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UNECE Watercourses Convention Celebrates 20th Anniversary

UNECE4 September 2012: The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE Watercourses Convention), signed in 1992 in Helsinki, returned to that city to celebrate its 20th anniversary. A two-day meeting was held to reflect on the accomplishments of the Convention and contemplate its future as it is readied to allow accession to the Convention by UN members outside the UNECE.

The meeting, held from 3-4 September 2012, in Helsinki, Finland, underscored the relevance of the Convention in a world where growing water scarcity is increasing the likelihood of conflict over water resources. The meeting found the Convention a useful framework to meet challenges in transboundary basins, including declining water quality and aquatic ecosystems, climate change impacts, and the linkages among water, food and energy.

The meeting also discussed the relationship between the UNECE Watercourses Convention and the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, with its possible entry into force projected in 2013 or 2014. Participants at the meeting stressed focusing on synergies between the two Conventions. The meeting highlighted the ability to adapt to respond to new challenges while ensuring continuity of efforts as keys to the UNECE Watercourses Convention's strength. [UNECE Press Release]