NATO science programme examines dynamic approach to water management

  • 06 Sep. 2010 - 12 Sep. 2010
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  • Last updated: 08 Sep. 2010 16:21

From 6 to 12 September, a NATO-funded Advanced Study Institute at the Azov Center for Watershed Cooperation in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, aims to develop an integrated and interdisciplinary strategy that secures access to and prevents the degradation of freshwater ecosystems.

A sand bar is exposed by the receding waters of the drought-stricken Rio Solimoes river, one of the two largest tributaries of the Amazon River near the city of Manaquiri, October 9, 2005. The worst drought in more than 40 years is damaging the world's biggest rainforest, plaguing the Amazon basin with wildfires, sickening river dwellers as drinking water sours, and killing freshwater fish by the millions as tributaries dry up. Picture taken October 9, 2005. REUTERS/Rickey Rogers

This event, bringing together almost 80 experts from NATO and partner countries, including Russia, is in line with the overall purpose of the Center: to carry out research, education and coordination functions in sustainable management of water and aquatic resources in the Azov Sea Basin.

Considered by many to be one of the biggest non-military threats to human society, access, or lack of access, to fresh water can limit development and fuel conflicts. River basins are therefore recognized as the most appropriate territorial units for integrated water resource management and sustainable development. But little attention has been paid to the dynamics of the processes involved.

The lectures at this Advanced Study Institute, which is funded by NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme, are focusing on various aspects of environmental security, river rehabilitation and integrated watershed management.

The course syllabus is divided into three modules:

  • scientific foundations (overview of related disciplines, technologies, etc.)
  • legislative, political and institutional concerns (national laws, international conventions, organizations, etc.), and
  • economic and social aspects (education, mass media, etc.)

The Don River basin (the main tributary of the Sea of Azov) will be used as a case study. It is one of the most economically developed and densely populated areas in both Russia and Ukraine, the two countries that share it.

Lecturers from the Central European University, Moscow State University, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the United Nations Environmental Programme and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization are providing both theoretical and practical insight from various disciplines.

For more information, please visit (see “Calendar” for organizers’ contact details).