ASHGABAT. The first meeting of the Regional Working Group (RWG) on the development of a new Action Program to assist the countries of the Aral Sea Basin (ASBP-4) took place on 16 May 2018. The meeting was organized by the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (EC IFAS) with the support from the EU-funded project “Central Asia Nexus Dialogue: Fostering Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-Sector Investment (Nexus Project)” and the GIZ Regional Program "Transboundary Water Resources Management in Central Asia".
The Action Program to assist the countries of the Aral Sea Basin (ASBP) is a key mechanism to solve water, socio-economic and environmental issues in the Aral Sea Basin. Three programs were implemented in the past: ASBP (1994-2002), ASBP-1 (2003-2010) and ASBP-3 (2011-2015). The new ASBP-4 will be finalized in 2019.
The Regional Working Group (RWG) on ASBP-4 includes representatives of national agencies and line ministries in charge of water, land and energy resources management, economic development and environmental protection from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as representatives of EC IFAS, the Interstate Coordination Water Commission (ICWC) and the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD).
The Nexus project, implemented by CAREC in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), supports the process of ASBP-4 development, particularly in the identification of investment projects of transboundary and regional importance based on Water, Energy and Food (WEF) Security Nexus.
"If the implementation of the Nexus project lays the ground for the launching of a regional project associated with joint construction and operation of water and energy infrastructure, the benefits of which will be shared by all participating countries. As it happens, for example, in the Senegal River Basin. It could become the beginning of a new stage of effective regional cooperation in Central Asia," said Vokhidzhon Akhmadzhonov, representative of the Ministry of Water Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
EC IFAS, members of RWG on ASBP-4 and Nexus project agreed to combine as much as possible the working groups and dialogue platforms at the regional and national levels to develop investment projects for the achievement of water, energy and food security in Central Asia.
“Central Asia Nexus Dialogue project: Fostering Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-Sector Investment” or Nexus project is implemented by CAREC in cooperation with the International Union for Conservation of Nature with the financial support of the European Union. The overall objective of the 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 project is implemented in five countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) during the period 2016-2019.