On Tuesday, 30 April 2013, representatives of Azerbaijan and Georgia met in Tbilisi to discuss a draft bilateral agreement on the shared water resources of the Kura River Basin as part of a joint United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)-Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) project under the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC). The consultations were constructive, and only a couple of unresolved issues remain where additional discussions between the countries are needed.
Azerbaijan and Georgia rely on the water in the Kura Basin as a key source of drinking water, as well as for sanitation, municipal and industrial water use, hydropower and irrigated agriculture, among other uses. Increased variation in and reduction of water flow, deterioration of water quality, ecosystem degradation, flooding and bank erosion are some of the issues that need to be addressed jointly by the two Riparian States.
The draft agreement, which was officially submitted in advance of the meeting to Azerbaijan and Georgia for review, provides a framework for cooperation between the two countries on water pollution prevention and control, conservation of biodiversity, emergency situations, data and information sharing and public participation. The draft agreement also envisages the establishment of a joint commission for the protection and rational use of water resources of the Kura River Basin.
The project on the implementation of the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) and management of transboundary watercourses shared by Georgia and Azerbaijan has also provided technical assistance to Georgia in identifying its legal and financial needs for accession to, and implementation of, the Water Convention. It is being funded by the Governments of Canada and Finland.
For further information please visit: http://www.unece.org/env/water/caucasus.html or contact:
Mr. Bo Libert
UNECE Regional Adviser on Environment
Phone: +41 (0)22 917 2396
Note to Editors:
ENVSEC (www.envsec.org) was established in 2003 and includes OSCE, the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe, the United Nations Development Programme, UNECE and the United Nations Environment Programme. ENVSEC works to assess and address environmental problems that threaten or are perceived to threaten security, societal stability and peace, human health and/or sustainable livelihoods, within and across national borders in conflict-prone regions.
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 44 44
Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 05 05
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