Fourth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health
14–16 November 2016, Geneva, Switzerland
The fourth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes presents an important milestone in moving forward the water and health agenda in the WHO European Region.
The Protocol on Water and Health has supported remarkable progress in water, sanitation and health in recent years in the pan-European region. Between 2010 and 2015, 39 million people gained access to piped water on premises and 17 million people to basic sanitation. The annual number of deaths from diarrhoeal diseases attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene also dropped between 2002 and 2012, from 15 000 to 5000.
However, there is still progress to be made. Of the 912 million people living in the region, in 2015 more than 62 million lacked access to an adequate sanitation facility and 14 million did not use a basic drinking water source.
The meeting will reflect on how the Protocol can promote and operationalize the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at national levels, specifically Goal 6, “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”, and relevant targets under Goal 3, “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.
- Review progress and main achievements in water, sanitation and health in the Region.
- Adopt an ambitious programme of work for the period 2017–2019, aimed at further addressing the main challenges related to water, sanitation and health in the Region.
- Increase attention in areas of strategic importance, namely water, sanitation and hygiene in schools and health care facilities; safe sanitation and wastewater reuse; and increasing resilience to climate change.
The Protocol on Water and Health is the first and only international legal agreement addressing the protection of human health and well-being by linking sustainable water management and the prevention, control and reduction of water-related diseases. The Protocol was adopted at the Third Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health (London, 1999). WHO/Europe and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe jointly provide secretariat functions to the Protocol.
Safe and sustainable water and sanitation management is among the priority themes at the upcoming Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health. The Protocol features as the prime instrument in the pan-European region to implement global and regional commitments in the water, sanitation and health domain.