Regional high-level conference in Almaty

On 27-28 May 2014 in Almaty, Kazakhstan there was held the Regional Conference "Prospects of water resources management in Central Asia: From the river basin approach to regional cooperation".

This event was summarizing two regional programs: the project "Water management and river basin organizations in Central Asia » (WMBOCA), funded by the European Union, and the second phase of the Programme "Transboundary Water Management in Central Asia", supported by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany.

 The purpose of the meeting was to share knowledge and experience gained in the implementation of these programs, as well as identify future directions for cooperation on the sustainable management of water resources in Central Asia, in particular in the framework of the proposed third phase (2015-2017) of the program the German Foreign Ministry .

At the meeting at the highest level were presented water authorities of Central Asian countries, regional organizations (EC IFAS , ICWC, CAREC) and international partners (GIZ, EU, UNECE, SDC, UN Centre for Preventive Diplomacy, GWP CACENA and others). The conference was attended by Vadim Sokolov, Regional Coordinator GWP CACENA.

On the first day of the meeting there were discussed the lessons from the river basin planning in the countries of Central Asia, with a focus on the Aral-Syrdarya basin in Kazakhstan, the Murghab River Basin in Turkmenistan, Padshaota basin in Uzbekistan and the Isfara river shared by Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In particular, they highlighted details of results on the creation of basin councils and preparation of basin plans.
Among the positive aspects of the activities carried out with the support from the German Foreign Ministry and the European Union, noted the following:

  • Maximum involvement of local professionals to gain ownership of introducing modifications;
  • Coordination of the various donors at the basin level, where the main work was carried out, to avoid duplication and distribution of responsibility for the final result ;
  • The rejection of the introduction of new solutions in favor of the development of specific traditional solutions for river basin by the concerned parties.
    Representatives of countries and regional organizations have the opportunity to share their ideas on future directions of cooperation that require support from development partners. In particular, the acting EC IFAS Chairman, Mr. Khamrayev noted the need to support the activities of the executive bodies of IFAS; further strengthening of human resources and improve information support decision-making in the field of water resources management at the national, basin and regional levels; continued work on the safety of hydraulic structures. Chairman of the Committee for Water Resources of Kazakhstan Mr. Abishev identified the following priority areas: the creation of an information system and monitoring of water quality; Development forecasts for future development based on modeling; continued work on regional arrangements; development of long-term vision of water and energy resources in the region. Director General of the Department of Water Resources and Land Reclamation of the Kyrgyz Republic Mr. Tashtanaliev noted the need to continue work under the agreement between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on transboundary rivers. Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Resources of Tajikistan Mr. Rakhimov outlined the following priority areas: strengthening the capacity of regional institutions, including the Secretariat of ICWC; bringing to an agreement between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on transboundary rivers; implementation of national projects for small hydroelectric power stations, as well as feasibility studies for medium and large hydropower plants; support the reform process in the water sector in Tajikistan, including strengthening the capacity of the newly created service safety of hydraulic structures; and the need for investment in infrastructure projects. Head of Department of the Ministry of Water Resources of Turkmenistan Mr. Khanmedov among the priorities for future cooperation called the need for a regional project on water quality monitoring; strengthening of monitoring water-salt regime by examining the European experience; introduction of modern methods of hydrometric and strengthening cooperation on the basis of universally recognized principles of international law.

GWP CACENA Regional Coordinator and Deputy Director of SIC ICWC Dr. Vadim Sokolov encouraged donors, along with the implementation of national and bilateral interstate projects, to pay more attention to the need for regional multilateral projects. The benchmark for such projects could be three documents adopted at the 63d meeting of ICWC in April 2014 - Implementation Plan of ICWC Strengthening, Concept on Development Information Network for Water Management in Central Asia, and Strategy to build educational capacity in integrated management water resources in Central Asia. Dr. Sokolov also noted the need to develop activities of monitoring of the Priaralie zone, creating water users associations for the Priaralye zone. Important direction - establishing a system of knowledge transfer to farmers, which was developed jointly with the SDC in the Fergana Valley - turn it into an extensive system of advisory service over the region.

In a parallel way, on May 27, 2014 at the Kazakh National Technical University named after Satpaev there was held a Scientific-Practical Conference dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Prof. Nariman Kipshakbaev (CWP-Kazakhstan Coordinator) on "Actual problems of water management and water conservation." GWP CACENA Regional Coordinator Dr. Vadim Sokolov  did a presentation to the conference about GWP’s activities in the region and delivered sincerely congratulations to Prof. Kipshakbaev on behalf of all GWP family.

Panel discussion of basin representatives during the Conference

Working moments of the Conference

Members of ICWC delivered sincerely congratulations to Prof. Kipshakbaev with his 80-years anniversary