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Seminar on the role of ecosystems as water suppliers

13 - 14 December 2004


The Seminar on the role of ecosystems as water suppliers took place on 13 and 14 December 2004 in Geneva, at the Palais des Nations, at the invitation of the Government of Switzerland (see press release).

The Seminar brought together policy and decision makers, lawyers, economists, managers, technical experts, representatives from the private sector and NGOs, specialized in water management, forestry, landscape and nature conservation, etc. (see list of participants)

The Seminar was prepared by the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape and the UNECE secretariat of the Water Convention, in close cooperation with that of the 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Cooperation has been sought with the UNECE Timber Committee, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) European Forestry Commission and its Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds, and the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE).

The Seminar provided a platform for governmental officials to meet experts from international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, and share knowledge on the role of forests and wetlands in the water cycle and the advantages related to their sustainable use, protection and restoration to ensure sustainable water management and therefore sustainable development. It documented experience within and outside the UNECE region on best practices and concrete implementation measures aiming at integrating forests and wetlands in sustainable water management.

To this aim Mr. Philippe Roch, Swiss State Secretary, had addressed a letter to the Ministers of Environment, Forestry and Agriculture in the UNECE region inviting them to submit national report on the practical experience of integration of forests and wetlands in water management.

The Seminar lead to recommendations to promote integrated policies and strategies and facilitate their implementation. The recommendations will be presented at the thirteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (New York, 11-22 April 2005) and submitted for adoption to the Parties to the Water Convention at their fourth meeting in 2006. The Seminar fostered the development of concrete joint activities at international, regional, transboundary, national and local levels, and to be considered at the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention (Kampala, 7-15 November 2005).

Moreover, in 2005, a second seminar focusing on environmental services and financing for the protection and sustainable use of ecosystems will be organized, specifically devoted to the economic and financial dimensions. It intends to explore the experience of solidarity between upstream and downstream communities, specifically considering the practice of protecting and sustainably using ecosystems (forests and wetlands) by means of innovative economic tools such as payments for environmental services through successful public-private partnerships and public-public partnerships.

Document Title ENG
Integrated mountain watershed management in the Alps - Future needs, Mr. Peter Greminger, Swiss Forest Agency  
Protection and restoration of water-related ecosystems: the role of wetlands, Mr. Tobias Salathe, Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands PPT (3.2 MB)
Protection of water-related ecosystems in Belarus, Mr. Nikolay Bambalov, National Academy of Science, Minsk PPT (3.7 MB)
Balancing water needs: the experience of the IUCN Water and Nature Initiative, Ms. Danile Perrot-Matre, World Conservation Union (IUCN) PPT (3.6 MB)
Institutional opportunities for an integrated approach, Mr. Douglas McGuire, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) PPT (430 KB)
Creating markets for ecosystem services, Mr. Gonzalo Castro, Global Environment Facility (GEF) PPT (7.3 MB)
Sustainable water management through ecosystem protection: An effective interface of international legal regimes? Mr. Sergei Vinogradov, University of Dundee (United Kingdom) PPT (3.9 MB)
Water-related ecosystems conservation in Armenia and perspectives for transboundary conservation, Mr. Karen Jenderedjian, Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands PPT (2.2 MB)
Draft conclusions and recommendations (please note that the conclusions and recommendations will be finalizedin the seminar report which should be ready by January 2005) PPT (50 KB)

Below are made available the official seminar documents.


Document Title   ENG RUS FRE
MP.WAT/SEM.4/2004/1 Programme of the seminar - First announcement and call for discussion papers PDF PDF PDF
MP.WAT/SEM.4/2004/2 AgendaPDF only
MP.WAT/SEM.4/2004/4 Water-related ecosystems: features, functions and the need for a holistic approach to ecosystem protection and restoration PDF PDF PDF

Letter sent by Mr. P. Roch inviting UNECE countries to submit national report on the practical experience of integration of forests and wetlands in water management (including report outline).



On the basis of the seminar outcome and recommendations, a booklet on "Nature for water: protecting water-related ecosystems for sustainable development" was prepared for the thirteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. The booklet and the seminar conclusions were presented at a special event of CSD-13, organized in cooperation with the secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape.

Below are made available the national reports as submitted to the UNECE secretariat.
Document Title ENG RUS
Armenia PDF
Austria PDF
Azerbaijan PDF
Belarus PDF
Bulgaria PDF
Croatia PDF
Cyprus PDF
Georgia PDF
Hungary PDF
Kazakhstan PDF
Poland PDF
Republic of Moldova PDF
Romania PDF
Serbia and Montenegro PDF
Slovakia PDF
Switzerland PDF
Tajikistan PDF
Uzbekistan PDF

Below are made available the discussion papers as submitted to the UNECE secretariat.

Document Title ENG RUS
From the Mountains to the Sea - Focus on Vital Links in the Catchment Basin
Tobias Salathé, Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Kyrgyzstan and the Ramsar Convention: problems, implementation and future steps
Muratbek Baihodjoev, International University of Kyrgyzstan
Integrated approach to the decision of water problems: public participation. The Russian experience and offers
Olga Podosenova, Ural Ecological Union
Laws and regulations concerning some of the ecosystems that determine the formation of water resources in the Russian Federation
Nikolay Grishin, Agency ECOTERRA
Ecosystems of the rivers in the Aral Sea basin: existing and expected impacts
Yusup Kamalov, Union for Defense the Aral Sea and Amudarya
Some ideas about IWRM implementation in Central Asia
Prof. Victor Dukhovny, Dr. Vadim Sokolov, Dinara Ziganshina, Scientific-Information Centre of the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination
The role of ecosystems of Azerbaijan - forests and wetlands - as water suppliers
Rafig Verdiyev, ECORES NGO
Central Asia mountain ecosystems
Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia
Partnership on implementation of the Central Asian sustainable development initiative
Protection and use of surface and artesian waters on transboundary basin of Georgia and Azerbaijan
Prof. G. Buachidze, Georgian Academy of Sciences