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Third Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE Protocol on Water and Health

WECF committed itself again as co-lead with Germany and Serbia on Program area 3 of the workprogram of the Protocol at the Meeting in Oslo, Norway from 25 to 27 November 2013

18.12.2013 |WECF

Within a Russian only side event Diana Iskreva from Earth Forever/Bulgaria presented the results of a recent project on water safety plans in schools

During the meeting of the parties to the Protocol on Water and Health, WECF partner Diana Iskreva presented at a side event her project on small-scale water supply systems in Bulgaria. WECF had a good NGO intervention at the High Level Segment on the first day, and organised a side event together with Earthjustice on the Compliance Committee.

WECFs Anke Stock presented the Guide to Public Participation. And WECF committed itself again as co-lead, with Germany and Serbia, to Programme area 3 of the Workprogram.

WECF and several partners of its network attended the 3rd MOP of the Protocol on Water and Health. Within the high-level segment on the first day a special session on equitable access to safe drinking water and sanitation was held. The NGO coalition was given an opportunity to voice its concerns regarding the equitable access to water and sanitation within the pan-European region by a statement during this session which had been jointly prepared by different NGOs and presented by Anna Tsvetkova (Mama-86/Ukraine).

On the second day the achievements within the last work programme (2011-2013) were presented and discussed. Within a Russian only side event Diana Iskreva from Earth Forever/Bulgaria presented the results of a recent project on water safety plans in schools which had been implemented in cooperation with WECF and was a part of a jointly led programme area of WECF and Germany (UBA).

On day 3 Ana Drapa from the Romanian Ministry of the Environment and Forests and Anke Stock presented the Guide to Public Participation (see here) which had been prepared by a group of experts under the lead of the UNECE secretariat, Romania and WECF with the financial aid of Norway. The Guide aims at assisting Parties, non-Parties and other stakeholders, in particular civil society, to implement the public participation obligations under the Protocol. It is a tool that aims at reaching national, regional and local authorities by providing them with practical advice and case studies from other countries on related issues and areas. WECF is strongly committed to the public participation principles under the Protocol and is currently planning a follow-up project in order to promote the Guide and foster its broad application by Parties to the PWH.

Furthermore, WECF co-organised together with Earthjustice a side event on the consultation procedure of the compliance committee under the Protocol. Veit Köster, the chair of the compliance committee, Yves Lador from Earthjustice and Anke Stock from WECF presented the objective behind the procedure and possible cross-cutting issues, that could concern more than one country and trigger the procedure to be taken up by a group of parties. The idea to start the informal procedure (see for TORs here) in order to make use of the competence and assistance of the committee for parties and maybe also non-parties within their strive to set targets etc. is a new one and needs support from many stakeholders involved. This event was a start and opened the discussion with knowledgeable and interested participants.

The discussion on the future work programme showed the interest of many parties and NGOs to continue to work on the Protocol (inter alia WECF co-leading programme area 3 together with Germany and Serbia on the issue of small-scale water and sanitation supply systems), but also highlighted how little money from the majority of the parties was made available. The European Bank on Reconstruction and Development will set up funding mechanisms for projects under the PWH, but many questions remain to be clarified.

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