ROME, 29 November 2012 – Representatives of Moldova and Ukraine signed a treaty today in Rome on the sustainable management of the Dniestr/Nistru river basin. The agreement was facilitated by the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC), a joint initiative of the OSCE, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Environment Programme.

The signing ceremony was held in the Italian Parliament on the margins of an UNECE meeting.

"The OSCE, in co-operation with the UNECE, has been working intensively in all OSCE sub-regions on water management issues with the aim of fostering regional and sub-regional co-operation," said President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Riccardo Migliori speaking on behalf of the OSCE.

"I believe that signing the Treaty is a qualitatively new step in co-operation between the Governments of Moldova and Ukraine which will bring management of the Dniestr/Nistru river basin to a higher level and in line with modern international standards."

The treaty provides principles and a framework for co-operation on the prevention and control of water pollution, water flow regulation, conservation of biodiversity and protection of the Black Sea environment. It also addresses the monitoring of data exchange, public participation and co-operation in emergency situations.

The agreement significantly broadens existing co-operation arrangements to cover the entire river basin and all sectors important for the management and protection of the shared waters.

In addition to supplying drinking water for a large part of the basin, the 1,362-kilometre-long Dniestr/Nistru river generates hydropower and provides fish stocks. Assessments carried out by ENVSEC in recent years have identified severe water quality problems, declining biodiversity and deteriorating ecosystems along the river.