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Заедничка Акција за Одржлива Иднина
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Coordinated Action for a Sustainable Future

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You are here: Home / News & Announcements / Building Drin Riparians’ Capacities on Transboundary Water Cooperation and International Water Law

Building Drin Riparians’ Capacities on Transboundary Water Cooperation and International Water Law

The GEF Drin Project ‘Enabling Τransboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resources Management in the extended Drin River Basin’ organized its 1st capacity building workshop on “Transboundary Water Cooperation and International Water Law” in Athens, on 14-15 June 2016. The workshop was organized back-to-back with the 11th Meeting of the Drin Core Group / 2nd Meeting of the Steering Committee of the GEF Drin Project (13 June) and the 2nd Expert Working Group Meeting (16-17 June), leveraging the presence of their members in Athens.

The group of the 25 participants included Drin Core Group / Expert Working Groups[1] members, as well as Drin Riparians’[2] officials with competency in fields related to integrated basin management. The workshop aimed to build trainees’ capacities in the fields of international water law and transboundary environmental impact assessment.

The workshop, whose curriculum has been developed by the United Nations Economic Committee for Europe (UNECE), provided knowledge and enabled in-depth discussion among the participants on key legal obligations under international water law, and their application to specific areas of water cooperation, such as flood management and water quality protection. Moreover, it clarified the role of relevant UNECE and other Conventions, and explained their provisions in relation to cooperation mechanisms. Exercises were used to familiarise the participants with the application of international law in the planning of national activities in transboundary basins.

Participant Group Photo, Athens, 14-15 June 2016

The team of trainers included:

The group work that followed was related to the UNECE Espoo Convention. It included exercises on the establishment of new activities in a basin focusing on environmental impact assessment in a transboundary perspective. Finally, participants discussed future legal and institutional steps to take in the Drin basin in order to proceed from the Drin MoU and the Drin Core Group to achieving a basin agreement and the establishment of a Commission.

The empowerment of the institutions for the management of the Drin Basin is a key objective of the GEF Drin Project[3] that aims to facilitate the Drin MoU[4] implementation and operationalize structured cooperation among the countries.

In fact, capacity building at national level with regards to crucial issues affecting transboundary water resources management is one of the key pillars of the project. In this sense, it assists in the sustainability of the wider project outcomes and results in strengthening the overall basin management architecture. A series of similar workshops for a number of target groups will follow throughout the project duration focusing on some or a combination of the following priority themes: land use management, integrated water resources management and Water Framework Directive implementation, environmental permits and management at local level, floods and droughts management, nature and ecosystems protection, pollution control, economic valuation of issues and solutions for basin management.

The material from the workshop - presentations held by speakers and supporting documents - is available!


An overview of the workshop's participants - 2, Athens, 14-15 June 2016          Capacity Building Workshop on International Water Law, Athens, 14-15 June 2016


[1] The Drin Core Group (DCG) and the three Expert Working Groups (EWG) - Water Framework Directive implementation, Monitoring and Information Exchange, Biodiversity and Ecosystem - are part of the institutional structure that was established in 2012 for the implementation of the Drin MoU. The Drin Core Group is given the mandate to coordinate actions and comprises representatives of the Riparians’ competent Ministries, (pre)existing joint structures, UNECE, GWP-Med, and MIO-ECSDE representing civil society. The decisions are taken on the basis of consensus of the Riparians’ representatives. The three EWGs were established to assist the DCG in its work.

[2] Albania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Kosovo, Montenegro

[3] The Drin Project was officially launched in December 2015 in Tirana, Albania. With a budget of $5.5 million over the next four years, it has already become the pivotal action in the Drin River Basin, with the aim to “promote joint management of the shared water resources of the transboundary Drin River Basin, including coordination mechanisms among the various sub-basin joint commissions and committees”. The Project is implemented by UNDP and executed by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) through GWP-Mediterranean (GWP-Med) in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE); GWP-Med is responsible for the realization of the Project and also acts as the Secretariat to the Drin Core Group that is also the Project’s Steering Committee (SC).

[4] Coordinated action at Drin Basin level has been absent until the development of the Shared Vision for the sustainable management of the Drin Basin and the signing of a related Memorandum of Understanding (Tirana, 25 November 2011) by the Ministers of the water and environment management competent ministries of the Drin Riparians. Its main objective is the attainment of the Shared Vision: “Promote joint action for the coordinated integrated management of the shared water resources in the Drin Basin, as a means to safeguard and restore, to the extent possible, the ecosystems and the services they provide, and to promote sustainable development across the Drin Basin”.

Note: The Drin Core Group (DCG) is the GEF Drin Project’s Steering Committee; GWP-Med serves as the Secretariat to the Drin Core Group providing technical and administrative support, and is also responsible for the realization of the Project.


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