UNECE Launches Pilot Projects on Adaptation in Transboundary Basins

14 May 2010:The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has launched a new programme of pilot projects aimed at promoting cooperation on adaptation to climate change under the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE Water Convention). The Programme was launched at the workshop “Water and Climate Change- How to Develop an Adaptation Strategy in Transboundary Basins,” which took place from 10-11 May 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland.

The programme of pilot projects currently comprises projects on: the Chu Talas River (shared by Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan); the Dniester (shared by Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova); and the Sava (shared by Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia). The projects are implemented in the framework of the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) with partner organizations such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The pilot projects aim to: support countries in developing adaptation strategies and measures; create positive examples of transboundary cooperation in adaptation; and enhance dialogue and cooperation on the design of an adaptation strategy in the transboundary context.

The first cycle of work on climate change adaptation under the Convention (2006-2009) focused on the development of strategic material to guide parties, in particular the Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change. The new cycle (2010-2012) focuses on promoting action on the ground.

The Water and Climate Change workshop inaugurated this second work cycle and brought together almost 100 participants. They shared experience on the ongoing initiatives in the region and heard presentations on the difficulties and lessons learnt from, inter alia: the Rhine, Danube, Portugal, the Great Lakes, and the UK. The workshop and the subsequent third meeting of the Task Force on Water and Climate under the Convention, held on 12 May 2010, at the same venue, also provided an opportunity to discuss how to design the platform for sharing experience most effectively and for the benefit of the pilot projects, as well as for other water managers and policy makers working on adapting water management to climate change. [Workshop Website] [Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change] [Task Force on Water and Climate Website] [UNECE Weekly Bulletin] [IISD RS Sources]