12 December 2012, Yerevan, Armenia – The ninth meeting of the Steering Committee (SC) of the National Policy Dialogue (NPD) on Integrated Water Resources Management brought together over 50 representatives of governmental institutions, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders to discuss key water issues in Armenia. The meeting was organized in cooperation with the Agency of Water Resources Management of the Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia. The NPD Steering Committee meeting was also considered as the National Coordination Council meeting of the European Union (EU) “Environmental Protection of International River Basins” (EPIRB) project. Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment (AWHHE) non –governmental organization was responsible for the logistics of this meeting.
Presentations information on NPD process and international projects in stage of implementation were introduced during the meeting.
The meeting started with the discussion of the Status of NPD Activities in Armenia.
The next session was devoted to the launch of the “Water and Health” project supported by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Finnish Environment Institute. The presentations introduced the Protocol on Water and Health and its advantages for Armenia to become a Party as well as the situation in Armenia related to water management, quality of drinking water, water-related diseases, water supply and sanitation in urban areas and local problems and solutions for drinking water and sanitation. AWHHE representative is involved in the project as a national expert.
Then sessions were dedicated to Economic instruments in water management ((a) sustainable sanitation strategy and (2) comprehensive assessment of economic instruments) supported by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), EU funded EPIRB project, other technical assistance projects in Armenia supported by USAID, European Commission and United Nations Development Program /Global Environment Facility.
The discussions stressed the need to further coordinate international initiatives on transboundary river basin management through the EU Water Initiative Policy Dialogue. During the last session of the chairman recalled the SC decisions made, as follows:
- The SC expressed its readiness to oversee the “Water and Health” project implementation in Armenia and organize discussions at key stages of the project implementation;
- The SC stressed the need to develop national strategy for sustainable sanitation and approved the idea of having recommendations for a policy package on the introduction of the economic instruments in water sector within the OECD component of the NPD process in Armenia;
- The SC approved the proposed tentative workplan of the EPIRB project activities in Armenia, and called EPIRB project to try to get some basic hydrological data from the Turkish part of Akhuryan River basin, given the fact that over 70% of the basin is located in the territory of Turkey.
- SC expressed its readiness to continue serving as forum to coordination of all water-related national and regional projects implemented in Armenia.