The Implementation Committee under the Water Convention was established at the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention (Rome, 28-30 November 2012) which adopted decision VI/1 on support to implementation and compliance (ECE/MP.WAT/37/Add.2, see in Eng, Fre and Rus).
The objective of the mechanism is to facilitate, promote and safeguard the implementation and application and compliance with the Water Convention. The mechanism is to be simple, non-confrontational, non-adversarial, transparent, supportive and cooperative in nature, building on the distinctive collaborative spirit of the Convention.
The Implementation Committee consists of nine members, who serve in their personal capacity, objectively and in the best interest of the Convention. The Committee is currently composed of the following members: Jovanka Ignjatovic, Kari Kinnunen, Stephen McCaffrey, Makane Moïse Mbengue, Martins Paparinskis, Pedro Cunha Serra, Attila Tanzi, Ivan Zavadsky, and Dinara Ziganshina (see short bios below).
Who can contact the Implementation Committee
The Committee is equipped with a unique advisory procedure.
Any Party to the Convention may request advice from the Committee about its difficulties in implementing the Convention (see decision VI/1, annex I, section V).
A Party, or Parties jointly, may request advice from the Committee about its or their efforts to implement or apply the Convention vis-à-vis each other, other Parties and/or non-Parties (see decision VI/1, annex I, section V).
A submission may be brought before the Committee by a Party that concludes that, despite its best endeavours, it is or will be unable to comply fully with the Convention (see decision VI/1, annex I, section VI).
A submission may be brought before the Committee by a Party(-ties) that is(are) affected or may be affected by another Party’s difficulties in implementing and/or complying with the Convention (see decision VI/1, annex I, section VI).
The Committee can also undertake a Committee initiative. Where the Committee becomes aware of possible difficulties in the implementation by a Party of or the possible non-compliance by a Party with the Convention, including from information received from the public, it may request the Party concerned to provide the necessary information on the matter. The Committee shall then consider the matter as soon as possible in the light of any reply that the Party may provide (see decision VI/1, annex I, section VII).
In other words, any actor (including members of the public) who has concerns about environmental degradation, ecosystems, health or wellbeing of local communities that derives from the conditions of, or activities at, transboundary waters, can provide the Committee with relevant information. The Committee will then consider the information received and may take action in accordance with its mandate.
In addition, the Committee may examine, at the request of the Meeting of the Parties, specific issues of implementation of and compliance with the Convention and carry out any other functions that may be assigned to it by the Meeting of the Parties.
In order to perform its functions, the Committee may undertake information gathering and consultations (see decision VI/1, annex I, section VIII). It may request information on matters under its consideration, invite the Parties and non-Parties concerned to attend its meetings, seek the services of experts, etc. The Committee shall take into account all relevant information made available to it, including from the public.
- How to contact the Implementation Committee
The Implementation Committee can be contacted by email through the Convention’s secretariat at water.convention(at)un.org. Please clearly indicate that the correspondence is intended for the Implementation Committee.
- List of Meetings
- Material and documents
Video recordings of interviews with Committee members, for example on upstream and downstream State relations, dispute settlement under the Water Convention and (in Russian) the role of the Implementation Committee for Central Asia.
- Committee members
Implementation Committee 2021-2024
Short biographies of the Committee members
Jovanka Ignjatovic has a background in water management and environmental engineering with over 30 years of professional experience in institutional development within and with governmental administration in the Western Balkan, South-Eastern Europe and MENA region. She possesses substantial expertise in managing projects related to transposition, implementation and enforcement of the EU environmental acquis. She served as Head of Water and Natural Resources Unit at the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) (2006-2018), Head of Department of the International Cooperation in Water Sector at the Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Directorate for Water (2005-2006), Head of Division of the Strategic Development and Protection of Environmental Media within the Ministry for Science and Environment, Directorate for the Environmental Protection (2003-2005) and Head of Department of the Water Quality Analysis and Modelling and Early Warning System of the Hydrometeorological Institute (2000-2003) of the Republic of Serbia. Since 2000 she has been a member of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) Expert Groups, coordinating national activities of the Monitoring and Assessment (MA EG) and Accident Prevention and Control (APC EG) in 2000–2006.
Kari Kinnunen has served as a Director of the Lapland Regional Environmental Centre for over a decade. He has been an alternate member (1982–1990) and Chair (1990–2007) of the Finnish-Norwegian Transboundary Water Commission, member of the Finnish-Swedish Transboundary River Commission (1994–2007), observer of the Finnish-Russian Border Water Commission (1996--2007) and Senior Advisor of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat (1998–1999). Professor Kinnunen has a background in microbiology, limnology, agriculture and forestry, and specializes in water hygiene, water quality, water ecological modelling, water ecosystem monitoring, environmental administration, acidification and international environmental cooperation.
