On April 21, 2021, International Water Assessment Center (IWAC) participated in the fourth webinar “Universal Access to hand hygiene: How to make it reality?", organized within the framework of UNECE and WHO Protocol on Water and Health, and the WHO and UNICEF “Hand Hygiene for All” initiative.

The "Hand Hygiene for All" initiative was launched by WHO and UNICEF with the aim of achieving sustainable improvements in the provision of safe and high-quality health care to the population of countries.

It is widely known that hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of diseases, including the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, the main purpose of the workshop was to discuss ways to achieve universal hand hygiene, especially in public places, as well as the increasing role of the Protocol on Water and Health in supporting this initiative in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The participants also shared their countries’ experiences in adopting strategies and practical measures to improve public access to hand-washing products with soap and water in all settings. For example, representatives of Kyrgyzstan presented the regulatory framework governing hand hygiene in public places, educational institutions and private enterprises in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, participants were provided with more detailed information on the WHO global campaign “Save Lives: Wash Your Hands", launched in 2009 and annually celebrated Hand Hygiene Day (May 5), which aims to support the global promotion of hand hygiene in public health around the world.

The event was held online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar was attended by representatives of government authorities of interested countries, representatives of WHO, UNECE and UNICEF, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations, etc.

 

On 1 April 2021, the International Water Assessment Centre (IWAC) participated in an Expert Meeting on Monitoring, Assessment and Data Exchange under the UNECE Water Convention. The event was held in an online format and consisted of two sessions.

The meeting presented the monitoring and assessment work under the Water Convention and the results of the survey for the preparation of the next work programme of the Water Convention for 2022-2024. In addition, participants were presented with an overview of existing guidelines for monitoring and assessing transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwaters, as well as the capacity of countries to apply the guidelines and good practices. The meeting resulted in the presentation of conclusions on the programme of work  for 2022-2024 of the Water Convention.

The meeting targeted nominated experts experienced in matters related to monitoring and assessment and focal points of the Water Convention, especially those who participated at the fifteenth meeting of the Working Group on Monitoring and Assessment (WGMA) and Global workshop on Data Exchange and information (4-6 December 2019); and organizations interested in cooperating on topics in focus. The meeting is also open to participation by other interested experts from Governments, international and regional organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector.

On April 1, 2021, the International Water Assessment Center (IWAC) participated in the introductory workshop on the launch of the USAID Regional Project on Water and the Environment in Kazakhstan. The new five-year activity is aimed to strengthen regional cooperation between the five countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan on the management of shared water resources and mitigate environmental risks in the Syr Darya and Amu Darya river basins.

Participants discussed national and regional challenges facing the management of shared water resources in the water-energy-food NEXUS, and recognized the important role that the new USAID Regional Water and Vulnerable Environment activity will play to address those challenges. The participants also highlighted the importance of taking into account the specifics of regional cooperation in the context of climate change in Central Asia, ensuring high-quality monitoring in the Syrdarya and Amu Darya river basins, and taking into account the experience of other countries in addressing their transboundary issues.

The meeting was organized by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Representatives from the ministries of Ministries of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources, Agriculture, Energy, Foreign Affairs, National Economy, and Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, international organizations, regional water organizations, civil society, private sector, academic and research institutions participated in the event.

On 31 March 2021, the International Water Assessment Centre (IWAC) participated in the 12th Meeting of the Task Force on Water and Climate. The event was held in a hybrid format, online and with a partial presence of participants in Geneva.

The main purpose of the meeting was to discuss plans and provide guidance to the implementation of the activities on water and climate under the programme of work for 2019-2021 of the Water Convention as well as to the planned activities under the next programme of work for 2022-2024 of the Water Convention.

As a result of the meeting, participants adopted the outcomes of the Global workshop on building climate resilience through improving water management and sanitation at national and transboundary levels, and commended the recent progress made in the work of the Global network of basins working on climate change adaptation. Countries were encouraged to include transboundary aspects of water management in their national climate change adaptation documents. Participants were also invited to provide comments and suggestions on future climate change adaptation activities in transboundary basins, as reflected in the draft of the next work programme for 2022-2024 under the Water Convention, by 15 April 2021.

The meeting was attended by experts representing public authorities, the private sector, non-governmental and international organizations, as well as other stakeholders.

From 29 to 31 March 2021, the International Water Assessment Centre (IWAC) participated in a Global workshop on building climate resilience through improving water management and sanitation at national and transboundary levels. The event was held in a hybrid format, online and with a partial presence of participants in Geneva.

The workshop was divided into 5 thematic sessions on the impact of climate change on water management at both the national and transboundary levels, as well as on water, sanitation and health systems.

During the first session,participants have discussed the issues of increasing the resilience of the water and sanitation sectors to climate change. In particular, they considered the negative impact of extreme weather conditions on the reduction of water supplies and pollution of drinking sources, which in turn leads to outbreaks of various diseases among the population.

The second session focused on increasing the role of water, sanitation and health in national policies around the world.

During the third session, participants discussed the role of transboundary cooperation in disaster risk reduction. An integrated approach that addresses different risk factors and is consistent with the principles of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 is needed in order to effectively deal with natural disasters.

The fourth session was devoted to transboundary cooperation and health policy. The inclusion of health and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) issues in cross-border agreements is very relevant in view of the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The final fifth session was devoted to the harmonization of solutions on climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, transboundary cooperation and health at the national level.

