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World Toilet Day 2014

Water Convention

The UNECE Water Convention

Helsinki, 17 March 1992

The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) is intended to strengthen national measures for the protection and ecologically sound management of transboundary surface waters and groundwaters.

The Convention obliges Parties to prevent, control and reduce transboundary impact, use transboundary waters in a reasonable and equitable way and ensure their sustainable management. Parties bordering the same transboundary waters shall cooperate by entering into specific agreements and establishing joint bodies. The Convention includes provisions on monitoring, research and development, consultations, warning and alarm systems, mutual assistance, and exchange of information, as well as access to information by the public.

Initially negotiated as a regional instrument, the Convention was amended in 2003 to allow accession by all the United Nations Member States. The amendments entered into force on 6 February 2013, turning the Convention into a global legal framework for transboundary water cooperation. It is expected that countries outside the ECE region will be able to join the Convention as of 2014.

Protocol on Water and Health

London, 17 June 1999
Boy drinks water

The Protocol on Water and Health aims to protect human health and well being by better water management, including the protection of water ecosystems, and by preventing, controlling and reducing water-related diseases. It is the first international agreement of its kind adopted specifically to attain an adequate supply of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation for everyone, and effectively protect water used as a source of drinking water. Parties to the Protocol commit to set targets in relation to the entire water cycle.

Protocol on Civil Liability

Kiev, 21 May 2003

The Protocol on Civil Liability provides for a comprehensive regime for civil liability and for adequate and prompt compensation for damage resulting from transboundary effects of industrial accidents on transboundary waters.

Press releases

UNECE Executive Secretary participates in conference on sustainable development in the Aral Sea Basin  (29 October 2014), Available in English

Montenegro becomes the fortieth Party to the UNECE Water Convention  (04 July 2014), Available in English

Experts from Belarus and Lithuania agree to strengthen technical cooperation on shared water resources in the Neman River Basin (26 June 2014), Available in English

Arab countries study the benefits of joining the UNECE Water Convention (13 June 2014), Available in English

UNECE to help develop the management of information on the environment and water in Central Asia (12 June 2014), Available in English and Russian

UNECE welcomes the entry into force of the United Nations Watercourses Convention (23 May 2014), Available in English

Armenia prepares to ratify the UNECE Protocol on Water and Health: draft national water and health targets finalized (6 May 2014), available in English and Russian


Meetings and Events

© United Nations Economic Commissions for Europe – 2013