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World Water Day: cooperation between Moldova, Romania and Ukraine on the Prut river basin

Country: Republic of Moldova, Ukraine
Component: Water resources

The UN 2023 Water Conference taking place on 22, 23 and 24 March 2023 dedicates its 4th interactive dialogue to the theme “Water for Cooperation”. Let's reflect on the cooperation between the Republic of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine on the Prut river basin.

The Prut River, a transboundary river with high stakes for three countries

The Prut River is one of the three longest tributaries of the Danube (Prut, Sava and Tisza are all between 950 and 1000 km long). The Prut river basin covers an area of 27.540 km²; its sub-basins are shared between Moldova (7.701 km2 or 28%), Romania (10.990 km² or 40 %) and Ukraine (8.849 km² or 32%).

Its history and transboundary character is highly marked by the fact that its main river course has always marked important country borders. Nowadays, for a length of 31 km, it forms the border between Romania and Ukraine, and for 711 km, it forms the border between Romania and Moldova.

The mountainous origin of the Prut River  is the reason for its sufficiently large water content. But the Prut River faces severe water quality problems, such as a decline in biodiversity and a deterioration of its ecosystems. The impacts of climate change, such as increasingly frequent floods and droughts, are already felt in the basin and represent a concrete risk for both Moldova and Romania.


Cooperation between Moldova, Romania and Ukraine on the Prut river

A cooperation framework between the three countries sharing the Prut river basin is provided under the umbrella of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR). The cooperation also follows country-specific bilateral agreements, such as the Agreement between the Government of Romania and the Government of Ukraine on Cooperation in the Field of Transboundary Water Management (Galati, 30 October 1997); the Moldova-Romania Intergovernmental Agreement on the cooperation in the field of water management of the Prut and of the Danube (Chisinau, 28 June, 2010); and the Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of Moldova on joint boundary waters management and protection. (Chisinau, 23 November 1994).

The countries of the Prut Basin (Moldova, Romania and Ukraine) are in the process of convergence towards the EU acquis. By reinforcing their transboundary co-operation, they can better address the needs of all countries and  

As of today, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine are developing management plans for the part of the Prut river basin that is included within their national boundaries. The situation is as follow:  

 The cost of non-cooperation

The UN concept paper reminds that there is a cost of non-cooperation. Unilateral action by communities, sectors and countries can lead to unsustainable and often more costly development choices, and if left unaddressed can even spiral into threats of regional stability and peace, especially within the context of weak governance systems and situations of fragility, conflict and violence.

Population growth, migration and increasing water demand, coupled with climate change impacts and ecosystem degradation, make water cooperation an imperative.

Progress on water cooperation must be accelerated. Currently, the world is not on track to implement integrated water resources management at all levels by 2030 (SDG target 6.5). An estimated 107 countries are not on track to have sustainably managed water resources by 2030;3 and out of 153 countries sharing transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers, only 32 countries have at least 90% of their transboundary basin area covered by operational arrangements for transboundary water cooperation.

European Union support

Since 2010, Moldova and Romania have agreed to cooperate on the protection and sustainable use of the Prut and Danube rivers. In this way, the EU Water Initiative Plus project helped for the establishment of a bilateral Moldovan-Ukrainian Dniester joint Commission and provided guidance for the creation of a Moldovan-Romanian-Ukrainian working group under the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River.

The EU4Environment Water and Data programme is now working with these three countries to foster international cooperation on this shared river basin by fostering exchanges of good practices at the scale of both the Danube River and the European Union. Coordinating the national RBMPs among the three neighbors is a prerequisite for a more sustainable and long-term development of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.   


World Wetlands Day: Wetlands reflect heartbeat of water resources

Country: Regional
Component: Water resources, Environmental Data

Latest updates (January-February 2023)

Country: Regional
Component: Water resources, Environmental Data


Water resources management

Another milestone for water resources in Armenia

Since 27 January 2023, Armenia has an EU-inspired outline from which to develop all its future River Basin Management Plans, including the second planning cycles for existing plans. The outline was officially approved by a decree of the Minister of Environment of Armenia on 27 January 2023. This outline features the different chapters that make up a river basin management plan. It takes into consideration the requirements of the Water Code of Armenia, as well as the country’s obligations under the European Union-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA), and particularly its gradual approximation towards the EU Water Framework Directive.

