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IISD Reporting Services (IISD RS) is producing daily web coverage and will produce a summary report from this meeting on 3 November 2012.
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Sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention)

28-30 November 2012 | Rome, Italy
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Highlights for Wednesday, 28 November 2012
The sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP6) to the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) opened on 28 November 2012, in the Chamber of Deputies in Rome, Italy.

Sibylle Vermont, Switzerland, Chair of MOP6, opened the meeting. She highlighted the city of Rome and its renowned Fountain of Four Rivers as an appropriate venue to promote transboundary water cooperation. Rocco Buttiglione, Vice-President, Chamber of Deputies, on behalf of Gianfranco Fini, President, Chamber of Deputies, Italy, said that water resourcesare a humanity common good and therefore an international governance system is needed to manage them. Corrado Clini, Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea, Italy, stated his country’s commitment to support the Convention and recognized efficient integrated water resource management (IWRM) as a pillar of sustainable development.

Delivering a message on behalf of Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNECE, encouraged countries outside the UNECE region to join the Convention. He stressed the Water Convention and the UN Convention on Watercourses are complementary to each other and called for coherent implementation. Vasilyev then highlighted key achievements of the Convention, namely: strengthened implementation and compliance; the Second Assessment of Transboundary Rivers, Lakes and Groundwaters; adaptation to climate change; national policy dialogues; and projects on the ground.

Participants heard a report by the Secretariat on the status of ratification and on credentials, and then began tackling the substantive agenda issues. A high-level segment addressed the main achievements and remaining challenges for the Convention and views and expectations for a globalized convention, with panel presentations and numerous interventions by participants. During the discussion, Iraq and Tunisia expressed interest in becoming Parties to the Water Convention.

In the afternoon, the general segment discussed the opening of the Convention and started reviewing past activities and discussing future ones.

In the evening, an ad-hoc working group met to review and agree on the draft decision on accession by non-UNECE countries. Two side events took place during the lunch break on: adapting to climate change in transboundary basins-future work guided by lessons learned; and the UN Watercourses Convention and the UNECE Water Convention-value, future perspectives and potential synergies.

In the evening, the Italian government hosted a dinner for MOP6 participants.
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A view of the plenary
High Level Segment on the Twentieth Anniversary of the Convention and its Opening to all United Nations Member States
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From L-R: Corrado Clini, Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea, Italy; Rocco Buttiglione, Vice-President, Italian Chamber of Deputies; Francesca Bernardini, UNECE Secretariat; Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNECE; Sibylle Vermont, Chair of MOP6, Switzerland
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Rocco Buttiglione, Vice-President, Italian Chamber of Deputies
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Sibylle Vermont, Chair of MOP6, Switzerland
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Corrado Clini, Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea, Italy
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Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNECE
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From L-R: Lea Kauppi, Director General, Finnish Environment Insitute (FEI), Finland; Ahmet Muhammedov, Deputy Minister of Water Economy, Turkmenistan; Peter Kovacs, State Secretary for Water, Ministry of Rural Development, Hungary; Uladzimir Tsalka, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Belarus; Arben Demeti, Deputy Minister of Environment, Forests and Administration of Waters, Albania; Marina Seliverstova, Head of the Federal Agency for Water Resources, the Russian Federation
Uladzimir Tsalka, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Belarus
Marina Seliverstova, the Russian Federation
Arben Demeti, Albania
Highlights for Thursday, 29 November 2012

On Thursday, MOP6 participants continued progress on their very full agenda, tackling: support to implementation through capacity building and assistance on the ground; transboundary groundwater; assessment of the status of transboundary waters; joint monitoring and assessment of transboundary waters, including data management and information exchange; water and adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins; National Policy Dialogues under the European Union Water Initiative; cooperation with the Protocol on Water and Health; and cooperation with other multilateral environmental agreements and international partners.

The meeting decided to create a unique mechanism aimed to support implementation and compliance and adopted model provisions on transboundary groundwaters.

In the afternoon, the signing ceremony of the new bilateral Treaty on Cooperation on the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Dniester River Basin took place, with Gheorghe Salaru, Minister of Environment, Republic of Moldova, and Eduard Stavytskyi, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, Ukraine.

