Establishing Mechanisms for Integrated Management of Land and Water Resources in the Tisza River Basin


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Project Title

Establishment of Mechanisms for Integrated Land and Water Management in the Tisza River Basin


GEF, UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre (Implementing Agency), UNOPS (Executing Agency)


EU (DG Environment), UNEP (Carpathian Convention Secretariat), ICPDR,


Tisza River Basin (Hungary, Romania, Serbia & Montenegro, Slovak Republic, Ukraine)

Project Number



Financing (US $)

Total: 1,950,000 (GEF 1,000,000; Governments 400,000; EU 300,000; UNDP 200,000; UNEP 50,000)


GEF-MSP Proposal submitted for GEF-approval (Feb 06)


(not yet)


The Tisza river system is an internationally significant river system, which is significantly degraded and continues to be threatened. The river and its tributaries flow from the Carpathian Mountains and a 157,200 square kilometer river basin which is home to some 14 million people. It begins in the territories of Ukraine with the White and Black Tisza. This river with its tributaries is the only water source for Transcarpathia region of Ukraine since 98% of its territory belongs to the Upper Tisza catchment area. It also flows from Romania and Slovakia via number of smaller tributaries fed by mountain streams and flows into the Great Plain of eastern Hungary and then south into Serbia and Montenegro where it joins the Danube. This river is the main water source for Hungary, a significant source for Serbia and Montenegro and an important source for western Romania and southern Slovakia. The floodplains of the river extend to some 30 thousand square kilometer, the majority of which can be found in the Hungarian Great Plain and the adjoining plains in Western Romania and Serbia.

The Tisza River Basin is in need of a coordinated regional effort to develop harmonized national and regional policies for integrated land and water management. This project will address the issues of flooding, pollution, loss of biodiversity, adaptation to climate change, and the need for sustainable development in the Tisza River Basin. The project Establishment of Mechanisms for Integrated Land and Water Management in the Tisza River basin will address these issues through a scientifically based Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) which will inform the development of coordinated National Action Plans (NAPs) which support a regional Strategic Action Programme (SAP). The NAPs and SAP will establish regional and national priorities and coordinate policies throughout the region. Implementation and execution of small scale pilot projects will support these efforts towards environmental governance reform strategies and serve as a learning experience for other larger scale pilot projects to be conducted as the Strategic Action Programme is implemented.

This project will build on what has already been achieved through the EU accession process and the EU and GEF support of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) in particular the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), with regard to the existing ad hoc Tisza Group of the ICPDR and the Tisza Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) "Towards a River Basin Management Plan for the Tisza River supporting sustainable development of the region" signed by all riparian countries in 2004. It will also build upon the numerous UNDP sustainable development initiatives and GEF biodiversity projects in the basin, and it will link with activities of the newly established interim secretariat of the Carpathian Convention. It will take the concept of Integrated River Basin Management beyond the water sector and co-ordinate the development, management and conservation of land and water resources, and embed rather than retrofit conservation and environmental policy into the national and regional planning framework.

A major product will be the development of a regionally owned Strategic Action Programme, which will to the extent possible be streamlined with an EU River Basin Management Plan for the Tisza, meeting the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, and a Flood Prevention and Risk Management Strategy, while at the same time addressing wider sustainability issues in the water, agriculture, energy, industry and navigation sectors, highlighted by the work of the UNDP in their Tisza Basin Sustainable Development Strategy. Thus the project will provide a bridge between these on-going initiatives in a single regionally owned and nationally coordinated planning document which will allow for deepening and widening the planning scope.

Lessons Learned

too early..


Juerg Staudenmann, UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre

See Also

Integrated management of and institutional framework for pasturelands

Rapid Environmental Assessment of the Tisza River Basin


 Tisza-MSP final 13Feb06 no map.doc

 TiszaSubBasin Map ICPDR.pdf

 Tisza draft budget 02-02-06-final.xls

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