The second meeting of Regional Working Group on water quality
On December 5, 2017, Almaty hosted the second meeting of Regional Working Group on water quality (RWG).
The members of the Regional Working Group on water quality represented hydrometeorological agencies, departments of the state sanitary and epidemiological control, water and environmental ministries of 5 Central Asian (CA) countries.
The meeting presented the results of a needs assessment of surface water monitoring systems in five CA countries with a focus on national hydrometeorological agencies. The list of major needs included the need to increase the human, technical and laboratory capacity of Hydromet agencies, as well as to optimize the storage, processing, and analysis of monitoring data.
Further, the participants gave their comments on the regional report, which will give a basin-wide outlook on data from the national needs assessment with elements of transboundary cooperation.
The main goal of the training was to familiarize the trainees with the modern internationally accepted water quality management systems, including peculiarities of water quality monitoring, exchange of monitoring information and use of monitoring data for joint planning.
On the basis of preliminary recommendations from the regional report, RWG members have prioritized short- and long-term actions to address the challenges of water quality in the region. The participants recognized the importance of capacity building and exchange of experience and selected a study-tour between national Hydromet agencies of CA countries as the priority of the project action plan for 2018. Thus, for example, Uzhydromet laboratories are one of the few in the region who conduct hydrobiological monitoring and can share their methodology and experience with other countries.
During the final discussion, participants also recognized the need for such coordination platform as the Regional Working Group on Water Quality in Central Asia. They discussed the circle of responsibilities of the RWG, which should include the following elements:
· Exchange of relevant information on the issues of water quality management in the region;
· Bringing the issues of water quality management to decision-making level;
· Coordination of pilot approbation of the basin approach for water quality management.
The meeting was organized in the framework of the project “Strengthening cooperation on water quality management in Central Asia”, which is implemented by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in cooperation with the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC), and funded by Finland and FinWaterWEI. The main goal of the project is to support the improvement of basin-wide, regional cooperation on water quality.