Eighth meeting of the Parties of the UNECE Water Convention (Astana, Kazakhstan, 10-12 October, 2018) – Report by AIDA member François Touchais
The Eighth Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes took place on 10-12 October, 2018, at Astana, Kazakhstan, and was the first held in Asia. Around 90 countries participated (both parties and non-parties). The Convention has 41 parties, including Chad since February 2018, and Senegal since September 2018. During the meeting, more than 15 countries announced their interest to ratify the Convention, including Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Iraq, Jordan, Mongolia, Niger, Tunisia, Togo and Viet Nam.
The Secretariat of the Convention presented the first progress report on the implementation of the Convention. This document is based on a self-assessments submitted by 38 out of the 40 state parties. It shows that at the time of reporting (2017), most of the transboundary waters shared by the signatories already have agreements and arrangements in place. At least 15 transboundary basins do not have an agreement or arrangement in place for the whole basin. At least 29 do not have agreements or arrangements covering transboundary aquifers. Parties and non-parties shared their experience on reporting under the Convention and under SDG Indicator 6.5.2., respectively. The report is available at http://www.unece.org/info/media/presscurrent-press-h/environment/2018/new-report-highlights-progress-by-parties-in-the-implementation-of-the-water-convention/doc.html
The Meeting of the Parties adopted a new strategy for the implementation of the Convention that aims to strengthen cooperation and partnerships for the management of transboundary waters worldwide in order to promote sustainable development, peace and security. The meeting also adopted revised rules of procedure, as well as a decision on the designation and responsibilities of focal points. A decision on reporting, including the adoption of a revised template for reporting under the Convention, was also adopted.
The Meeting of the Parties endorsed a draft programme of work for 2019-2021, including new measures for facilitating the financing of transboundary water cooperation. The approved budget is of US$ 12.1 million.
Furthermore, the Meeting of the Parties officially launched three new publications :
- Words into Action-implementation guide on addressing water-related disasters and transboundary cooperation. http://www.unece.org/info/media/presscurrent-press-h/environment/2018/unece-and-unisdr-launch-guidelines-on-water-related-disasters-and-transboundary-cooperation/doc.html
- An updated methodology on assessing the water-food-energy ecosystem nexus in transboundary basins. https://www.unece.org/index.php?id=49849
- A leaflet on identifying, assessing and communicating benefits of cooperation.https://www.unece.org/index.php?id=49807
An extensive narrative and photographic report can be seen at http://enb.iisd.org/water/unece/mop8/
UNECE press release : http://www.unece.org/info/media/presscurrent-press-h/environment/2018/more-than-15-countries-express-their-interest-to-join-the-water-convention-at-historic-eighth-meeting-of-the-parties-in-astana/doc.html