Central Asia Towards Transboundary IWRM

Posted: 2010-09-01

Key challenges in Central Asia are the degradation of ecosystems and increasing water deficiency. It is a region of scarce water resources, many of which cut across national borders. The intensive use of the limited resources leads to conflicts of interest, making transboundary water resources management crucial to the sustainability of the region’s resources.

A priority for water management has been given to meeting the basic needs of human beings and the economy demand. The end result has been the disaster drainage of the Aral Sea and its coastal zone with occurrence of heavy losses of biodiversity. With the independence of five pre-Soviet states, the management of the Aral Sea Basin has become transboundary, which further complicates it as a mix of environmental, economic and political issues across states.

In 1994, the Aral Sea Basin Program -1 (ASBP-1) was signed by five states as joint efforts towards transboundary management of the Aral Sea Basin. In the end of 2009, an action plan was further approved by the Board of five states to develop ASBP-3, in which IWRM with consideration of interests of all states was identified as the main objective and framework. ASBP-3 will be implemented from 2011 to 2015 as the first phase.

The Central Asian countries now have achieved a consensus on the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management as a solution for the chronic water nuisance in this region. GWP Central Asia and Caucasus is playing an important role in facilitating the process, involving various stakeholders leading to the strengthening of water management organizations in Central Asia through the sustainable capacity building network.

An important element of the water management program ASBP-3 is the establishment of the Central Asian Water Information Base (CAREWIB).It aims at improving the information dissemination in water and environmental sectors in Central Asian countries in order to promote transparency and to foster public support for rational natural resources use. A bibliographic database was developed, and an E-library was built, which includes e-versions of publications, international and national water law documents, international conventions, and other knowledge generated in the region.

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