Kick off of the river basin management plans in Armenia and Georgia and continuation of the work for the Dnipro in Ukraine

Armenia officially kicked off the work to develop the Qasakh water quantity management plan (17 January) and the Northern River Basin management plan (16 February). The Qasakh water quantity management plan aims to ensure sufficient water for agriculture, industry, drinking water and aquatic ecosystems at the scale of this sub-basin of the Hrazdan. It will help determine how much water can be taken from nature without endangering the water ecosystems and set collective management rules and monitoring processes. The management plan for the Northern River Basin is the 6th to be developed with EU support. Once adopted, Armenia will be the first Caucasus countries whose territory is fully covered by River Basin Management plans.  On 2 February a groundwater workshop took place in Yerevan on the assessment of the chemical and quantitative status of groundwater. To support the development of the Northern River Basin Management Plan, Armenian and Austrian experts also discussed the delineation of groundwater bodies and the possibility of a joint Armenian-Georgian field survey.

Georgia kicked off the work to develop the future management plans for Enguri and Rioni river basins on 14 February in Kutaisi. More than 40 participants took part in the discussions. Enguri and Rioni are the 4th & 5th river basin management plans to be developed with EU support.

In Ukraine, national experts have started working on the final stage of the Dnipro River Basin Management Plan. A consultation was held with representatives of the Dnipro River basin management bodies regarding the preparation of the Programme of measures in November 2022. The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources created a working group with the participation of all responsible management bodies for the development of the 9 River Basin Management Plans. The Dnipro river basin management plan will be a model for the other basins in Ukraine.


Environmental data

Land monitoring

The Republic of Moldova held a workshop on land monitoring on 1-2 February. Participants focused on the national implementation of the Corine Land Cover pilot project, on the joint assessment of available global and national land monitoring data as well as on the preparation and decision on the use of High Resolution Land Cover data for national assessments in a pilot area. This work will provide an opportunity to develop new products on biodiversity and climate change monitoring.

Read more (in Romanian)

Similar workshops already took place (in Armenia in December 2022), other are under preparation for Georgia and Ukraine (March 2023) and for Azerbaijan (April 2023).

European waste management reporting

On 21 February, the EU4Environment Water and Data programme organised an online regional workshop on European waste management reporting in which UkrStat presented Ukrainian progress towards the requirements of the European Waste Statistics regulation. The program supports the development of a waste reporting regulation under the New Waste Management Act which enters into force in July 2023. As in all European countries, good co-operation between Waste Management authorities and Statistical Institutes is essential for effective policy-relevant waste management reporting.

Read the workshop’s presentations

Water accounting

Following up on bilateral experts meetings, EU4Environment Water and Data international experts on water accounting are preparing a webinar for specialists from Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova in March. Topic will be the European approaches to water accounting and possible ways to improve knowledge on water use.

Latest updates (November-December 2022)

Country: Regional
Component: Water resources, Environmental Data


Water resources management

National strategies and policies

In November and December 2022, Ukraine and Armenia adopted important strategic and planning documents with the aim to improve their water resources management.

On 9 December 2022, Ukraine adopted a new Water Strategy and its associated operational plan for implementation that were approved by the Government.  Over the last years, various support by the European Union has informed strategy development including the indicators for the monitoring framework.

Following the adoption of a package of amendments to its Water Code earlier in July, on 3 November 2022 Armenia adopted its Water Sector Adaptation Plan and its Programme of Measures for 2022-2026. Water is one of the six most vulnerable sectors to climate change in Armenia according to the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) developed under the UNDP Green Climate Fund. The Water Sector Adaptation Plan is part of the National Adaptation Plan process. Aimed at policy makers, its purpose is to help the Armenian government achieve its adaptation objectives for the water sector through the identification of specific and prioritised measures needed to build climate resilience in the water sector.

