The Task Force on Water and Climate under the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes is responsible for activities related to adaptation to climate change, including flood and drought management. In 2007-2009, the Task Force prepared a Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change which provides governments with strategic recommendations on how to implement adaptation in the water sector and throughout water-related policy sectors addressing in particular transboundary aspects. The Meeting of the Parties also decided to foster implementation of the Guidance through a programme of pilot projects and a platform for exchanging experience with adaptation in the transboundary context.
The third meeting of the Task Force on Water and Climate took place on Wednesday, 12 May 2010, in the Palais des Nations, Geneva, back-to-back with the Workshop on adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins, which was held on 10-11 May 2010 in Geneva.
The meeting discussed the programme of pilot projects and the platform for exchanging experience with adaptation in a transboundary basins. It also provided an opportunity to review implementation of the Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change and to discuss a possible contribution to the seventh Ministerial Conference of the «Environment for Europe» process, to be held in autumn 2011 in Astana, Kazakhstan, which will have water and water-related ecosystem as one of two themes.
«Dauria transboundary rivers- adaptation to climate change» was the pilot project proposal presented to the Task force by Eugene Simonov, on behalf of Dauria Biosphere Reserve, WWF Russia
Argun-Hailaer, Khalkh, Kherlen, Uldz, Onon rivers- virtually all notable basins of the Amur Headwaters are transboundary. Greatest threat — competition for water made the goal of national policies and demolishing transboundary wetlands to store waters on national territories. Unfortunately this threat is rapidly unfolding into crisis as countries start implement unilateral measures to alleviate drought consequences. Russia need assistance from the Convention on developing adaptation strategy for the Argun River Basin and environmental flow requirements for transboundary rivers of Dauria.
Proposed focus of the pilot project under UNECE is climate change adaptation, research on environmental flow requirements, monitoring and assessment including data management and information exchange.
Specific objectives of the pilot project:
1— Climate adaptation and strategic assessment of river management options
2—Develop environmental flow norms for the Argun and Uldz Rivers.
3—Enhance wetland monitoring system.
4—Wetland protected area network enhancement.
5— Education and information sharing on climate adaptation in transboundary Dauria
The main priority for cooperation with UNECE is the mechanisms of the Convention of the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, in particular, «GUIDANCE ON WATER AND ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE.»
A strategic assessment of the water management options in the Dauria should be prepared, based on the guidelines. This strategy will identify key threatening processes to the Dauria water systems and prescribe both Russian domestic and cooperative transboundary actions to prevent and remove these threats. Preparation of such policy document will introduce modern approaches to transboundary river basin management into decision-making in the region and establish links to relevant international institutions.
FULL PRESENTATION AT THE MEETING
The problems of Dauria transboundary rivers evoked interest and support on the part of meeting participants: Convention Secretariat, representatives of Slovakia, US, Germany, etc. Kazakhstan representatives invited colleagues from Dauria to a workshop on Lake Balkhash and Ili River basin, shared with China. Task Force members suggested that contacts with China and Mongolia could be made before the meeting in Astana to try to envolve them into dialogue on transboundary basins with UNECE region.
At the end of the meeting a letter from «Rivers of Siberia» international conference on necessity to provide international assistance to Dauria transboundary basins, where water crisis is unfolding, was submitted to the Convention Secretariat.