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Summary of the High - Level Ministerial Conference on Transboundary Freshwater


The High-level Ministerial Conference on Strengthening Transboundary Freshwater Governance - the Environmental Sustainability Challenge - took place in Bangkok, Thailand from 20-22 May 2009. The conference, organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand, sought to provide an arena for high-level policy makers and other key stakeholders to discuss concrete experiences, priorities, ideas and initiatives to achieve a comprehensive global approach for delivering agreed actions for strengthening freshwater governance at transboundary level. The conference also aimed at developing political and financial support for reform.

The event began on Wednesday morning, 20 May, with the Technical segment opening session hosted by Mr. Bakary Kante, Director of the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions of UNEP and Dr. Saksit Tridech, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand. River Basin Organization representatives, UN Agencies, non-governmental organizations, and scientists met throughout the day to discuss the following key aspects of transboundary freshwater governance:

  • Transboundary Freshwater Governance and the Environment in the Context of Sustainable Development
  • Environmental Dimension of Transboundary Freshwater Governance
  • Transboundary Freshwater Governance and Integrated Water Resources Management  (IWRM)
  • Climate Change and Transboundary Freshwater Governance
  • The Technical segment ended on Thursday 21 May with the adoption of the “Recommendations for Action” to the High-level Ministerial Segment formulated collectively by all the participants.

The Ministerial segment opening session was hosted by Thailand’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, H.E. Suwit Khunkitti, and Thailand’s Prime Minister, H.E. Abhisit Vejjajiva, who gave a key note address. The opening session was followed by a dialogue between the Ministers on the basis of the Recommendations from the Technical segment. During the Ministerial segment the UNEP Report “Freshwater Under Threat: South East Asia Vulnerability Assessment” was launched.

At the close of the Ministerial segment, on Friday 22 May, the High-level Ministerial segment adopted the Bangkok Plan of Action, which recommended actions to strengthen governance of transboundary freshwater resources. Among other points, the Plan of Action states that UNEP will provide a regular forum and assistance for basin organizations with the first forum to be convened in Thailand in 2011. The ministerial segment of the conference also raised the political profile of transboundary freshwater governance and provided policy guidance to addressing the important transboundary environmental issues.

Find below the electronic versions of the Conference’s documents, including outcomes, agenda, speeches, background papers, and presentations in English, Spanish and French.

Agenda for Freshwater Governance Conference

English ||   Français ||   Español 

Background Documents

Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts

English  ||    Français   ||    Español

Improving Transboundary Water Governance through the Application of Integrated Water Resources Management

English ||  Français ||  Español

The Environmental Dimension of Transboundary Freshwater Governance and Management

English  ||    Français   ||    Español

Overview of Transboundary Freshwater Governance and the Environment



Changing the Discourse: Climate Change and Transboundary Waters

Improving Transboundary Water Governance through the Application of Integrated Water Resources Management

Intergrated Basin Flow Assessment

Intergovernmental Coordinating Coomittee For for The La Plata Basin CIC

Lake Victoria Basin Best Practices

Mekong Transboundary Freshwater Governance

Thailand Country Climate Change Perspective

Transboundary AQUIFERS: Environmental Dimension - Example from the Dinaric Karst in the Balkan Region

Transboundary Freshwater Governance and the Environment - An Overview

UNESCO Governance of Transboundary AQUIFERS

UNESCO Conference on Strenthening Transboundary Freshwater Governance

Vulnerability Assessment of Freshwater Resources to Environmental Change

Titicaca - Climate Change (Spanish)

Titicaca - Water Governance (Spanish)

UNESCO Internationally Shared (transboundary) Aquifer Resources Management

Further Resources