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Season's Greetings from EU4Environment - Water and Data

Country: Regional
Component: Water resources, Environmental Data

As we bid farewell to 2023, a year of transformative progress, we express our heartfelt gratitude to our partners and stakeholders in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgian, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

In our pursuit of sustainable water management and environmental data excellence, 2023 marked significant milestones. From initiating and further developing River Basin Management Plans (RBMP), to using satellite data for environmental monitoring in Eastern Partner countries to pioneering wastewater-based epidemiology - each step was a testament to our shared commitment.

In 2024 our journey towards a more resilient and vibrant European continent continues, underlining the importance of nature-inspired resource management.

We wish you a joyful holiday season and a prosperous New Year filled with sustainable solutions and harmonious coexistence with nature.

Trilateral Prut Declaration signed by the Republic of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine

Country: Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Regional
Component: Water resources

On 20 October, the Trilateral Declaration on Cooperation on the Management of International Water Issues in the Prut River Basin between Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Romania was concluded on occasion of the International Conference "United for Justice. United for Nature" in Kyiv, Ukraine

Ms Iordanca-Rodica Iordanov, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Moldova, Mr Mircea Fechet, Minister of Environment, Water Resources and Forests of Romania and Mr Ruslan Strilets, Minister of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine have signed the document. European Union’s Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius was present at the event and welcomed the signature.

The Prut River is one of the three longest tributaries of the Danube River, along with the Sava and the Tisza rivers. Until it flows into the Danube, it crosses Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Romania, with a total basin area of 28,396 km2. Out for 953 km of the Prut River length, 711 km form a border between the Republic of Moldova and Romania, and 31 km of the river constitute the border between Romania and Ukraine.

The Declaration strengthens transboundary cooperation on:

  • harmonization of the national management plans for the Prut river basin,
  • monitoring of shared waters
  • flood and drought management,
  • conservation of biodiversity,
  • early warning on accidental water pollution,
  • public participation and awareness raising,
  • joint implementation of the projects and programmes.

A relevant working group will be created under the auspice of the ICPDR (International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River).

“We are really pleased with this historic milestone achieved after a long period of political efforts. With this action the countries have recommitted to the principles of integrated water resources management in the transboundary aspect, as laid down in the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), the ICPDR, and the EU Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC”, said Tamara Kutonova from the Water Convention Secretariat.

Development and signing of the Declaration was facilitated by the EU4Environment Water and Data programme. This Programme has two main objectives: 1) support a more sustainable use of water resources and 2) improve the use of sound environmental data and their availability for policy-makers and citizens. The programme is implemented in the EU Eastern Partners countries by the Environment Agency Austria (UBA), Austrian Development Agency (ADA), International Office for Water (OiEau) (France), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The action is principally funded by the European Union and co-funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation and the French Artois-Picardie Water Agency based on a budget of EUR 12,75 million (EUR 12 million EU contribution) and implemented in the period 2021-2024.

Read the Prut Declaration


Credit picture: Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Moldova

How can Earth observation help monitor the shrinking of Lake Taraclia in Moldova or walnut production in Georgia?

Country: Armenia, Georgia, Republic of Moldova
Component: Environmental Data

These were some of the questions addressed during a series of hands-on training sessions on the use of satellite data from the Copernicus programme. The series of workshops was organised by the EU4Environment Water and Data programme for experts in Armenia, Georgia and Moldova in December 2023.

The aim of the workshop was to introduce experts from the Eastern Partnership countries to the main characteristics and types of satellite imagery and to provide an overview of the Copernicus programme, its data and services. Participants were introduced to the Copernicus Data Space Ecosystem (, the newly launched portal for visualisation and download of Copernicus products.

Participants actively followed three case studies to understand and explore the potential of satellite data for land monitoring applications and to gain first-hand experience of processing satellite data in QGIS (an open-source geographic information system application that supports the viewing, editing and analysis of geospatial data).

Topics such as  inter-annual variability of vegetation productivity and its response to climatic conditions or forest change were explored. There were also some country specifics, such as a focus on agricultural productivity in Armenia, walnut production in Georgia and the shrinking of Lake Taraclia in Moldova.

The discussions helped to identify different applications that could benefit from the use of satellite data. Several thematic areas were identified, such as agriculture, water resources and climate.

A similar workshop will be held online for Ukraine in 2024.

Mapping land cover and land use is essential to determine what quantity of land is currently being used and for what purpose, and to identify changes in land use from year to year. This knowledge helps develop strategies to balance conflicting uses and nature protection. It helps to assess urban growth, model water quality issues, predict impacts from floods, and track wetland loss and the potential effects of rising sea levels, etc.

