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Protocol on Water and Health (PWH): Extended lead Party meeting on the work Programme Small-scale water supply and sanitation, Berlin 20-21 June 2011

In preparation to the implementation of the PWH Programme on small-scale water supply and sanitation, a team of experts on small-scale water supply and sanitation was invited to an extended lead Party meeting 20-21 June 2011 in Berlin.

10.10.2011 |Margriet Samwel




At the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health [1] (PWH) to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes on 23-25 November 2010 in Bucharest, the work programme for 2011-2013 [2] for the Working Group on Water and Health (WGWH) was discussed for its implementation.

The proposed programme on the cross cutting issue „Small-scale water supplies and sanitation„was endorsed by the Parties of the PWH. The programme will be led by Germany, the Czech Republic and WECF on small-scale sanitation.

According to the Protocol’s work programme 2011-2013, the primary mandate of the small-scale water supply and  expert group is to develop:
For small scale water supply:
The primary mandate of the small-scale water supply expert group is to develop:
  • a policy guidance document on small scale water supply management
  • a questionnaire to assess the small scale water systems and quality
  • options for pilot projects
For small scale sanitation:
  • a policy guidance document on small scale sanitation and wastewater management,
  • an approach for online capacity building, 
  • options for pilot projects and
  • a water & sanitation safety plan methodology in the European Region.
A team of experts on small-scale water and sanitation was invited to a meeting 20-21 June 2011 in Berlin to prepare the implementation of the work programme. The meeting was hosted by the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt).

The goal of the meeting was to
  • agree on the work approach for the activity, including timeframes and responsibilities;
  • develop and agree on a consolidated outline of the envisaged policy guidance document and next steps to develop it further;
  • agree on the key contents of a questionnaire aiming at improving the evidence base on small-scale water supplies in the pan-European region and 
  • explore funding options for individual items of the work programme.

Meeting participants agreed to merge the drinking water and sanitation aspects into one policy guidance document. According to the current Protocol’s work programme, it is planned to conduct a number of field projects. However, the lead Parties rate them as optional due to budget constraints.

Way forward
The lead Parties will ask the WGWH for comments on the draft outline of the policy guidance document on small-scale water supplies and sanitation. Draft chapters of the policy guidance document shall be developed after the endorsement of the outline by the WGWH.

The lead Parties ask the WGWH for comments on the draft questionnaire. The WGWH is also invited to agree on ways and means for dissemination of the questionnaire. After endorsement by the WGWH, the questionnaire is aimed to be distributed by February 2012, and data assessment completed by the end of 2012.

Lead parties and contributing parties will continue to identify options for funding the implementation of the endorsed PWH Program on small scale water supply and sanitation and hosting of future  meetings of the established expert groups. 

1 - http://www.unece.org/env/water/text/text_protocol.html
2 - http://www.unece.org/env/water/whmop2_documents.html


WECF implements decentralised, safe sustainable and affordable sanitation systems for rural areas and promotes in particular access to safe water and sanitation for schools. WECF raises awareness and mobilises citizens for sustainable water and wastewater management and promotes community based and affordable water supply systems for rural areas without a centralised drinking water supply.

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