CENN: UNECE: Countries of the Caucasus Meet in Tbilisi

PRESS RELEASE
Caucasus Environmental NGO Network
28, Chovelidze street
Tbilisi, 380008, GEORGIA
Tel: ++ 995 32 99 63 28, 995 99 57 77 22
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]
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Countries of the Caucasus Meet in Tbilisi to Address Common Challenges on
Water and Health Issues

A workshop to address and improve the situation of water and health in the
Caucasus was held in Tbilisi on 27 and 28 May 2013. Specifically, the
meeting gathered over 40 representatives of major governmental and
non-governmental stakeholders from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to
discuss the challenges related the implementation of the Protocol on Water
and Health to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary
Watercourses and International Lakes, which obliges countries to set targets
for improving health-related water indicators in their countries.

The workshop, part of a subregional project supported by Finland, was
organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and
the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia, in
cooperation with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe
(WHO/Europe) and the Global Water Partnership Georgia.

At the opening session, the Deputy Minister of Environment Protection and
Natural Resources of Georgia, Ms. Nino Sharashidze, and the United Nations
Resident Coordinator in Georgia, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, delivered welcoming
statements highlighting the importance of achieving progress in ensuring
safe drinking water supply and adequate sanitation in Georgia and the
Caucasus.

During plenary and working group sessions participating countries exchanged
experiences on health-related water issues, such as small-scale water supply
and sanitation, water and sanitation safety planning, wastewater treatment,
access to water and sanitation in rural areas and public participation under
the Protocol. It was underlined that all three countries had achieved
important progress in access to improved drinking water in rural areas:
during 2005-2012 Azerbaijan had seen an increase from 69 to 74 per cent and
Georgia from 80 to 96 per cent, while Armenia had achieved an increase from
92 to 94 per cent in the period 2008-2012. However, access to sanitation in
rural areas has not seen any substantial improvement in recent years.

Currently, Azerbaijan is the only Party to the Protocol in the Caucasus,
while Armenia and Georgia are moving towards its ratification. In this
regard, the workshop focused on the implementation of the core obligation
under the Protocol, reflected in its article 6, which requires Parties to
establish national and/or local targets and target dates in different areas
to achieve or maintain a high level of protection of human health and
well-being and for the sustainable management of water resources. All three
countries committed to intensifying their efforts to officially set relevant
targets under the Protocol that would serve as a comprehensive policy
framework to work towards improving situation in water supply and sanitation
for the benefit of the entire subregion.

For more information, please visit:

or contact:

Mr. Nicholas Bonvoisin
UNECE-WHO/Europe Protocol on Water and Health secretariat
Phone: +41 (0)22 917 1193
E-mail: [email protected]

http://www.cenn.org/
www.unece.org/env/water.html

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