The most challenging issues in the Caucasus are poor water supplies and sanitation, degradation of ecosystems, floods and, in some areas, water scarcity. In Central Asia the key challenges are degradation of ecosystems and increasing water deficiency. Transboundary issues are common to all CACENA countries.
The Central Asia and Caucasus region (CACENA) has two sub-regions: the Southern Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia), and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). Most of the region lies in arid and semi-arid zones and agriculture accounts for 86% of water use.
Solving inter-state water resources issues
GWP CACENA is well-established in the region, helping solve difficult inter-state water resources issues and assisting countries to develop an integrated water resources management approach in policies and practices. This means encouraging public involvement in decision-making and political will for cooperation, and supporting practical activities such as capacity building at local level through knowledge management and communication.
The common denominator for all these activities is the neutral, multi-stakeholder platform that GWP Central Asia and Caucasus provides. This platform has grown in significance.
Advocating for higher ranking of regional water resources in policies
In the current strategy period (2009-2013), GWP Central Asia and Caucasus is advocating for regional water resources to be ranked higher on policy agendas to address the combined challenges of socioeconomic development and climate change. The focus is on helping countries sustain cooperation around water by bringing key sectors, regional and international actors together to boost cooperation.
Setting up dialogues
In 2010-2011 the focus will be on setting up dialogues. To do this GWP Central Asia and Caucasus will work with, for example, the EC International Fund for the Aral Sea (IFAS), European Union, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Finland, Asia Pacific Water Forum (APWF), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The dialogues will aim to boost cooperation between countries and stakeholders on transboundary issues, climate change adaptation, drinking water supply and sanitation, and IWRM. Then, in 2012-2013, GWP Central Asia and Caucasus will focus on helping countries implement the measures agreed through the dialogues.