From 14-16.11.2016, in the Palais des Nations of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, was held the 4th meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health, organized by the World Health Organization for Europe (WHO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. (UNECE).
The meeting was attended by 40 member countries of the European region with about 200 participants, as well as WHO and UNECE, and numerous international NGOs and universities. Macedonia was represented by Prof. Dr. Mihail Kocubovski from the Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Macedonia, a National Focal Point for the Protocol on Water and Health.
The meeting began on 14th November, chaired by the representative of Switzerland, Mr. Pierre Shtuder.
26 countries have ratified the Protocol, Macedonia, Armenia and Kazakhstan started a possible signing of the Protocol and Greece advocates ratification of the Protocol.
Ms. Natasha Dzhurasinovikj from Serbia was elected as a chairman for the next three years, along with two wise-president Pierre Shtuder (Switzerland) and France Yannick Pavazo (France).
A special session was held to advance the agenda for water and sanitation for the Pan-European Region to achieve sustainable development of Agenda 2030.
Expressing regret that Millennium Development Goal weren’t achieved for sanitation, climate change affects water scarcity, floods and other extreme weather events, connection with the objectives of sustainable development with emphasis on RECs 6 for water and sanitation, the need for inter-sectoral and cross-border cooperation, in order to meet the objectives and activities of the Protocol.
8 members of the Bureau were elected.
The Protocol plays a key role in the implementation of the RECs 6. Macedonian goals were set in the working version of the Action Plan for Health and Environment.
Macedonia organized a first workshop for supervising water-related diseases in Skopje, from 09-10.03.2016, with the support of the WHO, and the Ministry of Health and the Institut of the public health. Czech Republic was the second country that has organized this kind of workshop. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan have expressed interest for such workshops.
A Program supervision over quality of drinking water was explored through small water supplies and sanitation. Macedonia held a Workshop on the status of Internal combustion engines, regulatory mechanisms and responsibilities of institutions in terms of public health and supervising the quality of drinking water, as well as challenges and capacity of the responsible national and local institutions to respond to them. A Compendium was prepared to development plans for safety in small communities in Macedonian, Albanian and English language.
Equal access to water and sanitation is implemented through self-assessment in France, Portugal, Hungary, Macedonia and Moldova. Several other countries have expressed interest. Macedonia’s self-assessment was conducted in Skopje, Kumanovo and Staro Nagorichino, Rankovce, Kratovo, Kriva Palanka and Veles.
A Workshop with presentation of results was held in Veles, from 20-21.01.2016, with the support of the UNECE. It is planned in 2017 to prepare local action plans to promote the condition in terms of equal access to water and sanitation in the aforementioned municipalities.
Supported program for national implementation of the Protocol was conducted in Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Tajikistan.
Chairman of the Convention on the protection and use of transboundary waters and international lakes expressed satisfaction in cooperation between the activities under the Convention and the Protocol.
The participants agreed that all efforts to water, sanitation and hygiene to be part of the Ministerial Declaration, which is to be adopted at the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Ostrava, Czech Republic from 13-15.06.2017.
It was agreed that the 5th Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health to be held in Belgrade in the second half of 2019.
Macedonia was one of the most active countries in terms of implementation of activities under the Protocol on Water and Health in the past three years.