Based on the fact that many water bodies cross boundaries in the region of the UN Economic Commission for Europe UNECE - alsoincluding Central Asia - the ECE is developing a programme to promote cooperation in adapting to climate change in transboundary basins. The programme is based on the “Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change” , developed under the ECE ‘Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes’, shortly the ‘Water Convention’. Under this programme it was initiated a series of pilot projects of different types, including on the Chu Talas Basin (Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan), Dniester Basin(Moldova-Ukraine), Sava river basin (Bosnia/Herzegovina-Croatia-Serbia-Slovenia), and Neman river basin (Belarus-Lithuania-Russian Federation). Ongoing activities on water and climate change on the Rhine basin, the Meuse basin, the Amur/Argun/Daursky Biosphere reserve and on the Danube river basin are also included. The programme is supported by a platform for exchanging experience between pilot projects including by discussions and information exchange at workshops, the second one on ‘Water and Adaptation to Climate Change in Transboundary Basins’ to be held 12-13 April. The first workshop resulted in very useful documentation available at this webpage. This work together with the work on the pilot projects will, no doubt promote the integration of Water and Adaptation to Climate Change in Transboundary Basins.
A Task Force on Water and Climate facilitates the programme but is not a decision-making body. This task force is a Body of the Water Convention and is jointly led by Germany and the Netherlands. Both of these countries are active supporters of the pilot projects in particularly of course of the activities regarding water and climate change adaptation in the Rhine basin. The government of Finland is contributing to the pilot project on the Neman river basin. Several governments from Eastern Europe and Central Asia are actively supporting project implementation in "their" pilot river basins and are also participating at the workshop meetings. This demonstrates a clear interest from governmental level for a strong integration between adaptation to climate change and transboundary river basins e.g. freshwater. The UNFCCC, who was represented at last year’s workshop, showed an interest in carrying results from this process further. And as there will be a presentation of progress of the pilot projects at the Seventh Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe", to be held in Astana,Kazakhstan, 21-23 September, there will be a possibility to emphasize the clear interdependence between climate change and river basin planning at ministerial level prior to the South African COP later this year - although the ministers will ‘only’ come from the UNECE region. But as countries outside the UNECE have demonstrated an interest in ratifying the convention this interdependence may be recognized and agreed.