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Sixth World Water Forum

Sixth World Water Forum

12 - 17 March 2012
Marseille France

In the framework of the Sixth World Water Forum that was held in Marseille (France) on 12-17 March 2012, the Water Convention and the Protocol on Water and Health, as well as different activities carried out under their framework were presented and promoted in different events organized under the different processes of the Forum (cf. press release)

UNECE (co)organized thematic and high-level sessions, contributed through presentations and inputs in a number of high level roundtables, high level panels, and thematic events, as well as held bilateral meetings, focusing on the following themes:

  • Cooperation and peace: supporting the establishment and strengthening of transboundary cooperation
  • Response to climate and global changes: adapting to climate change in transboundary basins
  • Human right to water and sanitation and water and health, including ensuring equitable access to water and sanitation.

The publication “No one left behind: Good practices for equitable access to water and sanitation” prepared under the Protocol on Water and Health was launched on 13 March by UNECE and a representative of the French Ministry of Health (cf. press release).

The 6th World Water Forum also allowed promoting and raising awareness for the transformation of the Water Convention into a global legal framework for transboundary water cooperation, with the expected entry into force of the amendments opening the Convention to non-UNECE members States.

The presentations were made either by representatives of Parties/lead countries of the different activities or by members of the secretariat. Please find below the details of the events in which activities were presented.

Ref Title of the sessions and representation in various events
  High level process
HLRT High Level Round Table on Transboundary Waters
HLRT High Level Round Table on Water and Health
HLP High Level Panel “Making the rights to safe water and sanitation a reality for all”
  Regional Process Europe



Special high level event: 2012, European Year of Water Sessions "Adapting to climate change in Europe - EU3" and "European cooperation with third countries - EU12"

Event co-chaired by the European Commission and UNECE and opened by Ms. Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, and Mr. Andrey Vasilyev, UNECE's Acting Executive Secretary


Transboundary water cooperation: towards a borderless improvement of water management

Good practices and lessons learnt on different aspects of transboundary water cooperation (legal and institutional issues, joint monitoring and assessment, balancing different interest in transboundary basins, integrated approach and the application of European directives in the transboundary context, management of extreme weather events and adaptation to climate change, financing transboundary cooperation).

UNECE was the coordinator of the session


No one left behind!  The importance of access to water and sanitation for the European underprivileged population

Presentation of the new publication "No One left behind: Good practices for equitable access to water and sanitation in the pan-European region" prepared under the Protocol on Water and Health with the leadership of the French Ministry of Labour, Employment and Health and discussion on existing solutions applied in the region to ensure equitable access.

UNECE was co-coordinator of the session.

Synt EU

Synthesis session for the European process: "A mobilised and united Europe facing water’s challenges”

  Thematic Process

Towards a roadmap for a sustainable and resilient future for delta countries

The session discussed the importance to develop a roadmap towards a sustainable and resilient future for deltas, describing the steps to take from defining the problem to plans for investments. The Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change developed under the Convention offers an example of roadmap for adapting to climate change.


Coping with uncertainties related to climate and global changes in water planning and management

The session highlighted some key challenges faced by water resources managers to deal with uncertainty related to climate change impacts on water resources as well as existing solutions, including the UNECE programme on adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins.


Why does water law matter to you? Exploring local to global perspectives?

The event discussed the relevance, status and future challenges of international water law. It also addressed the UN Convention on the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses and the UNECE Water Convention to understand their value and relationship.


More efficient basin organisations in the world for a better sustainable water management

Through the examples of existing solutions and practices, the event discussed the importance of transboundary basin institutions, including the lessons learned and the tools developed under the UNECE Water Convention to strengthen joint bodies.


Strengthening international cooperation for the sustainable and peaceful management of transboundary aquifers

The session presented the UNGA Resolutions on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers and the annexed Draft Articles and the Model Provisions on Transboundary Groundwaters developed under the Water Convention.

Sharing and monitoring information at the transboundary level for sustainable water management

Sharing of experience on efficient governance tools to ensure transparency and confidence in access to information on the status of water resources and their use, and on information systems to support sound management of water resources and transboundary cooperation, including projects implemented under the Water Convention.


  Side events

Presentation of the UN International Year on Water Cooperation and the World Water Day in 2013

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2013 as the UN International Year of Water Cooperation. The objective of the International Year is to raise awareness of both the potential for increased cooperation and the challenges facing water management.


Launching of the publication “No one left behind: Good practices to ensure equitable access to water and sanitation in the Pan-European region” prepared under the Protocol on Water and Health with the leadership of the French Ministry of Labour, Employment and Health


Launching of the handbook for integrated water resources management in transboundary basins of rivers, lakes and aquifers

Prepared by INBO in cooperation with UNECE, GWP, UNESCO, the GEF and The French Agency for Development.


Panel discussion and pre-dinner buffet: "Towards joint implementation of the UNECE and UN Water Conventions?"

In the future two important steps in international water management and cooperation will take place: the entry into force of the amendment of the UNECE Water Convention opening it to countries outside the UNECE region and the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses. The aim of the side event was to explore potential synergies between these two Conventions, with a view to determining how these instruments might both support better management of transboundary waters throughout the world and mutually support each other.


World Water Development Report 4: Sectoral and Regional Challenges, Perspectives and Hotspots
Presentation by UNECE of the main findings of the European Regional Report of the fourth WWDR.