On 8 December 2022,  Armenia adopted both Sevan and Hrazdan River Basin Management Plans, developed within the EU Water Initiative + project. The level of decentralisation provided by river basin management makes it possible to deal with local water challenges. By taking into account the balance between the economy (uses) and ecosystems (protection), management at the river basin level provides for equal access to water and the sustainability of water resources in the long-term. Armenia has prepared management plans for almost all of its 6 river basin districts: Ararat, Southern, Akhuryan (officially adopted in 2016 and 2017), Sevan and Hrazdan. The EU4Environment Water and Data programme supports the development of a river basin management plan for the Northern River basin district.

On 6 December 2022, Georgia hosted the 9th meeting of the National Policy Dialogue on Water, with support of the EU4Environment Water and Data programme.  Georgia is undertaking a major reform of its water sector to comply with the European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) requirements. In this regard, the Draft Law on Water Resources is a key element to pursue reforms in the water sector and ensure sustainable and qualitative water resources for all.

River Basin management

A one-day training on the preparation of the Programme of Measures of the Dnipro River Basin Management Plan was held on 29 November in Kyiv. The measures aim to improve the status of the water bodies as well as rebuild water utilities destroyed by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The event gathered 36 participants physically.The first draft of the Programme of Measures will be available during the summer of 2023. The complete draft of the Dnipro River Basin Management Plan will be submitted for consultation during the first half of 2024.

Water monitoring

A regional training on laboratory analysis of water quality (following the international norm ISO 28540) took place on 21-24 November in Tbilisi Georgia, at the laboratory premises of the National Environment Agency. Participants from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine participated were trained on the determination of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in water, using gas chromatography with mass spectrometric detection (GC-MS).

A groundwater field survey was organised mid November in Georgia. The data collected will be help develop the River Basin management plan for the Enguri Rioni river basin districts.

Transboundary cooperation

The third meeting of the working group on water monitoring and information exchange of the Commission on Sustainable Use and Protection of the Dniester basin took place in Chisinau, Moldova on 7-8 December, with support of the EU4Environment Water and Data programme. Moldova and Ukraine presented information collected during joint water surveys on the quantity and quality of surface and groundwater. Participants shared the lessons learnt and discussed the possibilities to improve this joint monitoring process in the future. The working group approved its work plan for 2023-2024.

The Republic of Moldova and Romania are resuming cooperation on the Prut and Danube rivers.  After a long break, the intergovernmental commission for the implementation of the Agreement on cooperation for the protection and sustainable use of the Prut and Danube waters held its 2nd regular session from 2-3 November 2022. The meeting was organised by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Moldova with the support of EU4Environment Water and Data.

Water for Health

Ukraine submitted its summary report within the fifth reporting cycle (November 2021-April 2022) under the UN Protocol on Water and Health with support of the EU4Environment Water and Data programme. Read the summary report here.

Eastern Partner Countries participated to the 6th Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health that took place on 17 November 2022.


Environmental data

A workshop on Copernicus land monitoring products took place on 30 November in Armenia. The CORINE Land Cover (CLC) inventory was initiated in 1985 (reference year 1990) to standardize data collection on land in Europe to support environmental policy development. CLC is produced by the majority of countries by visual interpretation of high resolution satellite imagery. In a few countries semi-automatic solutions are applied, using national in-situ data, satellite image processing, GIS integration and generalisation. CLC has a wide variety of applications, underpinning various Community policies in the domains of environment, but also agriculture, transport, spatial planning etc.


International conferences

On 6 December 2022, EU4Environment Water and Data organized a side event at the UN Groundwater Summit: "Future of groundwater monitoring & foresight concepts in support of SDG 6." EU DG Near and Armenia gave a presentation focusing on EU Water Initiative + and EU4Environment Water and Data.

On 28 November, EU4Environment Water and Data organized a workshop at the International River Symposium in Vienna.  The workshop focused on river governance in Eastern partner countries. Experts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine discussed challenges and solutions with experts from the OECD, UNECE, International Office for Water (France) and the Environment Agency Austria.



