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Kazakhstan launches the International Water Assessment Centre, supporting collaboration under UNECE’s Water Convention

Published: 07 December 2017

The International Water Assessment Centre (IWAC), the collaborative centre of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), was launched today in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The Centre, which the Kazakh Government will be hosting in Astana, aims to support the implementation and application of the Water Convention, its Protocol on Water and Health and their respective programmes of work. The Centre’s work will focus on Kazakhstan’s neighbouring countries, other Central Asian countries and beyond. IWAC activities will be guided by the principles of neutrality and cooperation, in the best interests of the Water Convention and in accordance with international water law, in order to safeguard credibility, independence and objectivity.

IWAC was established by the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention at its second session (The Hague, Netherlands, 23-25 March 2000). The Centre was previously hosted from 2000 to 2008 in the Netherlands and from 2009 to 2012 in Slovakia.

Within the overall objective to support accession to and implementation of the Water Convention and its Protocol on Water and Health, the Centre’s terms of reference are very broad and include organizing training courses, promoting the exchange of expertise and good practices related to the work under the Convention and the Protocol, carrying out and/or coordinating studies related to the work under the Convention and the Protocol, contributing to the activities in the Convention’s and Protocol’s programmes of work and drawing up and implementing projects to support implementation of the Convention and the Protocol.

The detailed programme of work of IWAC will be developed in closed cooperation with the concerned countries and the Bureau of the Water Convention.

The new Centre will represent an important asset for the organization of the eighth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention, which Kazakhstan will host in Astana from 10 to 12 October 2018. Furthermore, IWAC will be a powerful operational arm for the ensuing Kazakh presidency of the Water Convention until 2021.

The launch of IWAC was held during the regular meeting of the National Policy Dialogue on Water, a national platform for interministerial coordination of water policy development. The inaugural event for IWAC was attended by representatives of five neighbouring countries, ambassadors of Switzerland and Slovakia and by international agencies and donors, including the Asian Development Bank, the European Union, OECD, OSCE, UNDP and WHO. Representatives of partner institutions congratulated Kazakhstan for the initiative to host the Centre and expressed willingness to cooperate with it.

For more information, please contact Francesca Bernardini, Secretary to the Water Convention, Francesca.bernardini@unece.org, Tel:  +41 22 917 10 32


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