New project will help the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine jointly adapt their management of the Dniester basin to climate change

The Dniester River shared by Moldova and Ukraine will be affected by climate change leading to warmer and wetter winters and hotter, drier summers, says the study carried out within the UNECE-OSCE-UNEP  project under the international Environment and Security initiative (ENVSEC) “Reducing vulnerability to extreme floods and climate change in the Dniester”. The study predicts a temperature rise by 2050, and changes in precipitation leading to drier summers with less flow, but also more frequent and heavier rains in the basin. Flooding is a major transboundary problem for the Dniester; heavy floods in 2008 lead to several dozens of casualties and major financial losses. Climate impacts on water resources also have a cascading effect on the population of the basin and other sectors such as agriculture (decreasing the availability of water for irrigation, while increasing demand), power generation (reduced hydropower potential), recreation (water-linked tourism), fisheries and the state of biodiversity.

Representatives of different water users, sectors, regions and authorities along the Dniester River therefore gathered on 9 July in Chisinau to discuss the risks and possible measures which can minimize the risks and protect the population, infrastructure and natural landscapes of the basin. Through round-table discussions focusing on climate change impacts in specific regions and sectors, as well as interactive group discussions, the workshop helped identify and prioritize climate change impacts and potential adaptation measures in the Dniester Basin. The participants suggested that climate change impacts on groundwater levels and runoff should be addressed through improved management of water reservoirs in the basin, better information exchange between Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, especially in situations of extreme weather events, reforestation and the restoration of critical ecosystems.

The stakeholder workshop was held in the framework of the new project “Climate change and security in the Dniester basin” carried out by UNECE and OSCE, under the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) with funding from the European Commission and the Austrian Development Agency, the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation. The new project was launched on 10 July  followed by the seventh meeting of the Working Group on Flood Management and Climate Change Adaptation.

Note to editors:

Traversing 1,362 kilometres, the Dniester River is one of the largest Eastern European rivers. Along with supply of drinking water, hydropower generation and fisheries are other important sectors it serves. The river starts in the Ukrainian Carpathian mountains, flows through the Republic of Moldova and re-enters Ukraine where it discharges into the Black Sea.  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 project, funded by the Austrian Development Agency with funds from Austrian Development Cooperation and the European Commission in the framework of ENVSEC, will increase adaptive capacity of the riparian countries sharing the Dniester river basin, through improved transboundary cooperation. Main results will include the development of a strategic framework for basin-wide adaptation and the support for the implementation of a few priority adaptation measures in the Basin. The project is carried out by UNECE and OSCE 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 project is part of the UNECE Water Convention’s programme of pilot projects on climate change adaptation in transboundary basins as well as part of a larger scale ENVSEC project jointly implemented with the European Commission Instrument for Stability (EC/IfS) entitled “Climate Change and Security in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus”.