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Regular Programme of Technical Cooperation ENVIRONMENT


Subprogramme: Environment

Dam safety in Central Asia

More than 100 Central Asian dams and water-control facilities are ageing and are not adequately maintained. Meanwhile, the number of people living downstream from these dams is growing. If a dam were to break, the humanitarian and economic consequences could be enormous. Therefore, to prevent such major dam accidents, in collaboration with UNESCAP we launched a project to help the countries work together to ensure safer dams.

The joint project resulted in a model national law on safety of large hydraulic facilities, including dams, intended to be a basis for national harmonized legal frameworks for dam safety. A draft was drawn up of a regional agreement on cooperation on dam safety, which stipulates, inter alia, exchange of information and notification of other countries in case of accidents with dams. The Central Asian countries are active in this work to improve or revise the existing legal provisions and institutional modalities for dam safety.

Tajikistan and Turkmenistan will develop a national law on safety of hydraulic structures including dams by adapting the model law; Kyrgyzstan will create a national commission on safety of dams; Kazakhstan is considering changing its Water Code to incorporate provisions for regulating dam safety.

Uzbekistan is working towards enforcing the law on safety of hydraulic structures, which was adopted in 1999. All the countries are interested in pursuing regional cooperation on dam safety by setting up a legal and institutional framework along the lines of the proposed regional agreement.


Transboundary water cooperation in the Drin River Basin in South East Europe

The Drin River transboundary system (Basin) demonstrates interdependences between different users in five inter-connected water bodies (Prespa, Ohrid and Skadar/Shkoder Lakes and the Drin and Buna/Bojana Rivers) and the Adriatic Sea. However, the Basin is managed through different and often conflicting national management approaches leading to the degradation of natural values, and considerable pollution export to the Adriatic Sea.

The objective of this project is to improve the transboundary management of the Drin River Basin. UNECE, in cooperation with Global Water Partnership Mediterranean, organized consultation meetings on integrated management of the extended Drin River involving governmental and non-governmental representatives from Albania, Greece, Montenegro, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo (UN Security Council resolution 1244). Drawing on the conclusions of these meetings, the water competent Ministries as well as other stakeholders in the Drin River Riparian countries have developed a Shared Vision for the management of the Basin facilitating the enhancement of transboundary cooperation. A Memorandum of Understanding on the Shared Strategic Vision for the Sustainable Management of the Drin River Basin was signed by the five riparians in Tirana, Albania on 25 November 2011.  The MoU establishes a structure for cooperation between the riparians and defines short-term, medium-term and long-term objectives for the cooperation. Implementation of this MoU will benefit about 1.5 million people relying on the water resources of the basin for drinking water, agriculture, fisheries, industry and hydropower.

In 2012, the institutional structure for the implementation of the MoU was established and a grant of 4.5 million USD for the development of practical cooperation was approved by the Global Environmental Facility with UNECE being one of the implementing agencies.