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UNECE helps Sava countries to adapt to climate change and balance water use between sectors

Published: 05 June 2013

UNECE is helping the Sava countries, namely Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, to adapt to climate change and anticipate flood risks. Through a project entitled “Building the link between transboundary flood risk management and climate change adaptation”, this has led to the elaboration of a draft programme for development of a flood risk management plan. These issues were discussed, among others, during the fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Sava Framework Agreement, which took place on Friday, 31 May 2013 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Representatives of the four Sava countries underlined the importance of the Sava agreement, signed in 2002, with support from UNECE’s Water Convention leading to the establishment of the International Sava River Basin Commission in 2006, and committed to its further implementation and development. All of them also highlighted the numerous pressures on the Sava Basin, including climate change, floods and drought, especially in Slovenia.

In his opening statement at the meeting, UNECE Executive Secretary Sven Alkalaj underscored that the plan would help the Sava countries both “to collectively address transboundary flood risks” and to fulfil their obligations with regard to the Protocol on Flood Protection and EU legislation in this area.

The programme for development of the flood risk management plan, as well as possible climate change adaptation measures, will be discussed at the final stakeholder workshop for the project, to be held on 5 and 6 June 2013 in Zagreb.

A new field of cooperation between the Sava Commission and the UNECE Water Convention is the thematic assessment of the water-energy-food-ecosystems nexus, Sven Alkalaj observed. This innovative assessment will evaluate the challenges and opportunities-related coordination between the water, energy and food sectors in selected transboundary basins. It could also support the next river basin management planning cycle by helping to convene water-using sectors and collecting related information.

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