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FAQs part 6

6. Implementation, Operation, Capacity and Compliance

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Water Convention include the replies to over 50 questions grouped in seven thematic parts. The FAQs are also available as a publication.


6.1 Can a country accede to the Water Convention if it cannot implement all its requirements due to the lack of resources and capacity?
6.2 How can the Water Convention be implemented when countries have conflicts, border disputes or are at war with their neighbours? How can countries enter into bilateral or multilateral agreements to implement the Convention in such cases?
6.3 What happens if a Party does not respect its obligations under the Water Convention? Are there any adverse legal consequences?

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6.4 What are the decision-making, working and subsidiary bodies under the Water Convention?

The Meeting of the Parties  is the highest decision-making body under the Water Convention. It meets in regular sessions every three years and adopts the programme of work  for the following three-year period. In between the sessions of the Meeting of the Parties, the decision-making is vested with the Bureau, an elected body comprising about 12 Parties to the Convention from the different geographic regions.

The Meeting of the Parties establishes working or subsidiary bodies to develop specific areas of work under the programme of work. These include the Working Group on Integrated Water Resources Management, the Working Group on Monitoring and Assessment, the Implementation Committee, the Legal Board, the Joint Ad Hoc Expert Group on Water and Industrial Accidents, the International Water Assessment Centre, and currently, the Task Force on Water and Climate and the Task Force on the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems Nexus.

Each body receives a clear mandate from the Meeting of the Parties and implements the activities in one or several areas of the programme of work. The exact set-up of the working bodies therefore changes depending on the programme of work of the Convention, thus ensuring flexibility and responsiveness to changing needs. The working bodies are the main venue for the exchange of experience and where cooperation develops in specific areas. The secretariat is responsible for servicing all meetings under the Convention and assisting the Convention bodies in implementing the programme of work.

Sessions of the Meetings of the Parties and meetings of the working or subsidiary bodies are attended not only by Parties to the Convention but also by non-Parties, international organizations, NGOs, academia, and the private sector. However, decision-making both at the Meeting of the Parties and at meetings of its working or subsidiary bodies involves Parties only. In practice, the decisions are commonly adopted by consensus, but this is often the result of prior intensive negotiations.

6.5 What is the role of the Implementation Committee under the Water Convention?
6.6 Do Parties have to submit national implementation reports under the Water Convention?

In 2015, a regular reporting mechanism was established under the Water Convention.

Parties have to submit reports every three years.

For Parties to the Convention, reporting under the Water Convention is combined with reporting under the SDG indicator 6.5.2 (Proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation) for which UNECE and UNESCO are the custodian agencies.

Additional resources:

6.7 Do Parties have to make mandatory financial contributions to support the activities under the Water Convention?
6.8 Which countries are eligible for financial support under the Water Convention?


Last update date: February 6, 2021