Francesca Bernardini is a chemical engineer by training and has been working in UN multilateral processes for 20 years. She was until July 2019 the Secretary of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (Water Convention) and the co-Secretary of the Protocol on Water and Health.
As secretary of the two instruments serviced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, she has promoted the sustainable management of water resources to support human health, development, peace and regional integration. Groundwater issues have been prominent in the work under the two instruments during her tenure.
In 2007 and 2011, she supported the assessment of transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwaters in the pan-European region, which provided an overview of the pressures and status of transboundary aquifers, highlighting the lack of information in many regions.
She supported the development and adoption in 2012 of the Model Provisions on Transboundary Groundwaters. These aim to strengthen cooperation on transboundary groundwaters and are highly relevant to SDG indicator 6.5.2 on transboundary water cooperation. Ms. Bernardini’s co-authored report in 2018 on progress in achieving indicator 6.5.2 highlighted the need to accelerate progress in strengthening legal and institutional frameworks for the joint management and use of transboundary groundwaters if SDG 6 is to be achieved by 2030.
We are pleased to acknowledge Francesca Bernadini’s contribution to the enhancement of policy and governance for groundwater protection worldwide. In addition, the Award recognises the role of the rest of the Secretariat of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, hosted by UNECE.