RFSD Peer learning table on SDG 6

Water for Cooperation: reinforce collaboration among countries and sectors for peace and sustainable development

Thank you, Chair.

My name is Svitlana Slesarenok, Black Sea Women’s Club, Ukraine.

I speak on behalf of the Regional Civil Society.

In the last 25 years, we have been working together with NGOs from Ukraine, and Moldova, on transboundary cooperation for the river Dniester basin. It is very much thanks to our civil society engagement, that we now have a legal treaty for the Dniester River transboundary cooperation between Moldova and Ukraine. This treaty is a really good practice. We as civil society are official members of the Dniester River Commission, we have seats in the commission, and this is unique.

Our role is to engage the local people and communities in protecting their tributary waters and wetlands. One way we do so is through our Children’s art competition, which is called the “Colours of the Dniester”. The contest started in 2009. During the last 15 years, we had many thousands of participants and hundreds of involved schools.

Now Odessa, which has its alone drinking water supply from the Dniester River delta, is under permanent missile attacks. I hope that the war will finish soon so that we can host the 15th anniversary of the contest. This contest is a very good platform for communication with other stakeholders. Especial I like to thank the OSCE which has been supporting many years this contest.

Yes, young people can play an incredible role in the Dniester River basin: For example, together with NGOs, they create Water Safety Plans for their communities.

They take the map of their villages or their communities and indicate on this map all wells, springs, places of illegal waste dumping, and other sources of water pollution. Then they test the water in the wells by using paper sticks for measuring the nitrate pollution and indicate the results on the map. These maps Youth puts on the public spaces. Usually, such maps attract a lot of attention, discussions, and even public scandals and provoke huge changes and actions from local authorities and common people.

Also, NGOs work on integrating into everyday life nature-based and nature-oriented solutions, such as Dry Urinal diverting toilets. These toilets don’t need sewage systems, and the fecal and urinal materials can be separated due to their construction. After some time, the fecal and urinal materials can be safely used on the field or in the gardens.

Ukrainian and Moldavian NGOs have built in the Dniester River basin more than 60 schools and hundreds of individual Dry urinal diverting toilets.

We are glad that we can share these practices with you here, as well as last week at the global UN Water Conference in New York.

Thank you.