Two side events were held during the lunch break, entitled: “The EU Water Initiative National Policy Dialogue: identifying good practices and lessons learned, shaping ideas for the future,” and “How the UN system supports transboundary water cooperation.”

Morning Session
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From L-R: Marco Keiner, Director, Environment Division, UNECE; Attila Tanzi, University of Bologna, Italy and Chair of the Convention's Legal Board; Sibylle Vermont, Chair of MOP6, Switzerland; Francesca Bernardini, UNECE Secretariat; Iulia Trombitcaia, UNECE Secretariat; Nataliya Nikiforova, UNECE Secretariat
Francesca Bernardini, UNECE Secretariat
Sibylle Vermont, Chair of MOP6, Switzerland
Attila Tanzi, University of Bologna, Italy and Chair of the Convention's Legal Board
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Matanat Avazova, Azerbaijan
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Martine Rohn-Brossard, Switzerland
Loredana Dall'Ora, Italy, representing the EU Presidency
Vladimir Ivlev, Russian Federation
Christian Severin, GEF
Highlights for Friday, 30 November 2012

On Friday, MOP6 delegates concluded consideration of remaining agenda issues. In the morning, they addressed: cooperation with partners; water and industrial accidents, including activities of the Joint Ad Hoc Expert Group on Water and Industrial Accidents and progress related to the Protocol on Civil Liability; water and ecosystems; vision for the future of the Water Convention; the International Water Assessment Centre; and the programme of work for 2013-2015.

In the afternoon, delegates continued discussing the programme of work for 2013-2015, concluded considerations on the accession to the Convention by non-ECE countries and elected the members of the Implementation Committee and the new members of the Bureau by consensus. Massimo Cozzone, Italy, was elected as the new chairperson of the Bureau.

The MOP adopted decisions on: support to implementation and compliance; model provisions on transboundary groundwaters; accession by non-ECE countries; cooperation with the GEF and UNESCO; vision for the future of the Convention and the programme of work for 2013-2015.

Hungary expressed its preliminary interest in hosting the Seventh Meeting of the Parties in 2015.

In her concluding remarks, Chair Vermont highlighted the future generations of the Convention through a compilation of pictures of the children of meeting participants. She thanked, inter alia, the government of Italy for their hospitality and the UNECE Secretariat for their hard work and support. Massimo Cozzone recognized the participation of 18 countries from outside the UNECE region, noting that their participation represents the future of the Convention. He looked forward to future progress on the Convention. Deputy Executive Secretary Andrey Vasilyev, UNECE, congratulated participants on a successful meeting and wished Parties success in their work.

Chair Vermont closed the meeting at 4:07 pm.

The summary report of the Meeting will be available on this site on Monday, 3 December 2012.

Plenary Session
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From L-R: Marco Keiner, Director, Environment Division, UNECE; Sibylle Vermont, Chair of MOP6, Switzerland; Francesca Bernardini, UNECE Secretariat; Sonja Koeppel, UNECE Secretariat; Christian Severin, Senior Environmental Specialist, GEF
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Christian Severin, GEF
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Federico Properzi, UN-Water
Heide Jekel, Germany
Sibylle Vermont, Chair of MOP6, Switzerland
Francesca Bernardini, UNECE Secretariat
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Sergiusz Ludwiczak, UNECE
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Péter Kovács, Hungary
Charles Ngangoue, African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW)
Vice-Chair Massimo Cozzone, Italy. Elected Chair for 2013-2015.
Boris Minarik, IWAC
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Related Links
UNECE resources
*Meeting website and documents
*Water Convention website
*Water Convention text
*Amendment to Articles 25 and 26 of the Convention
*Implementation of the Convention

IISD RS resources
*IISD RS coverage of the Seventh “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference, 21-23 September 2011, Astana, Kazakhstan
*IISD RS archive of meetings on water, oceans, and wetlands; and backgrounder
*Water-L - A news and announcement list on water policy issues
*Sustainable Water Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of Activities Addressing Sustainable Water and Sanitation Policy and Practice
*SIDS Policy and Practice - A Knowledgebase on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States
*Climate Change Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing Global Climate Change Policy
*Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of Sustainable Energy Activities
*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development
*Biodiversity Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing International Biodiversity Policy
*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
*African Regional Coverage
*Latin America and Caribbean Regional Coverage
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