The ninth session of the Meeting of Parties was organised by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in cooperation with the Government of Estonia, and it took place from the 29th of September to the 1st of October in Geneva, Switzerland. It discussed and reviewed the progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 6.5. The Meeting of the Parties also discussed challenges and good practices related to transboundary water cooperation and the role of the Convention. Over 500 participants, from more than 100 countries, both Parties and non-Parties to the Convention, as well as from joint bodies, international and non-governmental organisations, academia and youth attended this meeting.
Some highlights of this Meeting of the Parties include the signature of a Ministerial Declaration by The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal with a commitment to establish a framework for cooperation on the Senegal-Mauritanian Aquifer Basin. Moreover, the Meeting welcomed new Parties including Guinea Bissau and Togo. Other countries such as Iraq are concluding the process of accession to the Convention.
There are still many challenges to the achievement of the SDGs. The second report on the SDG indicator 6.5.2 (UNECE, UNESCO, 2021) shows that only 24 countries worldwide have all their shared waters covered by operational arrangements for water cooperation.
Furthermore, several challenges are still faced by countries in cooperating for the joint management of transboundary waters. In order to face these challenges the Secretariat of the Water Convention has developed several tools including the Practical guide on the development of agreements and other arrangements for transboundary cooperation and the Handbook on water allocation in a transboundary context.
Prof. Mara Tignino – Reader and Lead Legal Specialist, Geneva Water Hub, University of Geneva.
Dr Sonja Koeppel – Executive Secretary, Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE).
Prof. Alistair Rieu-Clarke – Professor, Faculty of Law, Northumbria University.
Moderator: Prof Jovan Kurbalija, Executive Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP)
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