From 26-27.11.2014 in the Palace of Nations UNECE in Geneva, Switzerland held 7 th meeting of the Working Group on Water and Health, within the Protocol on Water and Health, organized by the World Health Organization for Europe (WHO) and the Economic Commission for Europe at the United Nations (UNECE).

The meeting was attended by 24 member countries of the European region with 63 participants from Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarussia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Georgia, Armenia, Estonia, France, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Macedonia, Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Montenegro and Switzerland, as well as WHO and UNECE, WHO CC Bonn, UNESCO / ICES, Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment, Earth justice, Eco-TIRAS, ICFER, International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance, Journalists for Human Rights, National Water Partnership From Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, ICEL, MAMA-86, WECF, Medical Academy of Kyrgyz Republic and University of California-Berkeley. Macedonia was represented by prof. Dr. Michael Kocubovski from the Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Macedonia, National Focal Point for the Protocol on Water and Health.

Prof.. Dr. Michael Kocubovski actively participated in the work of the meeting.

11/26/2014 The meeting began with a choice of chairman Mr. Kjetil Tveitan from Norway. Unanimously it was adopted the agenda of the meeting. The report on the progress in the process of ratification of the Protocol on Water and Health emphasized that 26 countries have signed the protocol and three countries (among them, the Republic of Macedonia) said they plan to do the same thing during 2015.

Establishing goals, implementation of measures and reporting within the protocol was discussed by presenting findings from national workshops in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, in order to promote reporting.

The progress in water supply, sanitation and hygiene, was presented by Mrs. Enke Overcoat from WHO, Bonn Office for Health Environment for Europe.

 It was highlighted that 12 countries of Europe participated in the report GLAAS (Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water ) and between them was the Republic of Macedonia, which was successfully evaluated. The report emphasized that worldwide WASH (Water, sanitation and hygiene) are not sufficiently funded to advance state of water supply, sanitation and hygiene, with especially emphasis in schools. Thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Health, Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Macedonia, the Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning and the Ministry of Local Government, the situation in the Republic of Macedonia with WASH is relatively good with planning promotion activities in primary schools (planned in the National program for public Health 2015).

About the prevention and reduction of water-related diseases was shown a particular interest from the participants in the meeting. It was pointed to the need for training for better oversight of diseases originating from water. Macedonia has already implemented and improved supervision and training was conducted to strengthen oversight.

The situation with small water supplies and sanitation was elaborated, with a review of best practices for improving the situation. Intersectoral collaboration was noted as a need to improve the management. Prepared a draft version of the document “Small water supply and sanitation in the WHO European Region: best practices for decision-making.”

WHO / UNECE elaborated for the safe and efficient management of the water supply and sanitation. It was also presented the WHO Guidelines “Plan for water safety: a field guide for improving the safety of drinking water in small communities.” WECF prepared compendium to allow small communities to improve the planning of water supply and sanitation, as well as to assess the quality of facilities for sanitation. Compendium was prepared under the project “Safety Plans for water supply and sanitation in rural areas of Romania and Macedonia” financed by the German Environmental Foundation.

France elaborated on equal access to water and sanitation. In context of the subject , it was prepared and elaborated the Document for ranking equal approach: supporting the policy process for achieving the human right to water and sanitation.

UNECE discussed about the assistance in supporting the implementation of national integrated water resources management and water supply and sanitation.

The Chairman of the Conciliation Committee elaborated on the procedure for reporting, in accordance with the Protocol on Water and Health and EU legislation.

Also, it was discussed about the implementation aspects of the work program for the period 2014-2016. The programme was unanimously adopted.