From left to right: Mr. Rauf Hajiyev (Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources),
Freund Rainer (EU Delegation, program manager)
and Tatiana Efimova (OECD representative) at the 8th Steering Committee meeting of the National Policy Dialogue © OIEau
These were the words of Mr Mutallim Abdulhasanov (Head of Unit, Environmental Policy Division, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan) at the opening of the 8th Steering Committee meeting of the National Policy Dialogue held in Baku on 12 July.
The meeting was organised with the support of EUWI+ (European Union Water Initiative Plus for Eastern Partnership Countries).
The 44 participants agreed on the need to speed up the process of adopting the National Water Strategy in Azerbaijan. Rauf Hajiyev, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, also attended the meeting and said he hoped the Water Strategy will be adopted very soon.
Strong legal framework to integrate progress accomplished in the water sector
The Steering Committee pointed out the difficulties in implementing water reforms at basin level without making significant changes at national level.
Mutallim Abdulhasanov reported that most ministries had already given positive feedback on the final version of the Water Strategy. They are now waiting for final approval.
8th Steering Committee meeting of the National Policy Dialogue in Baku, Azerbaijan on 12 June 2019 © OIEau
The Steering Committee also welcomed the official adoption of the national targets under the Protocol on Water and Health (the first international agreement adopted specifically to attain an adequate supply of safe drinking water and sanitation for everyone, to which Azerbaijan is party).
Common language for future transboundary cooperation on the Kura river
Managing shared water resources involves sharing the same rules and a common language for future transboundary cooperation.
As pointed out by Mr Mutallim Abdulhasanov, Azerbaijan is located in the lower stream of the Kura River. It is thus very important to finalise the draft Kura Agreement between Azerbaijan and Georgia.
From left to right: Mr Mutallim Abdulhasanov (Head of Unit, Environmental Policy Division, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan) ,
Mr. Rauf Hajiyev (Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources),
Freund Rainer (EU Delegation, program manager) Tatiana Efimova (OECD representative), Alisher Mamadzhanov (UNECE, EUWI+, NPDs Regional Coordinator)
and Yannick Pochon (EUWI+, International Office for Water)© OIEau
Platform to clarify and coordinate the general outline of water management development
The Committee agreed on the importance of reforming economic instruments for water management in Azerbaijan. A fee-based system puts a value on water, and thus prevents users from wasting it.
Public awareness campaign on water saving and conservation of water resources in Azerbaijan © OIEau
“Don’t let the river dry!”
Representatives of EUWI+ reviewed the work on a methodology for environmental flow calculation and explained why it is particularly important for Azerbaijan, a country prone to water scarcity and drought.
By the end of the day, the Steering Committee had taken stock of the progress accomplished and welcomed synergies and cooperation between different projects. All participants affirmed their commitment to continuing their cooperation for the development of the water sector.
National Policy Dialogues (NPDs) are the main operational instrument under the European Union Water Initiative in the countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. The objective of National Policy Dialogues is to facilitate the reform of water policies in a particular country. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe is the strategic partner for NPDs on Integrated Water Resources Management; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is the strategic partner for NPDs on Water Supply and Sanitation and also works on the economic and financial dimension of water policies.
The meeting was attended by 44 participants representing various national ministries and agencies, NGOs, and representatives from the European Union, International Organisations and International Financial Institutions.