30th anniversary of the Water Convention

28 June, 2022

In March 1992, governments gathered in Helsinki, Finland, with a vision in mind: to manage shared waters in the pan-European region collaboratively and sustainably. By the end of the meeting, the Water Convention was born. Today, this Convention is an effective framework for advancing transboundary water cooperation at the global level.

On this occasion, the Ministry of the Environment of Estonia, together with United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and in cooperation with Finland, are hosting a special event. Governments (both Parties and non-Parties), international and regional organizations, basin organizations, civil society, private sector, academia and other stakeholders are coming together to mark the 30th anniversary of this crucial legal instrument that has become a practical tool to implement transboundary water cooperation.

Membership to the Water Convention is growing steadily, with five Parties from outside the UNECE region joining this global instrument in the period 2016–2021. Furthermore, a growing number of countries are in the process of accession and numerous activities under the Convention are implemented worldwide. Currently there are 46 Parties to the Convention.

The anniversary event aims to review progress in achieving the Convention’s long-term vision: “transboundary waters worldwide are managed in cooperation between riparian countries in order to promote sustainable development, peace and security”. The event offers the opportunity to reflect on Convention’s role in operationalizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development (2018–2028), and other international commitments on sustainable development and climate change.

The event is also an opportunity to launch the new publication “The Water Convention: 30 Years of Impact and Achievements on the Ground” defined by Olga Algayerova, UNECE Executive Secretary, as “a source for guidance and inspiration, and a call to step up our action for transboundary water cooperation”.