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NGO involvement in Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia

Project titlePromoting involvement of NGOs in countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia into implementation of water related Millennium Development Goals through strengthening a network of NGOs dealing with water issues, NGO capacity building and sustainable development education

Project funder: UNESCO Participation Programme 2010-2011

Time: December 2010-December 2011

Estonian coordinator
: Margit Säre, margit@ctc.ee, tel +3725088409

Project objectives

The project is aimed at strengthening the role of NGOs in EECCA countries working with issues of water (including topics of transboundary water cooperation, water and health, water and adaptation to the climate change) in achieving the Millenium Development Goals. The specific project objectives include:

1.     Promoting awareness among NGOs in EECCA countries about the water related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and discussing possible NGO actions aimed at achieving MDGs in each country where NGOs could get involved;

2.     Strengthening the network of NGOs in Europe and EECCA countries dealing with water issues, including issues of transboundary water cooperation and public participation in water management, water and health, water and adaptation to climate change;

3.     Developing capacity of NGOs from EECCA countries to participation in the MDGs’ implementation in their countries.  

The project is in the line with the UNESCO priority “Education for Sustainable Development” in the part of the environmental, water and adaptation to climate change education The project will also support implementation of the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP). 


Project activities

1.Website and brochure will be produced to inform about the project activities, relevant issues in the project countries. News will be disseminated through e-mail list and website.

2. Local actions in eight participating (Estonia, Armenia, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan) countries to celebrate the World Water Day will take place on 22 March. Campaign information materials presented at http://www.worldwaterday2010.info/, the offical World Water Day will be used to disseminate information among public on the water related MDGs. 

3. A 4 – day summer school bringing together about 20 representatives from NGOs, water experts, representatives of local authorities mostly from the EECCA countries will be held in June 2010 in Tartu, Estonia. This summer school will be co-organised with the methodological support of the UN Economic Commission Secretariat of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), see www.unece.org, and its experts on topics of transboundary water management, Water and Health and Adaptation to Climate Change in Water Sector

4. A publication in Estonian, Russian and English will be produced by project partner organisations reflecting their experiences and good practices in addressing water related MDGs. The publication will be ready in October 2011 and will be presented through those NGOs project participants who will attend the 2011 Astana high-level conference “Environment for Europe” at that conference.

Read the publication:

Transboundary Water Management in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Role of NGOs in promoting Integrated Water Resources Management, 2011


Background

National Policy Dialogues (NPDs) on integrated water resources management and water supply and sanitation are the main operational instrument of the European Union Water Initiative (EUWI) Component for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA). The EUWI, including its component for EECCA, was launched at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was requested to act as strategic partner to support the policy dialogue process on integrated water resources management, whereas the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was requested to do so for water supply and sanitation.

Policy dialogues are based on consultations with relevant ministries, agencies and institutions (including science and academia), non-governmental organizations, parliamentary bodies and other national and international organizations. The dialogue process is usually conducted under the leadership of a high-level government representative such as the Deputy Minister of Water Resources or Chairman of the State Water Committee. In the respective countries, national Steering Committees are established, which include representatives of relevant ministries, agencies and institutions and non-governmental organizations.

The main outcome of the NPDs are so-called “policy packages” such as legislative acts, strategies, ministerial orders and plans of implementation. But emphasis is also put on the implementation of already adopted policies; this is done through pilot projects or provision of technical assistance.

Since 2006, under the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) National Policy Dialogues have been carried out in four countries: Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

At the same time, policy dialogues are initiated in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.


News


1 December; New publication on transboundary water management in ECCAA countries
At the end of November 2011 Peipsi CTC presented a new collection of articles - "Transboundary Water Management in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Role of NGOs in promoting Integrated Water Resources Managment". Special attention has been paid on Lake Peipsi, River Dniester, River Danube Lower Danube Delta, River Kura-Araks and Rivers Chu and Talas.
This publication is based on the presentations and other materials presented at the summer school in Estonia in Aug 2011, where the challenges concerning transboundary water management and sustainable development were discussed and case studies were presented.
Publication is available in English and Russian, limited amount of paper copies are also available.
The publication is supported by UNECE, UNESCO Participation Programme 2010-2011 and Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Development Cooperation Programme.
Additional information: Margit Säre, margit@ctc.ee



