OSCE and UNECE support progress towards climate change adaptation in the Dniester River basin
OSCE and UNECE (the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) jointly organized a meeting of the Working Group on Flood Management and Climate Change Adaptation in the Dniester River Basin on 23 March 2017 in Chisinau, Moldova.
The meeting attracted more than 60 participants from the ministries of the environment, water agencies, hydro-meteorological services, research institutions and non-governmental organizations from Moldova and Ukraine.
It took stock of climate change adaptation activities, concluded within the framework of an Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative project and discussed next steps to be taken.
Discussions focused on the implementation of the Strategic Framework for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Dniester River Basin, a trans-boundary climate change adaptation strategy that was developed under the project and endorsed by Moldova and Ukraine in 2015.
Other key project results include an implementation plan for the strategy and several climate change adaptation measures supported by the OSCE and UNECE in the fields of data exchange and monitoring, ecosystems restoration and awareness-raising. The overall goal was to address climate change impacts in an effective and well-co-ordinated way to the benefit of the entire basin.
"Climate change has already had observable effects on the environment in the Dniester river basin,” said Moldovan Deputy Environment Minister Victor Morgoci. “The project has made a valuable contribution to our capacity to find joint solutions with Ukrainian colleagues and to develop concrete actions to adapt to the impacts of climate change in the basin."
Olexander Bon, Head of the Section on Water Ecosystems and Resources at Ukraine's Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry, underlined that “like Moldova, Ukraine also has water- and environment-related commitments under the European Union Association Agreement. We see today's final project meeting as a great opportunity to take stock of project results and lessons learnt that facilitate our countries’ fulfilment of these commitments."
Stephen Young, Deputy Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, said: “The OSCE supports its participating States in strengthening water co-operation and addressing climate change at national level as well as in a transboundary context. This is of note in the Dniester river basin, where the OSCE and UNECE have fruitfully co-operated in supporting both Moldova and Ukraine since 2004 within the framework of the ENVSEC Initiative”
UNECE Regional Advisor on Environment, Bo Libert, said: “The pioneering work done by experts and representatives from Ukraine and Moldova to develop a strategy and an implementation framework for climate change adaptation in the Dniester river basin is impressive. Serious challenges remain, but what we have on the table is a solid basis for action. UNECE is ready to continue its partnership with the countries and the OSCE to move forward.”
Alexandre Darras, Attaché-Project Manager at the EU Delegation to Moldova, said: “We welcome the positive contributions made by the project to address climate change and strengthen trans-boundary co-operation in the Dniester river basin. We hope that a constructive dialogue and joint action towards adapting to climate change will be even further strengthened and scaled up in a sustainable way in the future.”
Alexander Karner, Counsellor at the Austrian Embassy in Chisinau and Head of the Austrian Development Agency’s Office in Moldova expressed the strong belief that common problems regarding the use of shared natural resources – like water, food or energy – can only be solved together: “It is joint efforts that have the potential to bring communities and people closer together. In this regard, the permanent joint Moldovan-Ukrainian Working Group to improve the state and management of natural resources along the Dniester River basin is an example of good practice. We are confident that this group has the power to transform the joint framework into action.”
The event was organized by the OSCE and UNECE as part of the Dniester component of the project “Climate Change and Security in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus”, conducted under the ENVSEC Initiative with funding from the European Union Instrument for Stability and the Austrian Development Agency.