The fifth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health was organized by the Government of Serbia, with support of the UNECE and WHO Regional Office for Europe joint secretariat.

During the high-level meeting, the achievements were highlighted, challenges reflected and areas for action identified by taking into account the progress achieved in the Protocol’s implementation. In addition, discussions were held about the support of the pan-European countries in improving access to safe water and sanitation and achieving water and health – related Sustainable Development Goals.

During the side event “10 years of achievements in improving governance for water and health under the European Union Water Initiative National Policy Dialogues addressing challenges through setting national targets under the Protocol to produce benefits for citizens” on 19 November, Ms. Emma Anakhasyan from the AWHHE NGO made a statement about the public participation in the target setting and revision process in Armenia (http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/documents/2019/WAT/11Nov_19-21_MOP5PWH/Side_Events/SideEvent01_ENG_EUWI_NPD_2019_11_18.pdf).

The Armenian experience on equitable access to water and sanitation in the context of the Protocol on Water and Health was presented by Ms. Emma Anakhasyan during the side event “Because we all count: ensuring equitable access to water and sanitation” on 20 November (http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/documents/2019/WAT/11Nov_19-21_MOP5PWH/Side_Events/SideEvent05_Equitable_Access_CNwithprogramme_2019_11_13.pdf). She introduced the 2018-2020 Action Plan Ensuring Equitable Access to Water and Sanitation and its implementation within the following two projects:

  • EUWI+ programme, where the water legislative framework was analyzed and the legislative barriers to ensure equitable access to water and sanitation were identified and the package of changes to the Water Code was submitted to the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia.
  • UNDEF project on “Enabling Women to Participate in Sustainable Water Management in Armenia”, where (a) the impact of current drinking water and sanitation tariffs on vulnerable and marginalized groups were assessed; and (b) the current tariff compensation mechanism for ensuring equitable access to water supply and sanitation for vulnerable and marginalized groups has been revised.

Ms. Emma Anakhasyan did the third statement during the panel on Equitable access to water and sanitation: translating the human right to water and sanitation into practice. It was stated that cooperation with other UN agencies, such as UNDEF, has added value in implementing the provisions of the Protocol on Water and Health.