Transboundary cooperation in river basins was declared one of the priorities for the water sector development
The 7th World Water Forum brought together over 30,000 visitors from 168 countries which comprised 9 heads of State, 80 government ministers and 100 official national governments delegations. At the closing ceremony the Forum of 2015 was heralded by participants as the most politically impactful ever. It facilitated a number of political agreements which mark a step forward in international water co-operation, for example a new agreement between the US and Mexico regarding the Colorado River Management.
During the week, the water community and decision-makers agreed that investing in water must be a top priority for the political agenda in the next decade.
“The 7th World Water Forum paid a lot of attention to transboundary cooperation and integrated water resource management – the topics that have always been present in the work of the Amur branch of WWF-Russia. The new program ‘Amur Green Belt’ will bring together the efforts of the Russian, Chinese and Mongolian offices of WWF towards preserving the ecosystems of the Amur River Basin in the conditions of the ever-growing anthropogenic stress, - says Peter Osipov, Amur program coordinator of WWF-Russia, Amur branch. – The Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (so-called Espoo Convention) was claimed by the Forum delegated to be one of the most important documents of international environmental law. Its ratification should become the next step towards integrated river basin management in the Amur.”
During the Forum events the specialists of the WWF-Russia Freshwater Program had a chance to compare the details of the environmental work with the colleagues from WWF-US, WWF-Mexico and a Mexican NGO ‘Profauna’ who work in the basin of Rio Grande.
“Within the big part of its length the Rio-Grande River serves as a border between the USA and Mexico, as well as the Amur forms a border between Russia and China. This shapes special conditions for the water resources management. We were fascinated by the experience of our American colleagues in managing transboundary protected areas. The national parks on the different sides of the river protect the same ecosystem but are under jurisdiction of the different state. Nevertheless, their conservation strategies are fully harmonized, and the neighboring relations have been so simplified that the rangers can easily borrow canoes and other equipment from each other. In the Amur Basin, we strive to create a network of transboundary PAs with the same level of mutual understanding between the riparian parties. There already is an international nature reserve ‘Khanka Lake’, and under construction are Mongolian-Russian nature reserve ‘Sources of Amur’ and a number of Sino-Russian protected territories,” – says Alyona Rydannykh, Freshwater Program Officer in WWF-Russia, Amur branch.
World Water Forum is the world’s largest international event devoted to water issues. It was first organized by the World Water Council in 1997 and since is held every three years. The 7th World Water Forum consisted of 4 preparatory processes: Political, Regional, Thematic and Science and Technology, within a common framework, so as to catalyze collective action and positive change. It also included cultural events, prize ceremonies, and a Citizen’s Forum.