A solemn ceremony to mark the signing of a Memorandum between the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (EC IFAS) and CAREC was held on November 13, 2017, in Ashgabat. The document was signed by Mr. Guizgeldi Baidzhanov, Chairman of the Executive Committee of IFAS, and Dr. Iskandar Abdullaev, Executive Director of CAREC.
The parties also signed annexes to the memorandum on joint implementation of the Smart Waters project, funded by USAID, and “Central Asia Nexus Dialogue project: Fostering Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-Sector Investment” (NEXUS) project, funded by EU.
The main objective is to provide bilateral support in strengthening water cooperation in Central Asia as well as technical assistance. At the ceremony, Mr. Baydzhanov stressed that the memorandum is a logical continuation of joint efforts in the sphere of environmental protection:
"The accumulated positive experience of joint cooperation between CAREC and the Executive Committee of IFAS in overcoming regional problems became the basis for a natural extension of the dialogue on the development of joint actions after the transfer of the presidency to IFAS to Turkmenistan," he said. "The signing of this document will increase the effectiveness of the activities of the Executive Committee of IFAS, positively affect the water management situation, ecological condition and social and economic development in the Aral Sea region."
Recall that the main objective of the Smart Waters project is to build working relationships between specialists in water sector of Central Asian countries as well as to demonstrate the potential of the basin approach and cooperation with academic institutions. While the objective of the NEXUS project is to create a multi-sectoral enabling environment to facilitate sustainable and climate-resilient investments for increased water, energy, food security and ecosystems in Central Asia.
"The Memorandum and its annexes open new opportunities for EC IFAS and CAREC in implementing projects and assisting Turkmenistan and the countries of the region in counteracting the consequences of an environmental disaster in the Aral Sea zone and increasing the amount of financial assistance for these purposes," said Iskandar Abdullaev. “Implementation of the Smart Waters project jointly with the Executive Committee of IFAS opens new prospects for development at the national level, provides for the participation of specialists from the water sector of Turkmenistan in the activities of the project in the country. The project “Central Asia Nexus Dialogue project: Fostering Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-Sector Investment” will contribute to ASBP-4".
The ceremony also included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between EC IFAS and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), presented by the program "Transboundary Water Resources Management in Central Asia".
The parties expressed assurances that these memorandums will become an additional impetus for expanding and strengthening regional cooperation, which in turn will benefit the Aral Sea basin region.