UNECE hosts meetings to advance implementation of Helsinki Convention

12 Jan 2023 by The Water Diplomat

The 7th meeting of the Task Force on the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems Interface took place in Geneva on 12-13 December 2022. The objective of the meeting was to discuss, plan and provide guidance for the implementation of activities under the 2022-2024 work programme of the UNECE Water Convention. A first element of reflection focused on the application of the Water Convention's and similar approaches to assessments and dialogues on transboundary linkages around the world. The role of transboundary cooperation was identified as key to identifying and implementing nexus solutions and investments that, in turn, benefit water management and cooperation. Finally, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was the subject of the last exchanges, in particular from the point of view of the opportunities for water-energy cooperation in transboundary basins.

In the same month (14-16 December 2022), more than 300 experts and diplomats on water management "from source to sea" met at a workshop organised by the secretariat of the water convention, under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva to "strengthen cooperation, identify synergies between activities and share good practice in policy-making", particularly in relation to plastic and chemical pollution from river to sea (a topic of particular relevance in the context of international negotiations on the use of plastics). The organisers also wanted to offer a space for dialogue in order to break down the silo logic between experts on marine and river issues on these questions.

Finally, to close the year, the Secretariat of the Water Convention made several announcements in December 2022, notably on the progress of Panama's accession to the Water Convention by organising a national workshop on 6 and 7 December 2022, which brought together more than 60 stakeholders "to identify priorities for the future implementation of the Convention"), Tanzania, which confirmed its intention to accede to the Convention during the national workshop held on these instruments in Dar es Salaam on 1 and 2 December 2022, and finally Uganda and Zambia, which have also recently shown an interest. As a reminder, in Africa, since 2018, Chad, Senegal, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Togo and Cameroon have joined the Convention. At this stage, more than 15 African countries are in the process of joining.