On 17 December, two automated flow-monitoring stations in the Ukrainian part of the Dniester River Basin were opened during an official ceremony, followed by a press conference. The stations, which will serve among others to better predict flood risks in the flood-prone Dniester basin, will automatically collect and transmit information directly to Ukraine’s Dniester-Prut Water Basin Board in Chernivtsi and, in the future, also to other users located downstream, including in the Republic of Moldova and the city of Odessa in Ukraine.
The automated stations will monitor the water level in the Dniester River, as well as the water and air temperature. The operation of the stations will facilitate the forecasting of and warnings about floods in the upper part of the Dniester River, and will provide timely warnings about expected water levels downstream.
The stations, installed in the Ukrainian towns of Zalishchyky and Galych, were established in the framework of a project to reduce vulnerability to extreme floods and climate change in the Dniester River Basin being implemented under the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe with financial support from the Governments of Finland and Sweden. Strengthening such capacities in the already flood-prone Dniester Basin, which is subject to additional risks from a changing climate, is among key priorities of the project.
On the same occasion, the renewed Dniester River Basin geo-information system and the first- Environmental Atlas of the Dniester River Basin, developed by Zoï Environment Network and UNEP/GRID-Arendal in the framework of the Dniester-III project were launched. The Atlas is the first attempt to present the environmental state of the transboundary river in a visual format, with over 30 thematic maps of the basin, graphics, diagrams and pictures. The Atlas is further supported by the Dniester River Basin geo-information system, designed to facilitate strategic and operational decisions in the basin.
The opening of the monitoring stations was preceded by the sixth meeting of the working group on flood management and climate change adaptation under the project, as well as consultations with Ukrainian regional and sectoral representatives on the development of the transboundary Dniester adaptation strategy on 13 and 14 December 2012 in Kyiv. At these meetings, some 50 stakeholders discussed the most important climate change impacts, adaptive capacities and potential adaptation measures to be included in the first transboundary adaptation strategy for the Dniester, which will be developed in the framework of a follow-up project in 2013, funded by Austria and the European Union. Following the construction of several automated monitoring stations also in the Moldovan part of the basin, exchange of data and the creation of harmonized data systems for this purpose was considered as crucially important for addressing flood risks in the transboundary Dniester basin and for implementing the new bilateral Treaty on Cooperation on the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Dniester River Basin, signed by the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine during the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) (Rome, 29 November 2013).
Environmental Atlas of the Dniester River Basin http://dniester.grida.no/ru/about-project/dniester-env-atlas (English/Russian text)
Note to editors
The international project “Reducing vulnerability to extreme floods and climate change in the Dniester river basin” started in 2010 as a follow-up to “Transboundary cooperation and sustainable development in the Dniester River basin: phase III – Implementation of the Action Program (Dniester III)”. The implementation of the project is supported by the Governments of Finland and Sweden through ENVSEC, and is carried out in close cooperation with the ministries of environment, water and other authorities, academia and non-governmental organizations of Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. The international partners of the project include UNECE, UNEP and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The project’s aim is to extend and strengthen joint management of the Dniester River Basin by the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, in particular through jointly evaluating and addressing on the transboundary level the risks and adaptation needs related to climate change, as well as to the management of floods. One of the project’s tasks is to support the efforts of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to improve the monitoring and forecasting of extreme floods through strengthening the system of flow monitoring and data exchange between the countries. Other activities, partially completed, include basin-wide modelling of climate change impacts on water resources, a basin-wide vulnerability assessment, flood risk mapping/modelling in two selected sites, as well as flood risk communication activities. The project is part of the UNECE Water Convention’s programme of pilot projects on climate change adaptation in transboundary basins.
On 29 November 2012 the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Moldova, Mr. Gheorge Salaru, and the Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, Mr. Eduard Stavytskyi, signed the bilateral Treaty on Cooperation on the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Dniester River Basin during the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE Water Convention in Rome. The new Treaty identifies principles and provides a framework for cooperation on water pollution prevention and control, water flow regulation, conservation of biodiversity and protection of the Black Sea environment. It also addresses the monitoring of data exchange, public participation and cooperation in emergency situations.
Information about the project is available online at: www1.unece.org/ehlm/platform/display/ClimateChange/Dniester
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