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The European Union is adopting a new policy framework for the Eastern Partnership (EaP) beyond 2020. As well as helping the 6 Eastern Partnership countries achieve established targets, the European Union Water Initiative Plus (EUWI+) beneficiary countries stand ready to further improve their water resources management in line with the new set of policy objectives.

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Eastern Partnership beyond 2020: working together towards environmental and climate resilience

With the current Eastern Partnership (EaP) “20 Deliverables for 2020” framework due to finish at the end of this year, a wider reflection on its future was needed. The new policy objectives emerged from a consultation on the future of the EaP carried out in 2019, with participation of EU Member States, partner countries, civil society organisations, academics, businesses and financial institutions.

One target that came out strongly in the consultation was to improve the environmental and climate resilience of partner countries by upscaling support for green actions and policies. Partner countries need this support to implement their commitments under the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address air, water and land pollution.

The Commission and the European External Action Service expect the Member States and partner countries to endorse the proposal in view of the Eastern Partnership Summit, which will give a mandate to develop a new set of tangible deliverables. As discussions on the future Multiannual Financial Framework are still ongoing, the specific amount of money to be invested in both bilateral and regional cooperation is still to be determined.

EUWI+ promotes regional cooperation and adoption of best international practices in water management

 

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Armenia: National Policy Dialogue steering committee on 15 October 2019.
Centre: Irina Ghaplanyan (Deputy Minister of Environment). ©OIEau

Since 2016, the EUWI+ project has facilitated good governance in water management, securing political ownership and multi-stakeholder dialogue through National Policy Dialogues, supporting the drafting of the national water strategies, and upgrading legal, regulatory and institutional foundations to ensure alignment with best international practices (Water Convention, Protocol on Water and Health and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements) and European standards (European Union Water Framework Directive) in water management.

 

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Moldova: National Policy Dialogue steering committee on 25 October 2019. From left to right: Gintas Baranauskas,
Deputy Head of Operations, EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova, Alexander Karner,Head of Office,
Austrian Development Agency in the Republic of Moldova, Caroline Tissot, Director of Cooperation,
Swiss Cooperation Office in the Republic of Moldova, Alexander Zinke EUWI+ Project Leader of the EU Member State Consortium ©OIEau

The EUWI+ project encourages cooperation between EU Member States and the Eastern Partnership countries, enhancing experience-sharing and mutual learning. It also participates in enhancing cooperation on water resources management between Eastern Partnership countries, including through subregional workshops and joint field surveys. Transboundary cooperation has been promoted not only between Eastern Partnership countries but also between the region and its neighbouring EU Member States by mobilising political will for formal agreements and by fostering technical cooperation on monitoring and assessment of shared water resources.

 

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Belarus signed an agreement on cross-border water protection with Poland on Friday 7 February 2020.
This is Belarus's first agreement on transboundary water bodies with a European Union country.
©Embassy of the Republic of Belarus to Poland (www.poland.mfa.gov.by)

 

 

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EUWI+ programme helped to facilitate a bilateral meeting between
water management experts from Armenia and Georgia
to discuss cooperation on the shared Khrami-Debed river in October 2019 ©OIEau

EUWI+ promotes strong ownership by all key actors in the water sector

Good water governance is a key factor in sustainable development and improved adaptation to climate change. EUWI+ supports the ownership and leadership of local and regional actors (basin organisations, councils) in the development of river basin management plans in the pilot river basins. The active engagement of local actors and key water stakeholders in decision-making will ensure the good implementation of water plans and strategies.  

 

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Moldova: Public consultations in July 2019. Mrs. Ina Coseru, chair of The National Environmental Centre
discussing with a representative from the General Department of Agroindustrial Complex of Gagauzia Region
© National Environmental Centre of the Republic of Moldova

 

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Ukraine: Workshop “Dnipro River Basin Management Plan”, 10-11 December 2019  © OIEau

 

The EUWI+ project also participates in increasing water monitoring systems’ capacity in EaP countries by introducing biological surveys of all water bodies, renovating analytical laboratories and water monitoring stations, and providing state-of-the-art laboratory equipment to detect industrial and chemical pollutants in water. By doing so, the EUWI+ project helps improve the accountability and services of water administrations towards their citizens. This promotes their transparency, making information on the state of water resources more reliable and accessible to citizens.

 

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Armenia: Gaghamavan hydrological station where experts measure hydromorphological features. © OIEau

 

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Georgia: coastal and transitional water monitoring survey across the coastal waters of the Black Sea coast, Autumn 2019.
©OIEAu

The EUWI+ project embraces the opportunities brought by ecological and digital transformation by providing countries with data server and methodologies to collect and manage the increasing amount of data on water resources. This improves knowledge sharing between water managers, researchers and decision-makers. Better water data management will help politicians make timely decisions based on specific and updated information for the good of the environment, the economy and citizens.

 

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Azerbaijan: Renovated premises and new equipment at the Laboratory Centre of the
National Environmental Monitoring Department in Baku ©OIEau

EUWI+ promotes a stronger participation of the wider public and contributes in protecting people’s health and the environment

The EUWI+ project facilitates involvement by the wider public and civil society in water resources management through public consultations held at different stage of the River Basin Management Plan development. It also helps to increase awareness on water and environmental challenges through outreach events such as river days and public campaigns in the Eastern Partnership countries.  

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Armenia: World Water Monitoring Day on 18 September 2019: schoolchildren from the
Sevan and Hrazdan River Basin communities presented the results of the summer campaign
during which they carried out basic monitoring of local waterbodies. ©OIEau

 

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Ukraine: Danube Day, July 2019 ©OIEau

 

The above help provide a response to the issue of improved health and well-being, identified as a priority by civil society in the Eastern Partnership countries. The EUWI+ project contributes to protecting water ecosystems and thus improving people’s access to safe drinking water and sustained resources for economic use and leisure activities.

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the International Office for Water and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.