The global workshop is organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe,  the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), the International Network of Basin Organisations (INBO), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

The IWAC team is very pleased to present to you the electronic brochure on "Water resources allocation in a transboundary context to strengthen water cooperation between the countries of Eurasia".  

The distribution of water resources is one of the most pressing issues in many regions of the world. The growing consumption and use of water resources, as well as water scarcity and climate change have increased interest to the issue of water resources allocation worldwide. In the context of growing water scarcity, sustainable and equitable water distribution is also very important for the countries of Eurasian continent.

A Handbook on the Allocation of Water Resources in a Transboundary Context is being developed within the framework of the implementation of the Water Convention and with the aim to develop equitable and sustainable mechanisms for the allocation of water resources in a transboundary context. It is intended to provide practical guidance for decision makers, practitioners in the field of integrated water resources management and management in transboundary river basins.

Moreover, the regional project "Sustainable Water Resource Allocation in a Transboundary context" was implemented to support the development of this Handbook. The project was implemented with the financial support of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan with the participation of a group of experts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, as well as Afghanistan, Iran, China, Russia and Mongolia.  

The project made a significant contribution to the preparation of the descriptive part of the Handbook, thematic examples of cooperation on various aspects of water resources allocation in a transboundary context and assisted in the development of consolidated proposals to the Handbook from the countries of the Eurasian region.  

Брошюра по распределению водных ресурсов в транграничном контексте   Brochure on water resources allocation in a transboundary context

(please follow the link attached to the pictures in order to download the publication)

This publication has been prepared based on materials prepared within the framework of the regional project and compiled with the participation of the project's expert group.   The publication provides an overview of the existing regional cooperation in the basins of transboundary rivers of the Eurasian countries, a brief description of the legal and organizational framework for such cooperation and the distribution of water resources in transboundary basins. It also examines the existing problems of interaction in the allocation of water resources and offers recommendations for their resolution.

From 10 to 18 March, the International Water Assessment Centre (IWAC) participated in the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development of the UNECE region, which was organized in a hybrid format (in Geneva and online). The opening session of the forum was held on March 17, while the plenary session and the closing session - on March 18. The structure of the forum was divided into parallel cluster events, distributed according to the selected sustainable development goals related to water.

One of the side-events named “Water Dialogues for Results - towards Bonn 2021: Accelerating cross-sectoral SDG 6 implementation” was held on 11 March in an online format. The event was organized by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia.

The main goal of the event was to discuss the UNECE perspective on taking the necessary actions to ensure the accelerated implementation of the water-related Sustainable Development Goals. Discussion covered the overall progress achieved in recent years in the implementation of SDG 6, the impact of climate change on achieving these results, and the important role of transboundary cooperation in achieving SDG 6 and related SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions). Moreover, participants were re-introduced to the SDG6 global acceleration framework, the results of which will be considered at the UN Conference 2023 in New York.

The main goal of the Water Dialogues is to involve all stakeholders in the process of achieving SDG 6, from government officials to representatives of the private sector and international organizations. The Water Dialogues initiative aims to accelerate the achievement of the water-related Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Series of dialogues will be organized from February to June 2021 and eventually conclude with a high-level meeting in Bonn, Germany in July 2021. In turn, the water dialogues and related high-level meetings are part of the formal preparatory process for the 2023 UN Conference in New York, where the goals of the 2018-2028 International Decade will be reviewed.

On February 25, the International Water Assessment Center participated in a webinar on the program "Water as a Driver of sustainable recovery: Economic, institutional and strategic aspects of water resources management in Central Asia". This program is supported by the Blue Peace Central Asia (BPCA) initiative of the Swiss Development Cooperation, the Stockholm International Water Resources Institute (SIWI), the Center for Central Asian Studies of the Corvinus University in Budapest (CUB) and the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia. (CAREC).

The main goal of the webinar was to identify the necessary structural and institutional reforms to achieve the sustainability of the water sector in Central Asia.  The webinar was divided into two sessions. During the first session, participants discussed strategies for the rehabilitation of the water sector in Central Asia, which will need to be implemented to mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The second session was devoted to institutional reforms in support of the water sector in the countries of the region. Given that the main water infrastructure of the Central Asian countries is still state-owned, accelerating the institutional reforms of the countries' water sector would ensure the long-term stability and prosperity of the region as a whole. Overall, participants agreed that effective implementation of institutional and structural reforms of the water sector in Central Asian countries would not only allow achieving more sustainable results, but also would offer broader benefits to millions of people.

A webinar on the program «Water as a driver of sustainable recovery: Economic, institutional and strategic aspects of water resources management in Central Asia» is planned to take place on 25 February 2021. This program is supported by the Blue Peace Central Asia (BPCA) initiative of the Swiss Development Cooperation, the Stockholm International Water Resources Institute (SIWI), the Center for Central Asian Studies of the Corvinus University in Budapest (CUB) and the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia. (CAREC). The participants of the webinar will discuss structural and institutional reforms to achieve the sustainability of the water sector in Central Asia.

The 31st meeting of the Bureau of the Meeting of the Parties Water Convention took place on 21-22 January 2021 in a hybrid form, both online and through the physical presence at the Palais de Nations in Geneva..