The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) provides the secretariat for the five conventions and their protocols (the Protocol on Water and Health is serviced jointly by UNECE and WHO).
The UNECE providing the secretariat for the five conventions and their protocols forms the basis for many activities being organized jointly under two or more UNECE treaties.
For example, a joint meting on public participation in environmental decision-making: focus on strategic environmental assessment was held in Geneva in October 2012.
Water and Industrial Accidents
A particularly significant example of formal cooperation is the UNECE work on Water and Industrial Accidents. The Joint ad hoc Expert Group on Water and Industrial Accidents is a unique example of cooperation in an effort to promote synergies among the UNECE environmental treaties. It was established under the Industrial Accidents and Water Conventions in 1998 with the aim to support cooperation on issues related to the prevention of accidental pollution of transboundary waters.
Since its establishment, the Joint Expert Group has produced several guidance documents on different subjects, e.g. the safety of pipelines and of tailing management facilities, and has provided inputs to various documents, e.g. location criteria for identification of hazardous activities. It has also promoted international response exercises on transboundary rivers through the organization of specific thematic activities.
In 2011, the Joint Expert Group began the process of developing a methodology for harmonized contingency planning for accidents with potential impacts on transboundary watercourses. The work is expected to be completed in 2013.
Several workshops dealing with prevention of accidental water pollution have also been jointly organized in the framework of the Industrial Accidents and Water Conventions.