International dialogue on the protection of the Nemunas River Basin2014-06-19
The measures that should be taken in order to ensure that climate change has the least possible impact on the water resources in the Nemunas River Basin are discussed by the participants of the international conference, which has started at the Ministry of Environment today. This conference is the closing event of the pilot project on river basin management and adaptation to climate change in the Nemunas River basin under the UN Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes.
The conference is attended by representatives, scientists and experts from the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the European Commission, Lithuanian, Belorussian and Russian governmental and municipal institutions and non-governmental organisations. They exchange ideas on climate change and discuss new opportunities for cooperation.
The increasing impact of climate change has become a great concern for the international community. It is multiple and comprises both natural systems and the social sphere. Water resources, the fluctuation of quantitative and qualitative indicators of which reflects changes in the climate system, are not an exception.
The ecological condition of the Nemunas River Basin is very important for Lithuania because it covers approx. 72% of the country’s territory. As Dalius Krinickas, Director of the Water Department of the Ministry of Environment, said, in terms of ecosystem management any change in the Nemunas River Basin – be it hydrological or related to climate change, pollution or fish migration – has negative consequences.
It is impossible to resolve problems of climate change and transboundary waters through individual countries efforts. Therefore, it is important that the international community complies with the UN Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, which obliges to prevent, restrict and reduce transboundary pollution and to manage and protect water resources in a sustainable manner. Taking into consideration these objectives, the countries sharing the Nemunas River Basin have to agree on its protection and sustainable use of its resources, implement common environmental projects, and exchange information and experience.
Implementing this project, the Lithuanian and Belorussian scientists modelled the potential impact of climate change on the Nemunas River Basin. The main results of the project have been discussed at the conference today. They are available online at: https://www2.unece.org/ehlm/platform/display/ClimateChange/Neman+project+conference+Vilnius+19+june+2014.
Today, the presentations on national climate change adaptation policies of our country and Belarus, the ongoing restructuring of the Belorussian water management policy, and the Lithuanian river basin district management plans and their updates have been delivered as well.
Tomorrow, the conference participants will discuss the possibilities of extending the project on climate change adaptation in the Nemunas River Basin and the international dialogue on this issue.
Public Information Division
19 June 2014