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Fostering cooperation in the Drin River Basin

The Drin River basin, shared by five Riparians: Albania, Greece, Kosovo (UNMIK, Security Council resolution 1244), Montenegro and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, faces several acute challenges, such as loss of biodiversity, pollution and frequent floods. The basin includes three major lakes: Prespa, Ohrid and Shkoder/Skadar and rivers connecting these lakes. Several meetings were held from 13-15 December in Pristina to discuss water cooperation between Riparians in the basin.

In 2011, the five Riparians signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing to a Shared Strategic Vision for the Sustainable Management of the Drin River basin. To support their cooperation, projects funded by the Global Environmental Facility are being implemented by the Global Water Partnership in partnership with UNECE.

In total the funding for 2016-2019 is US$ 5.5 million. The projects aim to improve the joint analysis and understanding of transboundary issues and will set up pilot projects to demonstrate sustainable development along the river and lakes, and contribute to the development and implementation of an action programme decided on by the Riparians.

In 2016, work has mainly concentrated on the preparatory work for the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) that will establish the scientific basis for the Strategic Action Programme, a political document providing the basis for deepening of the transboundary cooperation.  A joint expedition for water quality assessment over the whole basin is on-going. Five pilot projects are being initiated: on transboundary groundwater monitoring, development of a lake basin management plan of Lake Ohrid, improvement of wastewater treatment and flood management and reduction of nutrient load of the Lake Shkoder/Skadar.

In Pristina an expert group meeting preceded a major stakeholder conference with more than 100 participants from all Riparians. The final day the steering committee of the project – the Drin Core Group - made decisions on the planned work for 2017 on the basis of the discussions during the previous days.

More information on the Drin process and the projects is found on the website www.drincorda.org.