Final stage of the preparation of the 2nd Assessment of Transboundary Rivers, Lakes and Groundwaters in the Pan-UNECE region

16/05/2011

The UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE Water Convention) is currently implementing the Second Assessment of Transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwaters in the UNECE Pan-European region which will be presented at the 7th Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” in Astana, Kazakhstan from 21-23 September 2011.

The Secretariats of the UNECE Water Convention and the Ramsar Convention are cooperating in this process in order to include about 30 transboundary Ramsar Sites and other important transboundary wetlands in this assessment. The Assessment is being prepared by sub-regions including Caucasus, South Eastern Europe, North Eastern Europe, Central Asia as well as Central and Western Europe. A sub-regional workshop was being held for each sub-region. The last sub-region to be completed was Central and Western Europe for which the workshop was being held in Budapest (Hungary) from 8 – 10 February 2011. The workshop allowed representatives and experts of the countries in this region to discuss important issues of concern including diffuse pollution and land use, ecosystems approach and ecosystem services, extreme events, climate change and its impacts on water resources, transboundary groundwater management, industrial and urban pollution with focus on selected pollutants as well as hydromorphological alterations. The Ramsar Secretariat contributed to this event with presentations on several transboundary Ramsar Sites (e.g. “The trilateral Floodplains of the Morava-Dyje-Danube Confluence”) highlighting main ecosystem services, biodiversity and cultural values as well as pressure factors and transboundary management cooperation.

In order to finalize the preparation of the 2nd Assessment, the 12th meeting of the Working Group on Monitoring and Assessment under the Water Convention took place in Geneva from 2-4 May 2011 back to back with the 6th meeting of the Working Group on Integrated Water Resources Management (4-5 May).The main aim of these meetings was to review the different parts of the second Assessment of Transboundary Rivers, Lakes and Groundwaters in the UNECE region.

The Ramsar Secretariat used this opportunity to highlight the importance of functioning ecosystems, especially wetlands, in the provision of hydrological ecosystem services such as the provision of water for agricultural, industrial, urban and navigational use. It was stressed that the cooperation between the two Secretariats has been beneficial for both sides and should continue in view of a 3rd assessment (details to be decided at the 7th Ministerial Conference in Astana in September).

The Second Assessment of Transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwaters will also be presented at the 7th Ramsar European Regional Meeting being held in Slovakia from 26-29 September.

For more information on the involvement of the Ramsar Secretariat in this process, please refer to the following presentation, held by the Senior Regional Advisor for Europe, Tobias Salathé at the Working Group Meeting on Monitoring and Assessment on 4 May: See PDF.

For further questions, please contact the Assistant Advisor for Europe, Kati Wenzel: europe@ramsar.org.


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