The first Steering Committee meeting of a new project led by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to improve access to clean water and adequate sanitation in the Republic of Moldova took place on 21 November 2012 in Chisinau. This new joint undertaking of UNECE and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is a direct continuation of a first project, implemented in 2009–2010, which culminated in the adoption of a list of targets under the Protocol on Water and Health to the UNECE Water Convention by the Moldovan Government.
The UNECE-SDC project, which will run until the end of 2015, is expected to put in place a legal and policy framework and adequate capacity for national and local authorities, as well as water operators and water users associations to implement measures towards the water and health targets set under the Protocol. Particular challenges that the project seeks to address in the Republic of Moldova are, for rural areas, the quality of groundwater, which is the main source of drinking water in those areas, and, for urban areas, health risks related to aging water and sanitation infrastructure.
The meeting commenced with an official signing ceremony of the joint agreement on project implementation by UNECE, SDC and the Moldovan Government. In their welcoming statements, the Minister of Environment, Gheorghe Salaru, and the Minister of Health, Andrei Usatii, confirmed the commitment of the Republic of Moldova to implement the targets set under the Protocol and to closely link that process with national planning in the area of water supply, sanitation, health and other relevant fields. The target on access to safe water supply sources, for instance, is projected to increase the current coverage of 59% of the total population to 68% in 2015 and 80% in 2020, while for schools and pre-school institutions it is intended to achieve 100% coverage by 2020.
The participants of the first Steering Committee meeting, co-chaired by both Ministers, reviewed and adopted the initial findings related to two key project outputs: the Action Plan on implementation of targets and its resource mobilization strategy; and the establishment of the Clearing House on the Protocol in the Republic of Moldova, which will serve as a physical and virtual resource centre for information on water and health issues. Around 40 representatives of governmental entities, international organizations and other development partners and stakeholders took part in the meeting that also finalized the workplan for the project for 2013.
For more information, please visit: http://www.unece.org/env/water.html
Ms. Francesca Bernardini
UNECE/WHO-EURO Protocol on Water and Health Secretariat
Phone: +41 (0)22 917 2463
Note for Editors:
The UNECE/World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe Protocol on Water and Health to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) is the first international agreement adopted specifically to ensure, by linking water management and health issues, the adequate supply of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. Twenty-five states are Parties to the Protocol, which entered into force on 4 August 2005. The Republic of Moldova became a Party to the Protocol on 15 December 2005. In accordance with the provisions of the Protocol and with the assistance of UNECE and SDC, the Republic of Moldova adopted a list of 34 targets and the related target dates under the Protocol by the Joint Order of Ministers of Environment and Health from 20 October 2010.
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