EU4Environment Water and Data is looking for a consultant to support local authorities in the organisation of the future Water Supply and Sanitation services in the Nirnova river basin in Moldova. Deadline is 06 January 2023. More information


Regional workshop on European waste management reporting

Country: Regional
Component: Environmental Data
Access to the workshop presentations below
On 21 February 2023, the EU4Environment Water and Data programme organised a regional online workshop on European waste management reporting.
Eastern Partner countries experts from Statistical Institutes and Waste ¨Management authorities participated in this online workshop to have a better understanding of the institutional and legislative framework for waste data reporting in the European Union.

Timely and reliable data underpins the development and maintenance of effective waste management legislation, licensing, policy, programs, and Waste Avoidance and Resource efficiency.

Two different EU legislations require waste data reporting: Waste Statistic regulation and Waste management legislation including the Directive on waste and Directives on specific waste streams. Waste statistics at EU level have had a legal basis since 2002 as a response to the need for comparable and harmonized data.

Regular statistics on the production and management of waste from business and private households are collected from Member States to monitor the implementation of European Union waste policy, which is based on the principles of waste prevention, maximisation of recovery and safe disposal.

Data on specific waste streams are collected to monitor compliance of EU Member States with quantitative targets, like recycling and recovery rates, set out in EU waste legislation.

In order to ensure harmonized calculation, verification and reporting, specific rules including methodology and formats for reporting are established with regard to a number of parameters relating to the target’s calculation.

Waste-related indicators form a substantial part of the circular economy monitoring framework and are important tools to measure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Workshop presentations

EU framework presented by Brigitte Karigl (Eng)

EU waste data and statistics reporting by Barbara Stoifl (Eng)

Waste management in Armenia by Naira Mandalyan (Eng)

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) electronic registry in Georgia by Irma Gurguliani (Eng)

Waste statistics in Ukraine by Nataliya Guseva (Ukr)

World Soils Day: epidermis of the land, soil is as crucial to life on Earth as water

Country: Regional
Component: Water resources

Soil separates rocks from the atmosphere and constitutes the epidermis of the land. Soil is as crucial to life on Earth as water.

Soils are made up of solid, liquid and gaseous materials that organise porosity. They are assembled in horizons (successive layers) and form a continuous cover of highly variable thickness. The nature of soils varies in space depending mainly on geology, topography, climate, time and living organisms. Our knowledge of soils through morphological observations on the field and analyses helps us understand their qualities, fragility, and the pressures they are subject to. Soils are classified and named. Despite their importance, we know little about them.

However, soils should be the subject of more attention because they are decisive in water dynamics (regulation, reservoir, distribution), in pollution processes through a protective effect (filtration, buffer effect, decomposition, degradation or immobilisation of pollutants) or a source effect (when they have been contaminated), and for ecosystems (plant rooting, animal life in and on soils). They support economic activities (primarily agriculture, followed by human infrastructures), play a role in carbon sequestration (as a climate change moderator) and can be a receptacle for materials (sludge, sewage, treated waste water). Soils contribute to several Sustainable Development Goals1.

However, soils are subject to many types of pressure: sealing due to urban sprawl and infrastructure; erosion by rain, wind and certain agricultural practices; diffuse or point source pollution by contaminants; overexploitation with a drop in fertility and biodiversity of soil organisms; drying out due to drainage; waterlogging due to floods; compaction by agricultural or forestry machinery; salinisation due to irrigation and rising sea levels; acidification; desertification; etc. Soil degradation can be very rapid and is irreversible on a human scale. Indeed, it takes thousands of years to reconstitute soil (1,000 years for 1 cm in temperate zones). Soil is therefore a non-renewable resource that must be preserved.

A first step is to preserve soils with high agronomic quality for agriculture.

Due to their role in regulating the quantity and quality of surface water and groundwater, we should also consider soils in water management.

1-Source of production and income if well managed (MDG 1), support for agricultural production and fight against hunger (MDG 2), retention of dangerous elements to preserve health (MDG 3), protective role with regard to water quality, purifying power and receptacle of sanitation by-products (MDG 6), regulation of rainwater and sources of amenity in urban areas (MDG 11), fertility and agricultural production (MDG 12), climate action through carbon dioxide sequestration (MDG 13), support and habitat for terrestrial life (MDG 15)

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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