|The sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE Water Convention: 20 years of successful water cooperation and opening the global perspectives|
|News Waterfall - News Waterfall #7|
|Monday, 10 December 2012 11:42|
The sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MoP-6) to the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes took place on 28–30 November 2012 in Rome, Italy.
Some 330 participants, representing Parties and non-Parties from the UNECE region and beyond, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations attended the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties.
The MoP-6 adopted a new programme of work and several decisions that mark a crucial turning point in the globalization of the Convention.
A unanimous desire to enable accession to the Convention for all UN Member States
At the sixth session, Parties adopted a decision on simplifying the procedure for the accession of non-UNECE countries to the Convention. Any future request for accession by any member of the United Nations will be considered as approved by the MoP, once the amendments to articles 25 and 26 to the Convention enter into force for all the Parties that adopted them in 2003.
This decision reconfirms the conviction of the Parties that the Convention is an effective instrument beyond the UNECE region, as well as the unanimous desire to enable accession by non-UNECE countries as soon as possible, without distinction from the procedure for UNECE countries. With this decision, it is expected that non-UNECE countries will be able to accede to the Water Convention as of the end of 2013. Countries outside the UNECE region were encouraged to join the Convention by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Establishment of an Implementation Committee
The Implementation Committee for the Convention was established. The Committee will render practical case-tailored assistance to prevent water-related disputes and support Parties in their efforts to implement the Convention. Its nine members were elected by consensus to serve in a personal capacity. They represent a good mix and balance of competences to accomplish the Committee’s tasks and include a number of outstanding lawyers and water management experts.
For more information on the members of the Committee, please consult: http://www.unece.org/env/water/mop6.html
A new programme of work to further strengthen water cooperation
Parties adopted the new programme of work for 2013–2015. Work on support to implementation and accession, NPDs and adaption to climate change in transboundary basins will remain the cornerstones of the work under the Convention. In addition, in order to answer to today’s challenges, new areas of work were included such as quantifying the benefits of transboundary cooperation, a thematic assessment on the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus and activities related to the opening of the Water Convention. Two decisions on cooperation with global partners — with GEF and UNESCO — were adopted, which will reinforce the implementation of the Water Convention.
More information and the decisions taken at the MoP6 are available at: http://www.unece.org/env/water/mop6.html
Signature of the Dniester Treaty between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine
On 29 November, during the meeting, the signing ceremony of the new bilateral Treaty between the Government of the Republic of Moldova and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on Cooperation in the Field of Protection and Sustainable Development of the Dniester River Basin took place. The Minister of Environment of the Republic of Moldova, Mr. Gheorge Salaru, and the Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, Mr. Eduard Stavytskyi, signed the Dniester Treaty.
The Treaty is a pioneering example for the region in the post-Soviet era. It significantly broadens the existing cooperation arrangements to cover the entire river basin and all sectors important for the management and protection of the shared waters. The Treaty establishes the bilateral Dniester Commission to facilitate sustainable use and protection of the Basin.
The drafting and negotiation of the Treaty have been supported by the Environment and Security Initiative through a series of Dniester projects jointly managed by UNECE, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations Environment Programme. The signing is the result of eight years of step-by-step development of cooperation involving a broad range of stakeholders from both countries, including the Transnistria region of the Republic of Moldova.
The Treaty was broadly welcomed by the delegates of the MoP-6. More than 20 delegates congratulated the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine for this an important step in the implementation of their obligations under the UNECE Water Convention.
Representative of the European Ecoforum and the Association of Dniester river keepers highlighted in his speech that this history of implementation of the Art. 9 of the Water Convention for transboundary Dniester River basin took 16 years of NGOs’ life. The European ECO-Forum and the NGO community of the Dniester River basin very much welcomed the progress achieved and note that such event was totally impossible without permanent long-term and insistent pressure of the NGO community.
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During the opening session, on behalf of the Government of Italy, who hosted the MoP-6, Mr. Rocco Buttiglione, Vice-President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and Mr. Corrado Clini, Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea of Italy welcomed the participants of the Meeting and highlighted the importance of the opportunity to share the visions and experience of the countries on water management and transboundary cooperation in the Region and beyond it. Water is a sources of the goods and conflicts. Transboundary cooperation is a way to solve the conflicts, to adapt to climate change and a basis of sustainable development.
Mr. Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE)read the message of Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General (SG), to the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention. Recognizing that two global instruments for water cooperation based on the same principles will soon be available, the Secretary-General insisted on the need to look for synergies. “The globalization of the Convention should also go hand in hand with the expected entry into force of the United Nations Watercourses Convention. (…) They complement each other and should be implemented in a coherent manner”.
The MoP-6 was started by the High-level segment which was held in the morning and early afternoon on 28 November 2012 and focused on 20-th anniversary of the Convention and its opening to all United Nations Member States.
The first part of the High-level segment consisted of statements by the high-level panelists and the interventions from the floor focusing on the specific achievements under the Convention since its adoption in 1992, the remaining challenges and the prospects for the future, in particular in view of the global opening of the Convention.
The second part of the High-level segment focused on the views and expectations for the Water Convention in view of its forthcoming globalization, followed by a moderated discussion.
The programme for the high-level segment as well as all statements by panellists and interventions from the floor are available on http://www.unece.org/env/water/mop6.html
The main outcomes of last 3 years of work under the Water convention were discussed during the 3 days of the MoP6, as well as the lessons learned and the advantages of the Water Convention.Perspectives and challenges for the future work and working programme for the next 3 year 2013–2015 were also the focus of the Meeting.
During the Meeting of the Parties at lunch time there were organized 6 side-events:
1) Adapting to climate change in transboundary basins: future work guided by lessons learned and
2) The UN Watercourses Convention and the UNECE Water Convention: value, future perspectives and potential synergies;
3) EU Water Initiative National Policy Dialogue: Identifying good practices and lessons learned, shaping ideas for the future,
4) How the UN system supports transboundary water cooperation;
5) Managing transboundary waters together: River, lake and aquifer commissions worldwide,
6) Examining the water-energy-food-ecosystems nexus: a thematic assessment in transboundary basins.
The programmes and the information about side- events are available on http://www.unece.org/env/water/mop6/side_events.html
Today 38 countries are the Parties of the UN ECE Water Convention, among the newest parties are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Turkmenistan. Water Convention offers the useful experience and knowledge, develops compliance instruments important guidelines on IWRM, of transboundary waters, including ground waters. The Second Assessment of water resources in the UNECE Regions was published in 2011.
The meeting was held back-to-back with the International Roundtable on Transboundary Water Resources Management in the Southern Mediterranean (Rome, 26–27 November 2012).
NGOs Statement to the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE Water Convention
8 representatives of the NGOs, which are the members of the Water Issue Group of European ECO-Forum, attended the MoP-6 and made 4 interventions based on the NGOs Statement during the MoP-6. The copies of the Statement were disseminated at the MoP-6 among the Parties of the Water Convention and delivered to the Secretariat of the Water Convention.
Text of the NGOs’ Statement is available on: http://mama-86.org.ua/index.php/en/watersan/watersan-news/438-2012-12-05-18-10-00.html