21 Sept. 2011;  7th Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” opens  in Astana. 

More than 800 participants will discuss the two main themes for the Conference: Sustainable management of water and water-related ecosystems; and Greening the economy: mainstreaming the environment into economic development.
 From governments and international organizations to businesses and NGOs, the “Environment for Europe” partners and stakeholders will work together under a common moto - “Save Water, Grow Green!”. The Declaration to be approved by the ministers of environment will become a pledge for action to bring the conference discussions and outcomes into reality.
The two reports produced for Astana Conference:
  • Europe’s Environment – An Assessment of Assessments prepared under the leadership of the European Environment Agency (EEA) and
  • Second Assessment of Transboundary Rivers, Lakes and Groundwaters developed under the auspices of the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) –
provide the decision and policy makes with food for thought, as well as stimulate further action by Governments, the international community, including donors, NGOs and other partners.
Read more: www. unece.org


2 sept. 2011; A national expert group established under the EUWI National Policy Dialogue on IWRM met for the first time in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The group comprised 12 experts, including two deputy ministers, and is supported by the UNECE Secretariat. Based on a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan, the group was established to develop proposals by the government to change legislation in accordance with the 1992 UNECE Water Convention. The major outcome of the meeting was the definition of the work plan of the group and the identification of more than thirty legal documents to be reviewed.

The National Policy Dialogue on water is the main operational instrument of the EU Water Initiative (EUWI), an international partnership that aims to contribute to the achievement of the water-related Millennium Development Goals. UNECE is the EUWI strategic partner responsible for coordination of National Policy Dialogues on IWMR in countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Implementation of the EUWI National Policy Dialogues on IWRM is supported in 2010–2012 by the European Commission; the Governments of Finland, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland; and ENVSEC programme through OSCE.

Please see more at http://www.unece.org/env/water/npd.htm


14-18 August 2011cross border cooperation summer school at Lake Peipsi.

Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation has been organising cross border cooperation summer schools since 2004. This years topic: “Transboundary water management and sustainable development in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) countries”  bring together about 30 water experts, representatives of NGOs and local authorities from the Estonia, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Ukraine,Belarus, Georgia, Armenia

The presentations of the  summer school range from transboundary water management to water and health, and adaptation to climate change in water sector. The program contains academic lectures, field trips, case study presentations, discussions and meetings with different water experts.

The summer school is supporte by: Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNESCO.


The kick-off meeting of the EU Water Initiative National Policy Dialogue on Integrated Water Resource Management took place on 29 and 30 March 2011 in Tbilisi, Georgia

The meeting was organized at the time of ongoing reforms in Georgia aimed at the liberalization of the economy and restructuring the environmental sector. The start of the National Policy Dialogue on integrated water resources management (IWRM) as an instrument for the intersectoral dialogue on water management is therefore crucial; it allows establishing contacts and cooperation between the agencies and ministries sharing responsibilities for water in Georgia. An important task under the National Policy Dialogue on IWRM is evaluation of the existing water policies and their revision to ensure they reflect better the changing institutional context of water management in Georgia. 

The National Policy Dialogue on IWRM in Georgia focuses on four major topics: establishment of the legal framework for water management based on the IWRM principles; IWRM financing; setting up the targets for implementation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)/World Health Organization (WHO) Protocol on Water and Health to the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention); and transboundary water cooperation activities — in particular, preparing a transboundary water agreement with neighbouring Azerbaijan and supporting the accession of Georgia to the UNECE Water Convention.  

Read more on National Policy Dialogue on IWRM:www.unece.org/env/water/npd.htm


22 March is World Water Day, with the main theme of 2011 “Water for cities”

International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March, to focus international attention on the importance of freshwater.

The United Nations General Assembly designated  22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day and this day is held annually to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The objective of World Water Day 2011 is to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems. This is the first time in human history that most of the world's population live in cities - 3.3 billion people - and the urban landscape continues to grow. 

This year’s theme aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing also the challenges of urban water management.

Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation has implemented water management related projects since 1994 not only in  international Lake Peipsi region but also in the Moldovan-Ukrainian, Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan, Albanian-Macedonian etc. transboundary water areas.




Information sheet on National Policy Dialogues on IWRM; Decmber 2010,  at:  www.unece.org/env/water/npd.htm


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