First Conference on Water Management in the Barents Region

The Subgroup on Water Issues of the Barents Working Group on Environment (WGE) arranged a three day event starting with an International Conference on “Water Resources Management in the Barents Region” in Archangelsk at the end of November 2010. The Conference gathered about 90 participants, including many experts from Norway, Finland and Sweden, and was followed by thematic workshops and discussions for project development.

water_management_river_newsletter.jpgThe Barents region is rich in water resources, however the easy access to clean water, a human right, is still not for everyone”, says Mattias Lindgren, Chair of the Subgroup on Water Issues.

The Barents region also faces yearly challenges with flooding and severe climate conditions. To create a sustainable regional development it is necessary to improve water monitoring and management.

The Barents cooperation can contribute in strengthening the capacity and facilitating investments to make this happen”, Lindgren continues.

At the conference a comprehensive outlook on water issues in the Barents region was given, devoting special attention to the current situation in water management in Archangelsk and other regions in North-West Russia, including the current work on the implementation of the Russian Water Strategy. The follow-up expert workshops gave the possibilities for a general exchange of experiences of the development and implementation of international, EU as well as national legal frameworks for water resource management. It also gave special focus to the exchange of experiences in the building of sustainable urban water systems, improved water monitoring and enhanced treatment of waste and rain water. The programme also included study visits to waste water treatment plants and relevant water authorities.

At the third day of the meetings, the Subgroup on Water Issues together with the Regional Working Group on Environment and representatives from Archangelsk, discussed the development of concrete projects and follow-up activities. Importantly, activities will aim at being supportive to strengthen the implementation of the UNECE Protocol on Water and Health in the Russian Federation, as well as the work of the implementation of the Russian Water Strategy. Already, follow-up activities in spring 2011, including study visits and exchange of experts, are planned for. Also in June 2011, a Conference on Climate Change and Water Management will be held in Archangelsk, arranged under the lead of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The event was arranged in close cooperation with the Archangelsk Region Government and with the support from the Declaration of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council Ministers of Environment (Tromsö, 2010). 

More information about the Subgroup on Water Issues:

Mr. Mattias Lindgren
Chair Subgroup on Water Issues, BEAC Working Group on Environment