Thematic areas of CAIEF 2018: water cooperation

Publication date: 31 May 2018
Thematic areas of CAIEF 2018: water cooperation

CAREC prepared a series of articles on the thematic areas of the Central Asian International Environmental Forum 2018: renewable energy sources and energy efficiency; integrated management of solid domestic waste; Conservation of biodiversity and development of a network of protected natural areas; water cooperation.

Within the Central Asian International Environmental Forum, the International Conference "Joint Actions on Mitigating the Consequences of the Aral Catastrophe" will be held. The content of the conference and the thematic segment on water cooperation is overseen by the CAREC Water Initiatives Support Program. The UzWaterAware project manager Jusipbek Kazbekov clarified why water is an important resource for Central Asia, and what awaits participants at the parallel sessions of the conference.

According to Kazbekov, water in the region determines the economic development of the countries, and also plays a big role in the environmental sustainability. "The subject of the Aral Sea for the countries remains relevant, countries feel the impact of the drying sea on the animal and plant world, on public health, on the overall environmental background, on the climate and on the economy as a whole. It can be reduced only by joint efforts», - noted Jusipbek Kazbekov.

To address the environmental challenges associated with the Aral catastrophe, countries support the dialogue and strengthen relations with the neighbouring states. In particular, Uzbekistan, where CAIEF is held this year, has already done much to improve the socio-economic conditions of the Aral Sea and preserve the environmental conditions of the region. At the initiative of the heads of state, regional institutions were established, such as the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination.

Kazbekov explained that the correct distribution of water between the countries of the region, taking into account the needs of each country, be it agriculture, the conservation of ecosystems, or the development of energy, requires coordinated action among the states of Central Asia. But most important is an open discussion of these issues. "The forum, which, with the assistance of the countries of Central Asia, was initiated by CAREC, is a kind of regional platform, with the support of international and donor organizations where countries can discuss common issues, exchange information on the achievements of science and technology," Jusipbek underlined. It is also important to jointly study best practices in the region and abroad, successful examples of the rational and productive use of water.

In addition, the forum is a platform for informing the public and raising awareness about the joint actions of countries on water and environmental issues, and international processes that contribute to the sustainable development of the region. In turn, the community can participate and provide feedback on the pressing issues.

Within the Aral Conference, a number of parallel events with a different direction of discussion are held. Jusipbek Kazbekov spoke in detail about the special session on the regional water cooperation, with the direct involvement of CAREC in cooperation with the Ministry of Water Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Discussion at the session on the water cooperation will take place in three directions. The first is the speeches of the heads of the water departments of the region, in which the speakers will talk about the state of affairs on reforms in the water sector of the countries. Jusipbek stressed that in order to strengthen regional water cooperation, it is necessary to take into account the reforms within the countries of Central Asia: "To understand priorities, attitude to certain issues, and share positive experiences."

The second segment is the performances of the international partners. Foreign specialists will present plans, results and achievements of new initiatives and existing projects of international organizations related to the water issue in the Central Asian region. "The third is a strategically important event for CAREC, it is the opening of the Innovations and scientific research cluster on water issues, which is jointly created by CAREC and TIIAME," Jusipbek said.

Kazbekov also cited a list of regional initiatives that are important for improving regional water cooperation in the region. Representatives of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Finnish Water Forum, the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) , the analytical center adelphi, the Korean International Cooperation Agency and the Regional Water Advisor for Central Asia at Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). 

Within the water session of the Central Asian International Environmental Forum, there is planned a signing of memorandums on cooperation between national and international organizations, including CAREC. CAREC and TIIAME are planning to sign agreements with foreign universities on the development of scientific and academic cooperation. But, the main result, according to Jusipbek Kazbekov, will be the achievement of tCAIEFhe stability of , which is an international platform where regional issues are discussed. These are environmental protection, environmental and sustainable development issues, including cooperation in the field of water resources management in Central Asia.

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