On November 7-8, 2019, the second meeting of the Kazakh-Uzbek joint working group (Commission) on environmental protection and water quality of the Syrdarya river basin was held in Nur-Sultan, Republic of Kazakhstan.
The meeting has been organized in line with the Strategy for Economic Cooperation for 2017-2019 between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of Uzbekistan, signed during the visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan on cooperation in the field of environmental protection and environmental management (June 2, 1997).
The two delegations were led by Mr. Zulfukhar Zholdassov, the Chairman of the Committee for Ecological Regulation and Control of the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Mr. Uktam Utaev, the Deputy Chairman of the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Ecology and Environmental Protection.
In the course of the meeting, both sides summarized the results of implementation of the work plan of the Commission for 2019, reaching an understanding that the plan had been fully implemented. In particular, the following activities were highlighted:
- The laboratories of the Parties were visited (March 13-14, 2019 in Shymkent and May 15-16, 2019 in Tashkent).
- A list of 28 surface water quality indicators for joint monitoring has been established;
- The most acceptable measurement procedures explored;
- A proposal for sampling points and the frequency of analysis prepared;
- A survey of the territory of the Syrdarya river basin carried out.
Following the meeting, a Work Plan for 2020-2021 was approved. CAREC Country Office staff in Kazakhstan also took part in the meeting. Ms. Shynar Toylibayeva, the CO director, in her speech, made a reference to CAREC’s work being done on water quality in a transboundary context, and the work of the Regional Working Group on water quality base on the CAREC platform. The Working Group is comprised of representatives of hydrometeorological services, departments of the state sanitary and epidemiological monitoring, ministries of water management and environmental authorities of the five countries of Central Asia. The participants exchanged some ideas and discussed the prospects for future cooperation:
1. Development and joint search for opportunities for the implementation of a study on the conservation of the Syrdarya river basin ecosystem, water quality and pollution sources with the involvement of experts from both groups and CAREC.
2. Inclusion of CAREC in the work of the bilateral Working Group of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan as the Secretariat of the Regional Working Group.
In the capacity of Secretariat, CAREC could be in charge of engaging members of the bilateral WG to collaborate on a range of issues such as an exchange of information, experience and knowledge between group members; discussion of practical and methodological issues and opportunities for joint monitoring; promotion of the best world and regional practices on water quality issues; increasing the capacity of group members; providing a regional platform for submitting joint initiatives and projects for discussion, etc.
According to its regulations, the Commission meets once a year. This second meeting was organized with the support of CAREC CO in Kazakhstan and the “Blue Peace Central Asia” project (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).