A new draft National Water Strategy was presented and discussed on 8 June in the Steering Committee of the National Policy Dialogue on Integrated Water Resources Management in Baku. The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), in cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Deputy Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Firdovsi Aliyev, opened the meeting, which gathered representatives of key authorities and stakeholders involved in water management, including the newly created State Water Resources Agency, as well as international partners.
The Water Strategy outlines priority directions and actions for the short and longer term — up to 18 years — in water-poor Azerbaijan. The overall objective is to introduce the principles of integrated water resources management (IWRM), as reflected in the European Union (EU) Water Framework Directive and the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention). Key directions of the strategy, which has been developed in cooperation with Finnish experts, include strengthening the protection of water resources and ecosystems, meeting the needs of different water users, promoting water saving and improving transboundary water cooperation.
A decision was taken by the Steering Committee on the further development of the strategy, which will be presented to the Cabinet of Ministers in Azerbaijan at the end of 2012.
The Steering Committee meeting further discussed development of transboundary water cooperation with Georgia, the need to strengthen the financial aspects of water management and the opportunities for cooperation on on-going international projects in the framework of the National Policy Dialogue.
More information on the EU Water Initiative National Policy Dialogue on IWRM is available from the UNECE and EU websites at www.unece.org/env/water/npd.html and www.euwi.net/policy-dialogues.
Note to Editors
National Policy Dialogues on IWRM and on Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) are the main operational instrument of the EU Water Initiative (EUWI) component for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The EUWI was launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (2002). UNECE is the strategic partner to support the policy dialogue process on IWRM, whereas the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is the strategic partner for WSS and financial aspects of IWRM. National Policy Dialogues are under way in the following countries of the region: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.
The UNECE Water Convention of 1992 aims to strengthen national measures and transboundary cooperation for the protection and ecologically sound management of transboundary surface waters and groundwaters. Thirty-seven States and the EU are Parties to the Water Convention.
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