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OECD work and the EU Water Initiative

Water resources management in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asian (EECCA) countries

 

The work of GREEN Action Task Force programme in water sector in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) countries revolves around water quality, water risks management, efficient management of water resources, governance of sustainable finance and investment and water tariffs.

It also provides support to the process of implementation of Integrated Water Resources management principles and the principles of the EU’s Water Framework Directive (WFD) into national legal frameworks and helps local governments to assist in drafting respective strategies, laws and technical regulations to ensure sound management of water resources.

One of the central work areas remains the water-energy-food security nexus approach in implementing policy reforms as most EECCA countries have as a key policy objective achieving food, water, and energy security. Some have included this objective in their National Development Strategies and other strategic documents. However, they face a number of major challenges in achieving it because of weak governance systems, limited awareness, distortions from perverse subsidies and unsustainable investments resulting in a sub-optimal allocation of resources.

Accordingly, following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) OECD focuses its work on coordination between water-energy-food nexus and policies in water sector that demands an integrated approach and full involvement from the beginning. It includes deep economic analysis, screening and mapping, qualitative assessment, focus on trade-offs and risks, data collection and quantitative assessment. This approach contributes to establishment of respective national definitions and indicators, and eventually targets for water, food and energy security, integration thereof into national legal and policy frameworks, provision of statistics for decision-making, support of technological development and innovation, transition to a Green Economy, which aims, among other things, at resource use efficiency and greater policy coherence.

GREEN Action Task Force is stressing the importance of promoting policy coherence in water reforms in order to achieve greater levels of sustainable development in economic, social, environmental and governance areas. Thus, the conducted work focuses on attracting investments, developing new financial strategies, involving various stakeholders and promoting public awareness.

Another part of Green Action Task Force concerns the work on indicators on the performance of water utilities. Indicators are used to assess the availability of water and sewerage services to the public, the technical and financial condition of water and sewerage utilities, economic and environmental aspects of water use. These indicators provide information on utility operations necessary for understanding and controlling deviations in the sector's performance.

Indicators can be grouped as follows: − technical and technological; − economic; − service quality; − service availability to consumers; − environmental.

The indicators enable benchmarking and developing strategies in improving of water utilities performance. Access to comparative information is considered essential to utilities' development by providing utilities themselves and stakeholders (and international donors) with the information they need to fulfil their roles. Currently, water utilities in the EECCA do not have standardised data collection systems and standard indicators, largely due to the disruption of regular reporting following the decentralisation process in the early 1990's.

 

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