On 22 November 2016, on the initiative of the current Council President (Senegal), for the first time the United Nations Security Council held an open debate on water, peace and security. In his opening remarks, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the role of the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) in transboundary water cooperation and sound water management. He also emphasized that the Convention is now open for accession to all United Nations Member States, offering the opportunity to create a global framework for dealing with transboundary water issues.
During the ensuing debate, more than 50 United Nations Member States took the floor and confirmed the importance of transboundary water cooperation for peace, security and stability, including peace-building. Delegates of numerous Water Convention Parties, such as Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the European Union, affirmed that the Water Convention had greatly contributed to improving transboundary water management in the pan-European region. Several stressed its role in the prevention and the management of post-conflict situations. Some shared positive experiences in implementing the Water Convention, such as the creation of river basin commissions. Other United Nations Member States underlined the importance of intersectoral cooperation, as reflected in the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus concept, which is also a priority area of work under the Convention. Several delegations welcomed the global opening of the Convention in 2016, which could strengthen United Nations multilateral diplomacy on peace, security and water and offered assistance on transboundary water cooperation, and encouraged other countries to accede to the Convention.
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