Yelysaveta Demydenko • 28 June 2022

In March 1992, governments gathered in Helsinki, Finland, with a vision in mind: to manage shared waters in the pan-European region collaboratively and sustainably. By the end of the meeting, the Water Convention was born. Today, this Convention is an effective framework for advancing transboundary water cooperation at the global level.

On this occasion, today in Tallinn, the Ministry of the Environment of Estonia, together with UNECE, and in cooperation with Finland, are hosting a special event.

Governments (both Parties and non-Parties), international and regional organizations, basin organizations, civil society, private sector, academia and other stakeholders are coming together to mark the 30th anniversary of this crucial legal instrument that has become a practical tool to implement transboundary water cooperation.

The event is also an opportunity to launch the new publication “The Water Convention: 30 Years of Impact and Achievements on the Ground” defined by Olga Algayerova, UNECE Executive Secretary, as “a source for guidance and inspiration, and a call to step up our action for transboundary water cooperation”.

Membership to the Water Convention is growing steadily, with five Parties from outside the UNECE region joining this global instrument in the period 2016–2021. Furthermore, a growing number of countries are in the process of accession and numerous activities under the Convention are implemented worldwide. Currently there are 46 Parties to the Convention.

The Water Convention requires Parties to prevent, control and reduce transboundary impact, to use transboundary waters in a reasonable and equitable way, and to ensure their sustainable management through cooperation. Parties bordering the same transboundary waters are obliged to cooperate by concluding specific agreements and establishing joint bodies. The Convention has a sustainable development perspective in that it considers all the sectors involved in the protection and use of water.

The Water Convention is a powerful tool to promote and achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It plays a key role in accelerating progress towards SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and its target 6.5, which calls upon all States to implement integrated water resources management at all levels by 2030, including through transboundary cooperation.

The anniversary event aims to review progress in achieving the Convention’s long-term vision: “transboundary waters worldwide are managed in cooperation between riparian countries in order to promote sustainable development, peace and security”. The event offers the opportunity to reflect on Convention’s role in operationalizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development (2018–2028), and other international commitments on sustainable development and climate change. 

Learn more about the event: Fourth joint meeting of the Working Groups on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and on Monitoring and Assessment, marking the 30th anniversary of the Water Convention | UNECE

Register to participate virtually: Joint meeting of the Working Groups on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and on Monitoring and Assessment (28-30 June 2022): Overview · Indico.