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Transboundary Aquifers: Celebration of achievements in cooperation (UNESCO-IHP GGRETA project)

When, local time: 
Thursday, 28 March 2019 - 9:30am to Friday, 29 March 2019 - 3:30pm
Where: 
France, Paris
Type of Event: 
Category 7-Seminar and Workshop
Contact: 
m.rubio@unesco.org

The Final Meeting of the Governance of Groundwater Resources in Transboundary Aquifers (GGRETA) - Phase 2 project will be held on 28-29 March 2019 at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France. The meeting will present main achievements of the project such as the establishment of a joint governance mechanism for the Stampriet Aquifer (shared by Botswana, Namibia and South Africa) in Southern Africa, the signing of a letter of intention setting the baseline for the institutionalization of cooperation over the Ocotepeque-Citala Aquifer (El Salvador and Honduras) in Central America, and the adoption of a workplan of activities for the development of a numerical model for the Pretashkent Aquifer (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan) in Central Asia.

The UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP) has been entrusted by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to execute the second phase of the “Groundwater Resources Governance in Transboundary Aquifers (GGRETA)” project (2016-2019) that focuses on three transboundary aquifers: Stampriet Aquifer (Botswana, Namibia and South Africa) in Southern Africa, Ocotepeque-Citala Aquifer (El Salvador and Honduras) in Central America and Pretashkent Transboundary Aquifer (Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) in Central Asia.

The main goals of the GGRETA Phase 2 project were to enhance cooperation on water security, prevent transboundary and water-use conflicts, and improve overall environmental sustainability.

The project aimed at responding to the pressing need of increasing the knowledge on the physical and socioeconomics characteristics of the three transboundary aquifers by:
1) reinforcing the capacity of Member States in managing groundwater resources through tailored capacity-building activities;
2) strengthening cooperation among countries sharing the aquifers; and
3) developing long-term strategies for the monitoring and governance of the aquifers’ groundwater resources.

As a result of the joint efforts of UNESCO and Member States, the project led to the establishment of a Cooperation Mechanism for the Stampriet Aquifer in August 2017, the signing of a Letter of Intention by local, regional and national stakeholders setting the baseline for the institutionalization of cooperation over the Ocotepeque-Citala Aquifer (El Salvador and Honduras) in Central America, and the adoption of a workplan of activities to develop a numerical model for the Pretashkent Aquifer (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan) in Central Asia. Additionally, more than 300 experts were trained on several key components of groundwater governance (e.g. groundwater modelling, international water law, water and gender) throughout the project.

The Final Meeting of the project will be an opportunity to share experiences among the three assessed transboundary aquifers, and discuss a plan of activities and way forward for the third phase of the GGRETA project.