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UNECE Convenes Second Workshop on Water and Adaptation in Transboundary Basins

11 April 2011: The second workshop on water and adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins was organized in the framework of the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE Water Convention) from 12-13 April 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland.

More than 150 participants, including from outside the UNECE region, exchanged experiences and discussed the specific challenges of adapting water management to climate change in transboundary basins. Discussions focused on: avoiding negative impacts of adaptation strategies in neighboring countries; maximizing benefits of cooperation; assessing how climate change affects waters; adapting to climate change impacts on agriculture, navigation and hydropower; and using ecosystems for adaptation. Participants also engaged in drawing preliminary observations from the pilot projects on adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins under the UNECE Water Convention.

During the workshop, different approaches for adaptation and dealing with uncertainty were discussed, and the role of transboundary cooperation was recognized in order to prevent negative impacts of unilateral adaptation measures and to enable better and more cost-effective solutions. The workshop concluded with a call for intersectoral and transboundary cooperation, as well as for continuing the sharing of experience both within the UNECE Water Convention platform on climate change adaptation in transboundary basins and in other fora.

The workshop conclusions also underscored transparency and openness in cooperation, and the importance of river basin authority for adaptation and professional interest as a driver for cooperation, which can be instead hindered by institutional differences between countries. Participants also discussed possible topics for the next workshop, including: insurance mechanisms; recovery measures; drought; and groundwater resources. [UNECE Press Release][Workshop Programme][IISD RS Sources]