TERMS OF REFERENCE for a consultant to develop an outline of the Sava adaptation strategy


Objectives and Targets (Specific Functions of Consultant)


The four riparian countries of the Sava River Basin (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia) ratified the Framework Agreement on the Sava River Basin (FASRB) as a unique international agreement, which integrated many aspects of water resources management and established the International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC) for its implementation of the FASRB.


According to the FASRB, Article 12, “The Parties agree to develop the joint and/or integrated Plan on the management of the water resources of the Sava River Basin and to cooperate on its preparatory activities”. In the last 10 years, the Parties have cooperated in development of many plans and programmes covering navigation, water management, flood protection etc.


Regarding the climate change and following the implementation of the pilot project “Building the link between flood risk management planning and climate change assessment in the Sava River Basin” (finalized in 2013), three projects for the Sava River Basin have already been implemented:

Project Water – Food – Energy – Ecosystems Nexus Assessment in the Sava River Basin, implemented within the Programme of Work for 2013–2015 under the UNECE Water Convention (finalized in 2015).

Danube Water Nexus Project – Sava Case Study, implemented by the EC Joint Research Center (finalized in 2016).

Project Water and Climate Adaptation Plan for the Sava River Basin (WATCAP), implemented by World Bank (finalized in 2015).


The climate change has also been addressed in the 1st Sava River Basin Management Plan where was noted that the Sava countries are at different stages of preparing, developing and implementing national climate change adaptation strategies. The extent of development depends on the magnitude and nature of the observed impacts, assessments of current and future vulnerability and the capacity for adaptation. As a priority in dealing with climate, a set of guiding principles was proposed to be developed to assist Sava River Basin managers to establish a strategy for building adaptive capacity to manage the Sava River Basin regarding climate change, such as:

Consideration of changes in climate change risk, due to not achieving the EU WFD objectives (e.g. good status of water bodies) as a consequence of the identified pressures (e.g. organic pollution);

Looking for opportunities in the monitoring programmes, and in ongoing and future projects, which would support decisions on these issues in the second RBM planning cycle to improve the understanding of climate change trends.


After adoption of the 1st Sava RBM Plan, the Parties to the FASRB entered into the second cycle of RBM planning according to the EU WFD requirements.


Although these comprehensive and recent studies provide relevant analysis and recommendations in order to tackle climate impacts in the coming decades, many gaps still exist, given that:

So far, a number of sectors have not been addressed in the climate change context at all (e.g. forestry, fishery, aquaculture, spatial and urban planning, infrastructure development, tourism, health, nature conservation, nature conservation).

For the sectors that have been considered so far (i.e. water management, flood protection, navigation, hydropower use, agriculture), potential adaptation measures have been identified and recommended, however these measures have to be elaborated into more details, so as to allow for prioritization and implementation of basin relevant measures.


The next step is to integrate climate change adaptation into the planning process of the Sava transboundary basin level. Therefore, the main conclusions of the existing studies, including climate change adaptation strategies/policies at country level, need to be embedded in a regional strategy document targeted at policymakers and practitioners of the 5 countries in order to provide a common orientation for actions.


In addition, the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) developed a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in 2012 and is currently revising it.


Finally, there is a need to ensure full consistency between work being done at the basin and national levels.


The specific objectives of this assignment are:

To develop an outline of the climate change adaptation strategy for the transboundary Sava River.

To propose next steps for the development of the full strategy and potential pilot priority measures for implementation.

A good interaction with national consultants in charge of analyzing national climate adaptation strategies is expected under the ISRBC Secretariat coordination.


The consultant will be contracted by UNECE according to United Nations rules and procedures.


Tangible and measurable outputs of the work assignment


Under the guidance of the ECE secretariat, the consultant is required to undertake the following tasks in the period covered under this contract:



Task 1: Analyze and review reports prepared by country consultants (five countries) summarizing climate change adaptation priorities at country level. Bring in lessons learned with developing transboundary adaptation strategies in other regions (eg. Danube basin, Dniester and Neman rivers etc.)

Task 2: Based on country reports and inputs received during expert meetings as well as taking into account similar strategies developed in other transboundary basins worldwide, prepare an outline of the climate change adaptation strategy for the transboundary Sava River Basin and a cost estimate for the next steps development of the full strategy to facilitate international funds raising (including description of priority areas, underlying principles, synergies, major indicators and proposal for priority adaptation measures to be incorporated into the Sava RBMP). Revise the outline based on feedback received.

Task 3: Participate in the kick-off meeting of the project (mid-July 2017), present draft outline of the transboundary Sava River Basin adaptation strategy at the RBMP Expert Group (early September 2017) and in the final workshop (October 2017).