Project "Regional dialogue and cooperation on water resources management in Central Asia"
BackgroundLong-term economic, political and social stability of Central Asia directly depends on the sustainable management of the region’s shared water resources. The compound water, food and energy crisis of 2008 provided a serious warning as to the urgency of efforts to improve regional water resources management. The growing irregularity of water supply combined with increasing demand for water due to rapid population growth and economic development as well as deterioration of water quality throughout the region constitute a challenge that can only be met through rapid improvement of water governance on the national level and through regional cooperation. To improve the cooperation on the use and protection of water resources, regional institutions as well as the legal framework for cooperation on water need to be strengthened.
The goal of the project “Regional Dialogue and Cooperation on Water Resources Management in Central Asia” is to empower the countries of Central Asia to develop and implement mutually acceptable, long-term solutions to improve cooperation on transboundary water resources. The project is a component of the Programme “Transboundary Water Management in Central Asia” carried out by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ – German International Cooperation) on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office.
In its Phase III the project continues to follow the mandate received from the 2009 Summit of Heads of State of IFAS member countries, when the Presidents of Central Asian countries expressed their readiness to strengthen the institutional and legal frameworks of IFAS so as to improve its efficiency and achieve greater interaction with financial institutions and donors. Phase III further relies on a more detailed mandate to improve the institutional and legal mechanisms for cooperation found in the Third Aral Sea Basin Program approved by the Governments of five IFAS countries. Implementation of Phase III takes full advantage of the experience gained during the implementation of Phase I-II and other UNECE projects in Central Asia, including the EU Water Initiative National Policy Dialogues on IWRM.
The primary aim of the Phase III of the project is to support the Central Asian states in jointly developing practical approaches for sustainable regional water management and to improve capacities of regional institutions responsible for water management.
During the Batumi ministerial conference in 2016 the UNECE Executive Secretary signed together with the Chairman of EC-IFAS a Statement of Intent to support afforestation of the dry Aral Sea bottom.
Planned activities include:
- Support to the preparation and holding of a meeting of ICSD where a Road Map on institutional and legal strengthening is adopted and a decision is taken on modalities and concrete steps for its implementation;
- Support to the preparation and holding of two meetings of the coordination group (web page) on the development of a regional space for water and environmental information;
- Implementation of a capacity building programme in information management for the Scientific and Information Centre of the Inter-State Commission on Sustainable Development (SIC ICSD);
- Support to representatives of Central Asian countries to participate in events organized by the UNECE Water Convention where also separate workshops for Central Asian participants will be organized.
- Informal meeting of Central Asian participants in the Working Group on Integrated Water Resources Management, 23 June 2015, Geneva, Switzerland
- Report on the first meeting of the Coordination Group on Regional Information Space on Water and Environment in Central Asia, 1-2 September, 2015, Almaty, Kazakhstan (English and Russian)
- Report on the second meeting of the Coordination Group on Regional Information Space on Water and Environment in Central Asia, 18-19 February, 2016, Almaty, Kazakhstan (English and Russian)
- Report on the Capacity Building Workshop for the Turkmen IFAS Chairmanship, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 24 – 26 August 2016