Estonia is organising a significant meeting on transboundary watercourses

29.09.2021 | 06:22

At the behest of Estonia and the UN, the ministers responsible for the environment from all across the world will convene in Geneva for the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention that will take place on 29 September – 1 October. On 1 October, Estonia will assume the presidency of the Water Convention.

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At the opening of the meeting, President Kersti Kaljulaid and Minister of the Environment Tõnis Mölder will give speeches on behalf of Estonia.

According to the Minister of the Environment Tõnis Mölder, Estonia has cooperated with its neighbours on issues relating to transboundary watercourses for many years. ‘Our cooperation with Russia in the joint monitoring of Lake Peipsi and Narva River as well as in regular discussions on water management is considered a successful example of transboundary water cooperation,’ said the minister. We are also working with Latvia to make sure that our waters are assessed in the same way and we cooperate in the preparation of economic analyses, a joint monitoring programme, and a joint action plan. Cooperating with our neighbours has given us a lot of experience that we can now share during our presidency of the Water Convention.’

The main topics of the meeting will be the role of transboundary cooperation in ensuring peace, stability, regional integration, and security, the allocation of water resources and the impact of climate change on the availability of water, and an integrated approach to managing water resources. Financing transboundary cooperation and the globalisation of the convention are also on the agenda.

Of the 153 countries that share transboundary watercourses, only 24 countries, including Estonia, engage in operational transboundary cooperation to manage water resources. Thus, there is still a long way to go to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.

The meeting will adopt the convention’s programme of work for 2022–2024 and several guidelines for the implementation and interpretation of the convention.

The Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention will take place in a hybrid format, both in Geneva and online. The conference will be attended by parties to the convention as well as observers, states of the UNECE region, and representatives of government agencies, non-governmental organisations, and academic institutions. The meeting will be attended by about 700 people. The high-level segment with the participation of ministers and other higher representatives will take place on the first day of the meeting.

The meeting is a high-level event of the UN transboundary water cooperation that takes place every three years.

More information on the meeting: https://unece.org/info/Environmental-Policy/Water-Convention/events/356707.

Agnes Aaslaid

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