World Toilet Day : EU Support in Eastern Partnership Countries for Improved Sanitation and Wastewater Monitoring

Country: Regional
Component: Water resources

Worldwide, 3.5 billion people - or 40% of the population - live without safe toilets, shorthand for safely managed sanitation system. A safely managed sanitation system ensures human waste is properly contained, transported, and treated, safeguarding human health and the environment. 

The willingness of the Eastern Partnership countries to improve their environment and the well-being of their populations is reflected in their bilateral agreements with the European Union, in which they commit themselves, to varying degrees depending on the country, to align with EU water and wastewater legislation. They have also all signed the Protocol on Water and Health under the United Nations Water Convention, and three of them (Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Ukraine) have ratified it, becoming parties to it, which means that they are obliged to set targets for water supply and sanitation and to monitor progress. 

The EU supports the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine)  in their efforts to reduce the pollution of their rivers, lakes and groundwater. 

Untreated wastewater is one of the biggest sources of water pollution in the Eastern Partner countries   

Inadequately collected and treated domestic wastewater discharged into rivers and lakes is a major source of surface water pollution and, in some cases, groundwater contamination. Agricultural runoff (e.g., pesticides, fertilizers) and industrial wastewater (e.g., mining, chemical, and processing industries) can also be important sources of pollution in certain regions.  

In addition to damaging the health of populations and aquatic ecosystems, this pollution results in economic damage, e.g. to fisheries, drinking water supplies, agriculture, or recreation and tourism.  

In the 8 river basins with existing EU-backed management plans, 72% of expenses are devoted to sanitation for human and ecosystem health. The amount of investment in sanitation in these river basin management plans represents an average of EUR 110 per inhabitant. This trend is expected to continue in the three basins where a plan is under development.  

Among the many measures to be implemented, improving sanitation is one of the most effective because its positive environmental and health effects are easier and quicker to measure. Typically, countries begin to invest significantly in water supply, but sanitation and pollution control remain critical issues. This is the case in most of the Eastern Partnership countries.

Developing wastewater monitoring to inform future public health measures 

Wastewater surveillance aided in detecting past pandemics like polio. During the COVID-19 pandemic, health agencies in the EU utilized this tool as an early and low-cost source of information to identify virus presence and gauge its intensity. To deal with future public health challenges, wastewater-based epidemiological monitoring will provide a valuable source of information for public health decision-makers to support health-related measures. 

The EU4Environment Water and Data programme promotes monitoring COVID-19 in wastewater in the EaP countries. In 2022, the SarsCov-2 virus was analysed for the first time ever in wastewater samples from Yerevan, Baku, Tbilisi and Chișinău with the help of the programme. Austrian experts also provided guidance on the elaboration of the procedures, evaluation and interpretation of data. Non-infective RNA (Ribonucleic acid, a molecule that is present in the majority of living organisms and viruses) fragments of SARS-CoV-2 are also present in the faeces of individuals infected with the virus regardless of their health status (symptomatic, asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic, convalescent). When combined with clinical testing, hospitalisation rates and epidemiological data, wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 can track and identify whether the virus is present at an early stage, and determine its geographic coverage and intensity.


UN-Water 2023 synthesis report on SDG 6 on water and sanitation; 

Our articles on the same topic:  

Exploring the water-energy nexus at the Autumn Digital EU4Energy Week for Eastern Partnership Universities

Country: Regional
Component: Water resources, Environmental Data

On 4 October, the EU4Environment-Water and Data programme lead a session on water-energy nexus challenges as part of the third edition of the Autumn Digital EU4Energy Week for Eastern Partnership Universities organised by the EU4Energy Programme Phase II.

The event aims to empower young people and provide them with the insights and contacts that will help them to shape the energy sector in their countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine.

Participating students have the opportunities to meet with EU experts from various organisations in the energy sector, such as the Council of European Energy Regulators, the International Energy Agency, the Energy Community Secretariat, and from experts from the  UNECE and International Office for Water (implementing partners of the EU4Environment Water and Data programme). 

The 2023 edition of the Autumn Digital EU4Energy Week for EaP Universities focuses on the implementation of the Clean Energy Package and the EU Green Deal, the role of hydrogen in the energy transition, energy poverty, and technological solutions for the energy transition.

The lecture of the EU4Environment Water and Data programme described a matrix representing the major water and energy flows needed for human activities and the issues involved. The focus is made on energy requirements for water use and on water requirements for energy production. The objectives were to identify and define the basic vocabulary for studying water and energy flows, to give quantified orders of magnitude and to identify the strong links that exist between the use of water and energy.

As part of the event, participating students will take a quiz on the topics covered. The highest scoring student will attend a conference and meet energy professionals working in the sector.

Presentation on water-energy nexus:

Webpage of the event:

Recording of all sessions and access to all presentations:


The EU-funded “EU4Environment – Water Resources and Environmental Data” Programme, launched in 2021, aims at supporting a more sustainable use of water resources and improving the use of sound environmental data ... Read more




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