National Policy Dialogues (NPDs) on water are the main operational instrument of the European Union Water Initiative (EUWI) component for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA). OECD and UNECE have actively promoted water policy reforms under this Initiative (EUWI) by promoting and initiating sustainable policy reforms that are well adapted to the countries in the region (see also: Ten Years of Water Sector Reform in EECCA, OECD, 2011).
Since 2006 EUWI NPDs have been carried out in the following nine countries:
NPDs are policy platforms where stakeholders meet to advance water policy reforms. NPDs are driven by the demand from the host countries. They are usually chaired by heads of respective government agencies. A variety of stakeholders participate in the meetings, such as ministries and government agencies and institutions, as well as nongovernmental organisations, the business community, parliamentary bodies. Participants also include several international organisations and EU Member States active in water policy reforms in each country.
Gheorghe Constantin, Chair of the EUWI EECCA component,
Discussions at NPD meetings are substantiated by robust analytical work and international best practice. For instance, reviews of water pricing benefit from assessments of affordability and competitiveness impacts of alternative pricing scenarios; development of river basin management plans build on similar experience in European countries.
Officials from EU member state governments and organisations are invited to participate, share experience and demonstrate EU policies and practices. The main outcomes are policy packages, such as legislative acts, national strategies, ministerial orders and plans for implementation. In most cases these apply the principles of the EU water policy. Emphasis is also set on the implementation of previously adopted policies through pilot projects or technical assistance.
NPDs are financially supported by the EC, several EU member states and other donors. They are facilitated by the OECD and UNECE, which contribute on substance and help chairs of NPDs to manage the process.
EECCA countries benefit from the on-going EUWI NPDs in many ways, not least through better cooperation with EU Member States. Improved coordination with donors on water issues helps to increase cost-effectiveness of Official Development Assistance provided by EU Member States as well as other donors. Furthermore, NPDs provide opportunities to transfer best practices and knowledge from EU Member States and a number of international organisations (foremost, the OECD and UNECE) to beneficiary countries.