At the first meeting (Geneva, 17–19 January 2007), the Parties to the Protocol established a Project Facilitation Mechanism (PFM) to help mainstream international support for national actions, thereby providing a framework for the obligations of Parties to assist each other in the implementation of the Protocol.
The PFM comprises two elements:
- the Facilitator
- the Project Clearing House.
The Project Clearing House is an open-ended body under the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol with members from Parties and non-Parties (both from donor and recipient countries) as well as from global and regional financial institutions, relevant international organizations, competent international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international foundations with cooperation programmes of recognized importance for water and health.
The objective of the Project Clearing House is to identify priority activities of non-infrastructure intervention, including:
(a) health-related aspects of integrated water resources management;
(b) safe drinking-water supply and adequate sanitation;
(c) reduction of childhood morbidity and mortality;
(d) meeting the water needs of vulnerable groups; and
(e) gender issues related to water supply and sanitation.
Another objective is to advocate funding of proposals submitted through the Facilitator.
At its first meeting in 2008, the PFM adopted Criteria for consideration of project proposals by the Ad Hoc Project Facilitation Mechanism. Such criteria determined that Parties to the Protocol will have first priority with regard to submitting projects for funding. Projects from countries that are not Parties to the Protocol will also be considered for funding, provided that the submitting country demonstrates a strong commitment to the Protocol and the intention to ratify it. The criteria also define that as a first step the PFM will consider project proposals aiming to support Parties and non-Parties in setting targets and target dates in accordance with article 6 of the Protocol. As a second step, once targets and targets dates have been set in accordance with article 6, the PFM will consider projects that support Parties and non-Parties to achieve their targets. Moreover, the PFM will also consider project proposals aiming to support Parties and non- Parties in establishing surveillance and response systems in accordance with article 8 of the Protocol.
Two projects were completed under the PFM in 2009-2010. Targets were successfully set in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, supported by Switzerland and Norway respectively. In the Republic of Moldova, a project to support the implementation of the targets established under the Protocol is starting in 2012, funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation.
The following projects are being currently implemented under the PFM:
- In Georgia, a project for the introduction of water safety plans in small-scale water supply systems in two districts, supported by the German Environment Agency (UBA) and WHO, started in November 2010.
- In Tajikistan, a project funded by Norway is assisting the country in setting targets.
- In Kyrgyzstan, thanks to Finnish and Norwegian funding, target setting is ongoing.
- In Armenia, a project funded by Finland supports the development of targets and target dates and also assists the country in the ratification of the Protocol.
Target setting under the Protocol on Water and Health is also supported in the framework of National Policy Dialogues on Integrated Water Resource Management within the Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia component of the EU Water Initiative.