Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE/ WHO-EURO Protocol on Water and Health

The second session of the Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE/ WHO-EURO Protocol on Water and Health took place on 23 -25 November 2010 in the Parliament Palace in Bucharest at the invitation of the Government of Romania. It was co-chaired by Norway and Romania. Delegates representing 33 countries, several UN, intergovernmental and non governmental organizations reviewed progress achieved and agreed on actions to tackle the challenges in the fields of water and health.

The meeting adopted the Guidelines on the Setting of Targets Evaluation of Progress and Reporting (ENGRUS), elaborated to facilitate the implementation of the Protocol. The Guidelines illustrate the steps that need to be taken when setting targets, implementing relevant measures and reporting on the progress achieved with respect to protecting human health and well-being and the sustainable management of water resources, in accordance with articles 6 and 7 of the Protocol. In spring 2010, Parties reported for the first time on their targets set as well as planned measures to achieve them. At the Meeting, Parties reviewed the results of this first reporting exercise.

The meeting also adopted a Policy (ENGFRERUS) and a Technical Guidance on water-related disease surveillance (ENGRUS). The Guidance provides explanations on legal obligations with regard to disease surveillance under the Protocol and other international frameworks, and provides advice on how to set up and maintain an effective and efficient disease surveillance system, coupled with illustrative examples of good practices in the pan-European region.

Extreme weather events and disasters such as floods and droughts represent an additional challenge to the sustainable management of water resources and the provision of safe water and adequate sanitation. Parties recognized these challenges already in 2007 and developed a Guidance on Water Supply and Sanitation in Extreme Weather Events (ENGRUS) which was adopted at the meeting. 

For the first time, the Chairperson of the Protocol’s Compliance Committee presented the Committee’s report to the Meeting of the Parties. The meeting adopted a decision on general issues of compliance prepared by the Committee and elected 4 independent members of the Compliance Committee.

The meeting also discussed how access to safe, accessible and affordable water and sanitation can be provided, with a special focus on the specific challenges of small-scale water supply and sanitation systems. Parties decided upon future activities in this area, including the exchange of experience on measures supporting equitable access to water.

Parties also agreed upon an innovative cooperation with the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) regarding public participation in water and health issues.

Finally, Parties adopted an ambitious workplan for 2011-2013 with activities in all the above areas.

See the press release

Side event organized by Women in Europe for Common Future, (WECF) and European Eco-Forum

Thursday, 25 November
13.15- 14.45

Needs and Ways of Financing Public Participation under the Protocol on Water and Health – linking with EU policy and Aarhus convention

Venue: Nicolae Balcescu Hall

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