A workshop on Transboundary Water Resources Management in the Caucasus was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 8-10 December 2009, organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia, and the Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus within the framework of the Convention on the Protection and use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE Water Convention). It formed part of the preparations of the second assessment of transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwaters, currently being developed under the Convention. The Caucasus is the second subregion to be analyzed – the first was Southeastern Europe (the Workshop on Integrated Transboundary Water Resources Management in South-Eastern Europe was held on 18-20 May 2009 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and more details are available at http://www.unece.org/env/water/meetings/Sarajevo_workshop.htm); in 2010 preparation of the assessment will be continued in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Western Europe and the Nordic Countries.
The first assessment of transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwaters, elaborated under the UNECE Water Convention and presented to the sixth Ministerial conference “Environment for Europe” in Belgrade 2007, was the first ever in-depth report produced on transboundary waters in the UNECE region (the publication is available at http://www.unece.org/env/water/publications/pub76.htm; see also review on the Ramsar web site. The second assessment will be a main input to the next Ministerial Conference planned to be held in Astana (Kazakhstan) in 2011. It will provide an authoritative picture of the state of transboundary waters, identify joint priorities and address emerging challenges. Several transboundary Ramsar sites and other important transboundary wetland areas will be considered in the assessment aimed to enhance ecosystem and ecological components and highlight biodiversity and cultural values and wetland services. In particular, in the Caucasus it is planned to include in the assessment two transboundary wetland areas: wetlands of Javakheti region shared by Armenia, Georgia and Turkey and the Ararat Valley fish-ponds and floodplain marshes on Mount Ararat, shared by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Turkey.
During the workshop, 48 experts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Russian Federation and Turkey as well as from international organizations and NGOs had an opportunity to meet and discuss key issues facing transboundary waters and cooperation in the region. Documents and materials of the workshop will be published on the Water Convention's web site (http://www.unece.org/env/water/welcome.html)
Karen Jenderedjian, Ramsar National Focal Point in Armenia
Nadia Alexeeva, Ramsar Secretariat
Workshop participants during the plenary session
Annukka Lipponen representing Secretariat of the Water Convention and Vilik Petrosyan, Chair of the session on climate change, hydrological extremes and water-related disasters
Sheraton Metekhi Palace, the venue of the meeting, is ready to meet 2010.