The Twelfth Meeting of the Task Force on Target Setting and Reporting under the Protocol on Water and Health of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) - Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization (WHO) took place on November 17, 2021.

The meeting was organized to discuss the future Program of Work of the Protocol for 2023-25, review the progress of countries in meeting the targets under the Protocol, launch the fifth reporting cycle under the Protocol and discuss the necessary preparations in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the COVID-19  pandemic.

The meeting was attended by over 50 people, including representatives of government agencies responsible for health, water management and the development of transboundary cooperation in the UNECE region, experts involved in these areas and representatives of international organizations.

At the opening of the meeting, a welcoming speech was made by the Chairperson of the meeting, Ms. Avilo Okieng Pernet. She highlighted the main objectives of the meeting, as well as the objectives and milestones for reporting to the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP6), scheduled to be held in Geneva from 16 to 18 November 2022.

Presentations at the meeting were made by Ms Elena Costa, Portugal, Mr Oliver Schmoll, WHO, Mr Frederico Propenzi, UN - Water, Ms Shini Enchtsetag, WHO and Mr Avilo Okieng Pernet, Switzerland. Delegates highlighted the progress made in 2021 in setting and revising targets under the Protocol. Presentations focused on, which targets have been set, including targets related to COVID-19, and how these targets relate to WHO guidelines and recommendations, relevant EU Directives and/or targets for sustainable development. Delegates also shared information on the progress made towards achieving their targets and their respective impact at the national level.

Further, the Task Force discussed the preparatory activities and the agenda for the fifth reporting cycle under the Protocol in accordance with its article 7, which will take place prior to the start of MOP6. In particular, delegates reviewed the reporting guidelines and the various requirements and sections of the reporting template to make the process more useful for communicating current and new challenges at the national level, and to demonstrate progress and best practices. After that, the delegates spoke about their plans for the future, focusing separately on those events that could not be carried out. As a result of the meeting, an integrative dialogue took place, where those who wished could ask their questions of the delegates. The discussion centered on challenges related to the implementation of the Protocol, the existing thematic structure of the current work program, and a proposal for a future work program.

Overall, the Task Force meeting provided an opportunity to discuss current challenges in implementing the Protocol and prioritize the next work program to improve public health preparedness, response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.