Raising Awareness and Partnership for Sustainable Water and Environment Development in Uzbekistan
Key Programme Data
Contract Amount: EUR 2,180,378.00
Starting date of activities: 9/11/2016
Duration: 36 months
Water is a key natural resource to Uzbekistan’s economy. Ninety percent of water resources used in Uzbekistan are transboundary and flow from the territory of its Central Asian neighbouring countries. The largest consumer of water is the agricultural sector (89%). The rational use of water therefore, is a key to its economic growth and environmental sustainability, but despite undertaken efforts, there is still an empty space to fill in for sustainable management of water resources. Water logging, salinization, erosion are explicit externalities of problems in the irrigated agriculture. Resulting environmental issues have negative effects on socio-economic conditions of the country. The shortage of water is forecasted to be further intensified in the context of climate change, which will shift vegetation period, intensify rainfall and cause natural disasters such as droughts and floods.
The Government of Uzbekistan has implemented a number of reforms up to date –water management was shifted from administrative-territorial bodies to basin administrations in 2003, e.g. instead of provincial or district WMOs (oblvodkhozes and rayvodkhozes) Basin irrigation system authorities (BISAs) were established. In the late 1990s as an experiment, and through mid-2000’s as a follow up, the government has initiated establishment of Water Consumer Associations (WCAs) across Uzbekistan. Currently, about 1500 WCAs operate and serve about 80,000 farmers with irrigation water and cover more than 4 mln ha of cultivated land for agricultural crops. WCAs are institutionally capable to promote IWRM, yet they need to improve their technical and organizational capacities in order to be financially sustainable.
All these call for collective action from farmers and water managers, but it also requires public appeal and support. Therefore, improving water management, rational use of water, reducing waste of water and pollution, decreasing environmental effects are important issues to be addressed not by water and environmental experts or dedicated projects but an issue for the whole population. Awareness of population about the matter is hence crucial for formulating sustainable solutions. Therefore, effective awareness building amongst public is very important for changing baseline situation and should be facilitated through systematic partnership with NGOs and mass media, which would assure sustainability of results and bring expected impact/change.
Location of the project implementation: Uzbekistan
Target group: Water professionals, public, farmers, local authorities, water related organizations, rural communities (mahallas), youth organizations, schools, universities, mass media and non-governmental organizations.
Final beneficiaries: Water and environmental sectors (both operational and policy levels) of Republic of Uzbekistan.
Overall objective of the action is to sensitise and generate a greater degree of awareness on the strategic importance of water saving, water conservation and environmental protection under the conditions of climate change.
The specific objectives
Specific objectives for this action:
- Facilitate and strengthen network of Uzbek environmental NGOs to promote awareness on water and environmental issues, and strengthen and improve working relations with state organizations to formulate effective environmental policies;
- Provide tools and instruments for the mass media and environmental journalists to improve information coverage, advocacy effectiveness and campaigning among public on water, environmental and related issues;
- Information dissemination and awareness building among public, access to the local governance and communities (mahallas, farmers, schools, universities and local authorities) on importance of water as critical resource, its rational use and environmental protection to foster public participation in decision making.
- Reinforced management and organisational capacities of participating NGOs, youth and mass media organizations;
- Reinforced capacity and network of Uzbek NGOs and their improved partnership with local authorities to jointly advocate and lobby on water and environmental issues.
- Encouraged media equipped with appropriate tools to embrace informative and effective water and environmental campaigns for an impact.
- Increased water, climate change and environmental awareness and effective participation of the general-public in environmental activities at all levels.
- Awareness Building and Communication Strategy on Water and Environment will be developed;
- Awareness and educational materials will be based on and complement outputs of EU’s Sustainable Water Resources Management in Rural Areas in Uzbekistan Program programme;
- Cooperation with/or strengthening network of environmental NGOs, youth organizations and mass media will be the key activities;
- Organization of master-classes on tools for effective reportage on water and environmental issues and media-tours for Uzbek journalists to demonstration sites for showcasing the best practices on rational water use and others;
- Organisation of education initiatives, conferences, forums, informative workshops, and public awareness campaigns, camps, competitions (pictures, songs, social videos, etc.), street theatre, tree planting, water harvesting, science fairs, web-site updates, information bulletins, active streaming in social networks, online webinars on water and environment, facilitation of online discussions and topical blogs.
The Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) and NGO “Suvchi” intend to implement activities of the action.