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Seventh session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention

17 - 19 November 2015

Budapest, Hungary


Highlights

The seventh session of the Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes took place on 17-19 November 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. The meeting was held back to back with the workshop on Promoting transboundary water cooperation in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region on the basis of the Water Convention.

At the session, the Meeting of the Parties reviewed progress achieved in the Convention’s implementation and past activities, discussed the future programme of work for 2016-2018 and addressed a wide variety of topics including: supporting accession to and implementation of the Convention; assessing the benefits of transboundary water cooperation; promoting climate change adaptation in a transboundary context; assessing the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus in transboundary basins; improving water governance through the National Policy Dialogues under the European Union Water Initiative; and partnerships, in particular in the light of the globalization of the Water Convention and the entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses  in 2014.

The globalization of the Convention

Following the entry into force in 2013 of the amendment allowing accession by all United Nations Member States to the Convention, this session of the Meeting of the Parties marked the Convention’s transition into a global legal and intergovernmental framework for transboundary water cooperation. It was characterised by an unprecedented participation of countries from outside the UNECE region - 74 countries, Parties and non-Parties to the Convention, were represented in Budapest. Several of them expressed their intentions to accede.
The Meeting of the Parties adopted a decision on establishing a framework for the implementation of the Convention at the global level, complemented by a decision on cooperation with partners. As a result, in the coming three years, a strategy for the implementation of the Convention at the global level will be developed in close cooperation between Parties, non-Parties and partners.  As United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said in his video message: “With a global membership, the Water Convention can offer an essential intergovernmental platform and a home in the United Nations system for dealing with transboundary water issues”.

The contribution of the Convention to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other global commitments

The Meeting of the Parties underlined that implementing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the COP 21 Paris agreement will require enhanced cooperation across sectors and across borders. It therefore emphasized the important role of the Convention to support countries in their efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the other global commitments. In this respect, the inclusion of a target on transboundary cooperation in the SDG on water and sanitation represents an important political recognition of the issue.

Main products

Two new publications were launched at the meeting. The Policy Guidance Note on Benefits of Transboundary Water CooperationDoc aims to help Governments and all relevant stakeholders develop a better understanding of the broad range of benefits of transboundary water cooperation. The report Reconciling Resource Uses in Transboundary Basins: Assessment of the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystem Nexus showcases the way the innovative water- food-energy-ecosystems nexus approach can drive transboundary water cooperation and environmental protection by building synergies between the water, energy and food security sectors, ultimately improving water governance

Other main decisions

The Meeting of the Parties adopted a decision on the establishment of a reporting mechanism under the Convention, starting with a pilot reporting exercise in 2016–2017 that should also be of use for countries contemplating accession to the Convention. 
The regular reporting mechanism will allow tracking progress in the implementation of the provisions of the Convention as well as of the newly established Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on Water and in particular the target on transboundary water cooperation.
An ambitious programme of work for 2016–2018 was also adopted in Budapest. Activities in the programme of work will support countries from all over the world to implement the Water Convention, to cooperate on the management of transboundary waters and to address global challenges, such as climate change, land degradation, water pollution, floods and droughts.

The Meeting's high-level segment focused on two key dynamics that will shape the future of the Convention and its activities: the Convention’s opening to all United Nations Member States and its and its contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other global commitments including disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change.  

These two dynamics were discussed in two separate thematic sessions, both organized in the form of a moderated high-level panel discussion followed by interventions from the floor with guiding questions. 

The high-level segment featured a strategic discussion between Parties, other States — including prospective Parties from outside the ECE region — international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academia on these dynamics, as well as the resulting implications, challenges and opportunities ahead, and the partnerships needed. 

 

Statements

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RUS

Opening session

Opening of the meeting by Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi, Director for Environmental Sustainability, Office of the President on behalf of Mr. János Áder, President of the Republic of Hungary

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Video message by the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson

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Speech by Mr. Sándor Pintér, Minister of Interior of Hungary

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Speech by Mr. Francesco La Camera, Director General of the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea

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Speech by Mr. Christian Friis Bach, United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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Special session on the global opening of the Water Convention and its contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other global commitments

Part 1 — the global Water Convention

Ms. Marina Seliverstova, Head of the Federal Agency of Water Resources, Russian Federation

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Mr. Fadi Comair, Director General of Hydraulic and Electrical Resources of Lebanon

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Ms. Hannele Pokka, Permanent Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of the Environment

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H.E. Eng. Mohsin Asfoor Lafta Al-Kurd, Minister of Water Resources of Iraq

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Mr. Yerlan Nyssanbaev, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan

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Mr. Ylber Mirta, Head of department for water , Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia speaking on behalf of Mr. Izairi, Minister

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Mr. Halil Yurdakul Yigitgüden, Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities

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Part 2 — the Water Convention in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other global commitments

H. E. Sergii Kurykin, Acting Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, Ukraine

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Mr. Nicholas Hanley, Acting Director for International Policies, Global and Regional Challenges, DG Environment, European Commission

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H. E. Mr. Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Ghana

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Mr. Marco Toscano-Rivalta, Chief, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)

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Mr. Thai Lai Nguyen, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Viet Nam

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Mr. Xavier Sticker, French Ambassador for the Environment, France

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Interventions from the floor (compilation)

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Election of the members of the Implementation Committee

At its seventh session, the Meeting of the Parties elected four members of the Implementation Committee which facilitates, promotes and safeguards the implementation and compliance with the Water Convention.

The procedure followed for the election of the members of the Implementation Committee was set out in Meeting of the Parties (MOP) decision VI/1 (ECE/MP.WAT/37/Add.2) and was governed by the rules of procedure for meetings of the Parties (ECE/MP.WAT/19/Add.1).

Following the election of four members to cover the respective vacant positions in the Implementation Committee, the membership of the Committee is as follows: 

Member's name

Ms Vanya Grigorova

Mr Kari Kinnunen

Mr Johan Gerrit (Hans) Lammers

Ms Anne Schulte-Wülwer-Leidig

Mr Stephen McCaffrey

Mr Aliaksandr Stankevich

Mr Attila Tanzi

Mr Ivan Zavadsky

Ms Dinara Ziganshina