Inland waters was adopted as a CBD thematic area at the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bratislava, Slovakia. The Convention's inland waters programme promotes the ecosystem approach, including integrated watershed management, as the best way to reconcile competing demands for dwindling supplies of inland waters. It is essential that the maintenance of biodiversity is seen as a critical demand for freshwater use and managed in coordination with other demands. The programme identifies the actions that Parties need to carry out to halt the trend of biodiversity loss, including monitoring, assessment and evaluation of biological diversity of inland water ecosystems, conducting environmental impact assessments of water development projects, development of pollution prevention strategies, choosing and using appropriate technology, and promoting transboundary cooperation, ecosystem-based management and the involvement of local and indigenous communities at all appropriate levels.
The programme of work on biological diversity of inland water ecosystems integrates with other work programmes and cross-cutting issues, particularly as freshwater is the major link between many different ecosystems and issues. It also promotes cooperation with other conventions and organizations through Joint Work Plans, in particular the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Convention on Migratory Species