Stephen McCaffrey has an extensive career in international water law, having been the Special Rapporteur for the International Law Commission’s draft articles on The Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (1985–1991), which formed the basis for the negotiation of the 1997 United Nations Watercourses Convention. Professor McCaffrey served as the Counsellor on International Law in the Office of Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State. He has been engaged as a counsel in numerous cases before the International Court of Justice and Permanent Court of Arbitration. Since 2000, Professor McCaffrey is a Distinguished Professor at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
Makane Moïse Mbengue is Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva and Director of the Department of International Law and International Organization. He is also an Affiliate Professor at Sciences Po Paris (School of Law). He is a Member of the Curatorium of The Hague Academy of International Law and an Associate Member of the Institut de droit international. He has acted and acts as expert on international water law issues for the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank and several river basin organisations in Africa. He also acts as counsel and arbitrator in disputes before international courts and tribunals.
Martins Paparinskis is Reader (Associate Professor) in Public International Law at University College London, Faculty of Laws, which he joined in 2013. He is a generalist public international lawyer with a variety of research interests, including international environmental law and international dispute settlement. Dr Paparinskis is a member of the World Bank’s ICSID panels of arbitrators (2014-) and conciliators (2020-), a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (2017-), a conciliator of the OSCE Court of Conciliation and Arbitration (2019-), and a member of the International Law Commission (2023-27).
Pedro Cunha Serra is an expert on hydraulics and water resources planning and management and is working as a consultant to Governments and international organisations on transboundary river basin issues. He is member of the Portuguese-Spanish Transboundary Water Commission since 1994 and was in the past the Portuguese Water Director (1994-1999) - at that moment the EU water framework directive was being drafted and the Portuguese-Spanish transboundary rivers Albufeira Convention was being negotiated (he was a member of the negotiations team). As advisor to the parties he worked with the Mozambican government on the drafting and negotiation of the Incomaputo Convention. More recently he has provided advice to the Government of Angola on the Cunene river Convention and to OSCE on the Dniester river.
Attila Tanzi (Chair) is Professor of International Law at the University of Bologna. He has been the Chair of the Legal Board of the UNECE Water Convention (2004–2012), Chair of the Compliance Committee of the Protocol on Water and Health (2007–2010), Chair of the Expert Group on Public Participation in International Forums (2004), Vice-Chair of the Working Group on the Elaboration of the Protocol on Civil Liability (2000–2003) and Special Rapporteur on the relationship between the 1992 Water Convention and 1997 UN Watercourses Convention for the Task Force on Legal and Administrative Issues (1998–2000). Professor Tanzi served as arbitrator in a number of water and environmental cases.
Ivan Zavadsky has been the Secretary of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (2013-2022). In 2007–2012, he worked as Senior Water Resources Management Specialist at the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Secretariat. Mr. Zavadsky has been a Regional Programme Director of the UNDP/GEF Danube/Black Sea Regional Programme (2005–2007) and Chief Technical Advisor of the UNDP/GEF Danube Regional Project (2001–2005). He served as Director General of the Air, Water, Waste and Environmental Risk Division at the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic (1995–2001) and Director of the Water Protection Department at the Slovak Commission for the Environment (1990–1992).
Dinara Ziganshina (Vice-Chair) holds a L.L.M. from the University of Oregon and a PhD in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from the IHP-Help Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science under the auspices of UNESCO, University of Dundee. She is a Director of the Scientific Information Center of Interstate Commission for Water Coordination in Central Asia (SIC ICWC), where she worked since 2012. She has extensive experience as a legal expert in water resources management at national and transboundary levels as well as academic research and teaching experience in the fields of water law, management and policy, international environmental law and policy, human rights and environmental conflict resolution.
Implementation Committee 2018-2021
Kari Kinnunen (Vice-Chair), Johan G. Lammers, Stephen McCaffrey, Martins Paparinskis, Anne Schulte-Wülwer-Leidig, Pedro Cunha Serra, Attila Tanzi (Chair), Ivan Zavadsky and Dinara Ziganshina (Vice-Chair)
Implementation Committee 2015-2018
Vanya Grigorova (Vice-Chair), Kari Kinnunen, Johan G. Lammers, Stephen McCaffrey, Anne Schulte-Wülwer-Leidig, Aliaksandr Stankevich, Attila Tanzi (Chair), Ivan Zavadsky and Dinara Ziganshina
Implementation Committee 2012-2015
Attila Tanzi (Chair), Saghit Ibatullin (Vice-Chair), Vanya Grigorova, Kari Kinnunen, Johan G. Lammers, Stephen McCaffrey, Anne Schulte-Wülwer-Leidig, Aliaksandr Stankevich and Ivan Zavadsky