Major industrial accidents may cause far-reaching transboundary effects and may lead to accidental water pollution. Therefore, the Signatories, and later Parties, to the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents and the Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes decided to cooperate on issues related to the prevention of accidental pollution of transboundary waters.
As a result of this cooperation, a workshop on the prevention of chemical accidents and limitation of their impact on transboundary waters was held in Berlin in 1998. Taking into account the results of this workshop, the seventh meeting of the Signatories to the Industrial Accidents Convention (13-15 May 1998) proposed that a joint ad hoc expert group on water and industrial accidents be established under both Conventions. This proposal was endorsed by the first meeting of the Working Group on Water Management, established under the Water Convention, in September 1998.
The following year, a seminar on the prevention of chemical accidents and limitation of their impact on transboundary waters was held in Hamburg (Germany). The conclusions and recommendations of this seminar were then adopted at the second Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention, held in 2000, and endorsed by the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Industrial Accidents Convention, held later in the same year. Also in 2000, the Parties to both Conventions extended the mandate of the joint expert group to support and provide guidance in the implementation of the above recommendations and agreed on the group's future work plan on the prevention of accidental water pollution (decision 2000/5 in ECE/CP.TEIA/2, Annex VI).
The joint expert group has subsequently been tasked with, among other things:
- support to the Working Group on Civil Liability in its drafting of the Protocol on Civil Liability
- drafting guidelines for establishing model cross-border contingency plans
- reviewing the location criterion related to the water path contained in the guidelines to facilitate the identification of hazardous activities for the purposes of the Industrial Accidents Convention
- developing an inventory of existing safety guidelines and good practices for the prevention of accidental transboundary water pollution
- promoting international response exercises, including an international seminar on cooperation to prevent and respond to transboundary effects of industrial accidents (Ketrzyn, Poland, 13-15 June 2002)
- developing safety guidelines for (off-site) pipelines -- which resulted in adopted guidelines and included a workshop on the prevention of water pollution due to pipeline accidents (Berlin, 2005) and a workshop on the prevention of accidents of gas transmission pipelines (The Hague, Netherlands, 2006)
- drawing up guidelines and good practices for tailing dams -- which resulted in adopted guidelines and included a workshop on the safety of tailing management facilities (Yerevan, 2007)
- facilitating the exchange of information on the functioning of alarm and notification systems
- developing safety guidelines and good practices for crisis management on transboundary waters
More about the cooperation on water and industrial accidents