draft document “Guidelines on  Public Participation under the Protocol on Water and Health”

3. Provide comments on the draft Score Card on ensuring equitable access to water and sanitation by 30 October 2012. The draft Score Card is available on the website:

4. The Working Group thanked the Russian Federation for its kind availability to host the meeting of the Task Force on Water Related Disease Surveillance in Moscow. However, in consideration of the need for alternative sources of funds to support the travel of participants from eligible countries, the Working Group decided to explore other possibilities to provide financial support for the meeting and invited Parties to inform the Secretariat on potential contributions by 15 December 2012.

The joint secretariat will officially write to Parties and non-Parties concerning the reporting in accordance with article 7 of the Protocol for the third session of the Meeting of the Parties. The deadline for submitting summary reports will be 29 April 2013. Countries are encouraged to initiate the reporting process as soon as possible.
The sixth meeting of the Working Group on Water and Health will take place in Geneva on 4 and 5 July 2013; the third session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol will take place in Oslo on 25-27 November 2013.  

All presentations as well as the list of participants   are now available online, together with the official and unofficial documents at the meeting webpage: