Professor Salohiddinov: Water likes consistency
Interview of Professor Salohiddinov Abdulkhakim, Head of the Department of Ecology and Water Management Department under Tashkent Institute of Agricultural Irrigation and Mechanization, member of academic communities network.
“Water likes consistency, which means that water issues are in need of constant attention and finding solutions” – this is how Professor Salohiddinov Abdulkhakim, Head of the Ecology and Water Management Department under Tashkent Institute of Agricultural Irrigation and Mechanization, member of academic communities network characterizes the work in the field of water resources.
Assessing the work in the region, he underlines that “water resources of Central Asia have their own specifics. Thus, water resources are the only resources which do not have an alternative, which is vital for their rational use. While wood and other natural resources have substitutes, water is simply irreplaceable. At the same time, users of water resources differ by purposes of water use, and the required level of its quality and quantity. All these aspects require constant consideration of water users and a full range of their needs. Only by considering this, we can guarantee the sustainability of natural resources and our social life related to them. It is important to take into account existing differences between the countries in determining priorities of water use, which can lead to aggravation of relationships between them. Therefore, in such conditions, water specialists should be always ready to assist in solving emerging problems at all levels. Deep understanding of the problems related to water resources and ways to solve them is the basis of the economic and social stability of the region."
The network of academic communities in Central Asia and Afghanistan is the first important step in developing a common understanding of the sector's problems and developing solutions.
In 2014 the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia initiated the establishment of the academic communities network in Central Asia as the regional platform, aimed at forming a common understanding of existing problems in the water sector and finding solutions. This network unites universities and research centers, involved in dealing with environmental and water issues, and promotes regular cooperation and sharing of experience and knowledge among them. This regional platform helps to overcome ‘academic isolation” and integrates academia of Central Asia into the global processes. The network united representatives of universities, professional development institutions, training centers with the aim to form a system, which will help to solve the problem related to lack of field knowledge in the region and will promote building professional relationships among managers and specialists of the water sector. It will also allow demonstrating benefits of basin approach in water resources management as well as maintaining close cooperation of academia in the region.
According to professor Salohiddinov, the network became ‘the first important step in understanding that problems of the water sector are common for all the countries in the region and are in need of a complex, united solution on all levels”.
This prompted the Professor to join the network of an academic community in 2016, becoming her active member. The first step in the implementation of activities became the study tour to the Tashkent Institute of Agricultural Irrigation and Mechanization in May 2017 for the representatives of academia of neighboring countries in the region.
More than 40 representatives from six countries were able to discuss important issues of water sector education within the framework of this first exchange visit between academic communities. “Thanks to this study tour and the network itself, we were able to form a group of like-minded people, with whom we are able to solve the issues. They are colleagues from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan. The most important aspect is that we build trust among colleagues of the region. Also, we underlined the necessity in coordination and unification of our curriculums and programs. Common terminology will allow the new generation of managers, specialists, and leaders of the sector to better understand each other and solve the issues efficiently” – stated professor Salohiddinov.
Qualified professionals are the key for effective operation of the field in the future.
“We attach big importance to practical knowledge in the university, in comparison with other educational entities of the region. Particular attention we pay to the work of laboratories so that students can solve problems by experiments and practice. And that was of particular interest to our colleagues from other countries to examine in our university. As a result of the study tour, a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Tashkent Institute of Agricultural Irrigation and Mechanization and Tajikistan Agrarian University named after Shirinshokha Shotemura and the Scientific Research Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Reclamation of the Republic of Tajikistan.
“I joined this community in order to professionally order to become professionally close to my colleagues from the region. I believe that RECCA in the framework of the Smart Water Project created an excellent platform for regional cooperation on water issues and, most importantly, for successful preparation of a new generation of water managers for sustainable and successful development of the field. Of course, it can not be considered as a solution for all the issues, but is an important step towards mutual understanding and resolving existing problems in the region. I am sure the network is not a temporary phenomenon but is a sustainable platform with bright future. Any regional initiatives will be an advantage for achieving sustainable economic development of our region, "said professor Salohiddinov.
Sustainability of the network will help to solve the issues on the intergovernmental level as well. Since the network will use best practices of all the countries, it can serve as a competent consulting organization for governments on solving trans-boundary and other water issues, taking into account the interests of all countries, along with promoting regional cooperation. Moreover, this network is to assist in the development of an intergovernmental agreement on water issues, thus promoting interstate cooperation and resolving disputes. For the younger generation, the network is a unique platform for gaining experience and knowledge from leading experts in the water resources management field of Central Asia and Afghanistan.
The Smart Water Project is implemented by the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).