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UNECE and partners launch multimillion-dollar Drin River Basin projects to support sustainable development, combat pollution and address climate change

UNECE and partners have just launched two new initiatives to protect the resources of the Drin River Basin, a region rich in biodiversity and home to 1.5 million people who rely on the river’s resources for drinking water, agriculture, fisheries, industry and hydropower.

On 16 December 2015 in Tirana Global Water Partnership Mediterranean, UNDP and UNECE held a Kick-off Inception Meeting for two projects with a total of US$ 5.5 million in funding to support transboundary water cooperation in the Drin Basin. The projects are funded by the Global Environmental Facility and will be implemented by the three agencies. A project office will be established in Tirana.

The projects will be an important contribution to the implementation of an action programme decided on by the Albania, Greece, Kosovo (United Nations administered region, Security Council resolution 1244 (1999)), Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia sharing the Drin Basin. The projects will improve the joint analysis and understanding of common problems and will set up demonstration projects on the benefits of sustainable development along the river and lakes in the basin. After several instances of serious floods, flood protection is a major concern for the project as is water quality, pollution coming from agriculture and discharges of untreated wastewater from cities, and protection of biodiversity.

More information about the basin and the project can be found on:

Note to editors 

The Drin Riparians have developed a shared vision on the management of the Drin Basin and signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2011 to develop cooperation. At the first Meeting of the Parties in 2013 an action programme was decided on. The Drin cooperation is facilitated by UNECE and the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med) using the platform of the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention). The Drin Core Group, with representatives from all riparian States, will function as the Steering Committee for the projects. 

The Drin Basin covers a geographical area that includes Albania, Greece, Kosovo (United Nations administered region, Security Council resolution 1244 (1999)), Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Drin River is the connecting body of this water system, linking the lakes, wetlands, rivers and other aquatic habitats into a single ecosystem of major importance. The region is very rich in endemic species and exceptional in terms of biodiversity conservation, and so has great potential for the development of sustainable tourism. 
The UNECE Water Convention is an important legal framework for transboundary water management in the pan-European region. The Drin Dialogue is part of its work programme. Currently, 39 countries and the European Union are Parties to the Convention. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro are preparing for accession; Albania and Greece are already Parties. 
GWP-Med brings together competent organizations working on water issues in the Mediterranean region. Created in 2002, this non-governmental organization promotes and exchanges knowledge on integrated water resources management for the sustainable use of the region’s water resources. GWP-Med is the technical secretariat of the Petersberg Phase II/Athens Declaration Process for South-Eastern Europe, a framework for the development of transboundary water cooperation in the region. For more information, see  

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