Protocol core provisions

The Protocol operates through two core provisions:

1. Setting targets and assessing progress

The Protocol requires Parties to set measurable targets in areas defined by the Protocol’s article 6. These areas cover the entire water cycle and should relate to the provision and performance of water supply and sanitation services, the quality and management of drinking, bathing and waste water, the reduction of water-related disease and the protection and management of water resources.

Each Party shall establish and publish its targets and the dates for achieving them within two years after becoming a Party. Targets should be tailored to the Party’s socioeconomic and environmental conditions, priorities and available resources. Article 7 of the Protocol requires Parties to regularly collect data and assess progress made towards achieving the targets.

Every three years, Parties shall submit a summary report on implementation and progress achieved as well as on remaining gaps and common challenges.

To assist Parties in complying with these obligations, a Task Force on Indicators and Reporting was established in 2007. The Task Force has developed guidelines on setting targets, evaluation of progress and reporting as well as on how to prepare summary reports.

2. Establish surveillance and early-warning systems

Parties agree to establish, improve or maintain comprehensive national and local surveillance and early warning systems to prevent and respond to water-related disease outbreaks and incidents, along with contingency and outbreak response plans. Article 8 of the Protocol requires Parties to establish such surveillance and early warning systems within three years after becoming a Party.

Not all countries in the WHO European Region have the capacity to effectively carry out these central public health functions. Articles 11-14 provide a core pillar of the Protocol in strengthening national surveillance capacities by encouraging mutual assistance and advice between countries in establishing effective surveillance and outbreak detection and response systems.

A dedicated Task Force was established in 2007 to support Parties in their strengthening national surveillance capacities. The Task Force has developed policy and technical guidance on good practices in water-related disease surveillance, including outbreak detection, contingency and response planning.