Civil Society involvement in the implementation of the Water and Health Protocol in Armenia Print
News Waterfall - News Waterfall #6
Friday, 02 November 2012 14:34

The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have a vital role to play in the development, implementation and support of the UNECE/WHO Protocol on Water and Health to the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (hereafter referred to as “Protocol”). It is recognized in the Article 5(i) of the Protocol: “Access to information and public participation in decision-making concerning water and health are needed, inter alia, in order to enhance the quality and the implementation of the decisions, to build public awareness of issues, to give the public the opportunity to express its concerns and to enable public authorities to take due account of such concerns”.

The Protocol was adopted on 17 June 1999 on the occasion of the Third Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health held in London and on the same day Armenia became a Signatory to the Protocol.

Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWHHE) is a non governmental organization (NGO) working for sustainable development, protection of human health and the environment. AWHHE promotes the solution to the problems related to environmental health risks through advocacy, education and information campaigns; provides independent monitoring and investigations on water supply management and sanitation; lobbies the decision-makers to make sound solutions; contributes to capacity building of rural communities; strengthens the participation of women in decision making at local and national levels; promotes the ratification of Water and Health Protocol in Armenia; publishes popular and scientific articles; creates and disseminates information materials.

The organization members are experienced specialists: epidemiologists, environmentalists, toxicologists, hygienists and scientists who have work experience in governmental bodies. Moreover, through international partnership AWHHE is expanding its skills and experience.

AWHHE’s involvement in development of policy documents under the Protocol:

  • Expert group on monitoring progress in achieving equitable access to water and sanitation in the Pan-European region under the Protocol
  • Drafting Group on Guidelines on Public Participation under the Protocol
  • Drafting Group on Guidelines on Water Supply and Sanitation in Extreme Weather Events in frame of Task Force on Extreme Weather Events under the Protocol
  • Development of the country project Improving Health in Armenia through Target Setting to Ensure Sustainable Water Management, Access to Safe Water and Adequate Sanitation
  • EUWI National Policy Dialogue (NPD) on water-related issues in Armenia.

The high professionalism of NGO members, their broad experience and dedication served as a strong basis for the development and successful implementation of a number of project proposals. During the recent years the topic of water and sanitation has become the main priority of AWHHE. Since 2000 AWHHE has implemented a number of projects on promotion of sustainable sanitation, improvement of water supply, monitoring of the state implemented project, involvement of local people in the projects and strengthening their participation in decision making process, etc. In the frame of the joint project with Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) "For Sustainable and Environmentally Sound Rural Armenia" AWHHE constructed 3 school- and 28 household urine diverting toilets. AWHHE implemented "Safe Water Supply for Hayanist Village" project with the support of WfWP in the frame of the joint project with WECF.

AWHHE is organizing a regional workshop on Water Convention and Protocol with the participation of the Republic of Armenia and Georgia. The workshop will take place in the frame of the project “Raising awareness about the UNECE Water Convention and its Protocol on Water and Health and strengthening the role of the civil society organizations in their promotion and implementation” financed by UNECE and currently being implemented in partnership with WECF. The workshop will be held in Yerevan on November 9, 2012.


Providing drinking water supply system                  


Providing irrigation water system


Promotion of ecological sanitation                           


Workshop on Information and Public Participation in Water and Health Related Issues
(Bucharest, Romania)