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Global workshop on exchange of data and information in transboundary basins, held in Geneva, 4-5 December 2019. ©UNECE

 

On 4-5 December 2019 in Geneva, a Global Workshop on Exchange of Data and Information in transboundary basins was organized by the Secretariat of the Water Convention at the UNECE in cooperation with several partners including the EUWI+.

The main objectives of the workshop were to discuss practical experiences in information and data exchange, on the basis of a range of initiatives and transboundary basin or aquifer cases, considering different solutions.

Representatives from the EUWI+, including the Environment Agency Austria, the International Office for Water and national EUWI+ representatives shared their experience in the area of monitoring, data and information exchange from the Eastern Partnership countries.

Participants jointly identified the main challenges preventing effective data and information exchange in transboundary basins including insufficient funding for monitoring and the exchange of data and information, lack of appropriate infrastructure, such as monitoring equipment, but also lack of harmonization of standards and procedures, lack of trust and political instability as well as insufficient inter-agency and institutional coordination, besides lack of human resources.

The workshop also drew recommendations for efficient and sustainable data and information exchange in a transboundary context which can be taken on in future work supported by the bodies under the Water Convention, the workshop’s organizing partners – the European Union Water Initiative Plus (EUWI+), International Network of Basin Organizations, World Bank, World Meteorological Organization, UN Environment and the International Water Assessment Centre (IWAC) as well as by participating countries and transboundary basin organizations to foster transboundary water cooperation.

The workshop, which was attended by participants from more than 70 countries worldwide, was opened by Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Mr. Niokhor Ndour, Director of management and Planning of Water Resources, Senegal and Mr. Seppo Rekolainen, Director, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland.

Background info: Launched in September 2016 for a duration of four years, the European Union Water Initiative plus for the Eastern Partnership programme (EUWI+) is the biggest commitment of the EU to the water sector in the EaP countries. It supports the six partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) to align their legislation with EU policy on water management and MEAs, with a focus on transboundary rivers. It provides support to the development of a long-term vision of water sector reforms in the Partner Countries. The programme is implemented by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and an EU Member state Consortium comprising the Environment Agency Austria (Austria) and the International Office for Water (France).