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Slovakia inaugurates new international water centre to support UNECE work

Published:06 April 2009

Geneva

Ján Kubiš, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and Ján Chrbet, Minister of Environment of Slovakia inaugurated today the International Water Assessment Centre (IWAC) in Bratislava. IWAC is the collaborating centre of the 1992 UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, commonly known as the UNECE Water Convention. Established in 2000 under the leadership of the Netherlands, IWAC has proven to be an effective operational arm of the Convention and its Protocols on Water and Health and on Civil Liability, and has helped to transform these instruments’ obligations into concrete action.

The inauguration was marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on IWAC by the two parties.

On this occasion, Ján Kubiš declared:  The MoU we sign today between the Slovak Government and UNECE marks the commitment taken by both parties to make IWAC a successful example of the Convention’s accomplishments. Even if this MoU is valid up to 2012 I hope that such a commitment will be further prolonged and that these first three years are the beginning of a longer undertaking”.

IWAC will complement and strengthen the work carried out under the UNECE Water Convention by focusing on projects on transboundary waters in countries with economies in transition. These projects will help translate into practice the strategic and policy work carried out under the Convention.

In line with the Convention focus, projects will address issues such as monitoring and assessment, adaptation to climate change and development of innovative financing tools such as payments for ecosystem services, taking into account the specificities and challenges of transboundary cooperation.

IWAC’s work will also aim at strengthening the knowledge base for transboundary water cooperation by contributing to the second Assessment of Transboundary Waters in the UNECE region that will be submitted to the seventh Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” (tentatively scheduled in Astana in 2011).

Slovakia will host IWAC at the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute in Bratislava and will provide the necessary financial, technical and human resources.

For further information, please contact:

Francesca Bernardini

Secretary to the UNECE Water Convention

UNECE Environment, Housing and Land Management Division

Tel: +41 (0)22 917 2463

Mobile: +41 79 277 3867

Fax: +41 (0)22 917 0107

Ref: ECE/ENV/09/P04

 


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