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EUWI+ at the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol of Water and Health in Belgrade ©OIEau

 

From 19 to 21 November 2019, the 5th Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health took place in Belgrade. The meeting was organised by the government of Serbia, with support from the United Nations (UNECE and WHO Regional Office for Europe joint secretariat). The event was an opportunity to take stock of concrete results in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals related to water, sanitation, hygiene and health.

EUWI+ attended the meeting to present the project’s achievements in improving water governance. These include ten years of National Policy Dialogues to support the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals for the benefit of citizens and establish links with relevant EU water directives.

Impressive attendance levels

The event was opened by Ms Päivi Sillanaukee, Director General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland, WHO Executive Board member; Ms Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, UNECE; and Mr László Borbély, State Councillor, Coordinator of the Department for Sustainable Development, Romania.

With high attendance levels of around 50 participants, the event provided an insight into how national target-setting helps to improve water and health governance and how implementing targets makes it easier to attain Sustainable Development Goals.

Participants, some of them from Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership countries, also discussed the concrete benefits achieved for citizens. These include access to safe drinking water and sanitation thanks to improved intersectoral cooperation within the framework of the National Policy Dialogues under EUWI+.

 

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EUWI+ at the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol of Water and Health in Belgrade ©OIEau

 

NPDs to advance the beneficiary countries water agenda

The discussions continued during a special session on the European Union Water Initiative and National Policy Dialogues at the 5th Session of the Meeting of the Parties. This session addressed an audience of around 200 delegates to present recent achievements and future activities, supported by statements from partner countries of the Initiative. The Meeting of the Parties thanked the European Union for its support in this important area, welcomed the progress in implementing the EUWI+ programme in the Eastern Neighbourhood region, and reconfirmed the vital role of National Policy Dialogues in fostering the implementation and application of the Protocol on Water and Health.

 

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EUWI+ at the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol of Water and Health in Belgrade ©OIEau

 

National Policy Dialogues

Established within the European Union's Water Initiative, the National Policy Dialogues provide a platform for key stakeholders to identify, prepare, and implement reforms in the field of water policy. NPDs also aim at helping coordination of donor activities and enhancing international cooperation. The event was organised by the European Union Water Initiative Plus for Eastern Partnership Countries (EUWI+), a project funded by the European Union to strengthen integrated water resources management and support the alignment of Ukrainian water legislation with the EU Water Framework Directive.