International Conference on Hydropower Impacts Held in Dniester River Basin

International Conference on Hydropower Impacts Held in Dniester River Basin

Conference Proceedings Download here

On October 8-9, 2019, the International Association of River Keepers “Eco-TIRAS” in partnership with the Institute of Zoology and in collaboration with the Faculty of Natural Geography of the Pridnestrovian State University named after TG Shevchenko organized a conference with international participation “The Impact of Hydropower on River Ecosystems”.

Conference Agenda download here.

Recommendations adopted by the Conference:

The conference was attended by 120 scientists, practitioners and students from Pridnestrovie, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, Sweden and the Russian Federation. The reports presented at the conference examined various aspects of the relationship between hydro-construction and river ecosystems, the impact on ecosystem services, the effects of climate change on the water regime, the conservation of biological and landscape diversity in the Dniester River basin, including the conservation of rare and endangered species of plants and animals, factors affecting the state of phyto- and zoocenoses of the Dniester basin, the state of near-water and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as the introduction of new sewage technologies, environmental education and upbringing, education for sustainable development, public participation in the development and practical implementation of measures for the ecological rehabilitation of rivers, as well as the sustainable conservation of their ecosystems.

According to the results of the discussions the Conference:

1. Draws the attention of the governments of the countries of the region to the serious degradation of river ecosystems, their continued pollution, and as a result, a steady trend towards further losses of aquatic, near-water and terrestrial biodiversity and a decrease in the capacity to provide ecosystem services, which is of concern to the scientific community and the general public.

2. Considers that an important component in ensuring the sustainable development of the Dniester basin is the suspension of degradation processes and the restoration of historically formed landscapes, forests and forest stands, steppe plots, water protection and protection zones, as elements of ecosystems that are valuable not only from the point of view of biodiversity conservation, but also playing an important role in adapting to climate change and preserving small rivers.

3. Notes the key role in the ongoing changes in the hydrological regime of the rivers of the region due to hydro construction and the need to take into account the needs of river ecosystems in the water to ensure that they provide the necessary ecosystem services, and calls on the governments of the Dniester River basin to ensure the best possible way to manage hydraulic structures to minimize damage to the underlying ecosystems of the basin, and draws attention to the important role that the transboudary river basin commissions should play.

4. Welcomes the decision of Ukrainian hydropower managers to declare a temporary moratorium on the construction of a cascade of 6 hydroelectric power plants on the Upper Dniester and calls on Ukraine to abandon this intention in the future by adopting an appropriate political decision.

5. Draws attention to the importance of the principle “polluter pays” and the need to develop specific compensation measures to preserve biodiversity and reduce environmental losses during hydropower facilities exploitation.

6. Draws attention to the need to harmonize and unify the approaches of the countries of the Dniester basin to regulate industrial and recreational fishing in the Lower Dniester basin and calls for, in connection with this problem, the provisions of Appendix V of the Basin Treaty.

7. Draws the attention of the Dniester River basin countries to the need for a transition to integrated flood management, the use of integrated solutions in water management that take into account ecosystem services and support them.

8. Recommends that the countries of the Dniester basin expand the network of gauging monitoring stations for the hydrological, temperature and hydrochemical regimes of the river and ensure the free availability of information received online.

9. Notes the inadmissibility of the economic development of a few natural areas, including those which do not have a conservation status, such as the “Dikul” wetland landscape, and offers to make them part of the nature protected fund.

10. Recommends that Ukraine expedite the development and aproval of a national management plan for the Dniester River Basin until 2023.

11. Draws attention to the importance of preserving the region’s small rivers and preventing their excessive regulation by numerous dams and ponds, leading to their degradation and death.

12. Welcomes the successful start of the activities of the Commission for the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Dniester River Basin and regrets concerning the lack of representatives of Pridnestrovie in the Commission, including in its working groups, which will create problems in fulfilling its assigned tasks. We draw the attention of the governments of the basin countries to the fact that the issue of preservation and sustainable development of the Dniester River basin can and should become a factor of integration on the principles of trust of the entire region.

13. Recognizes and welcomes the active involvement of non-governmental organizations, specialists and scientists of Pridnestrovie in regional cooperation on the problems of the Dniester River basin, including within the framework of the UNDP Moldova Environmental Platform, supported by the European Union, and notes its high effectiveness.

14. Welcomes the results of international projects implemented in the Dniester River basin by international organizations (OSCE, UNECE, European Commission, UNDP, Global Environment Facility, Austrian and Swiss Development Agencies, etc.) and calls for further promotion of international participation and cooperation in the field of ecology and environmental protection.

15. Welcomes the start of a new international project BSB165 on the development of an international monitoring system for the impact of hydropower plants on the Black Sea rivers and its first results in the framework of the EU Regional Operational Program for the Black Sea.

16. Expresses appreciation to its main sponsor – the European Union under the BSB165 project and to the co-sponsor – the GEF Dniester project (UNDP, OSCE, UNECE), as well as the co-organizers – the International Association of River Keepers “Eco-TIRAS”, the Institute of Zoology and the Faculty of Natural Geography Transnistrian State University named after T.G.Shevchenko for the opportunity to effectively discuss the issues of preserving the ecosystems of the rivers of the region in connection with hydropower, climate change and other impacts.

17. The Conference proposes to present current Recommendations to the Governments of the riparian States of the region.

Adopted on October 9, 2019, Tiraspol