Since the early 1990s the issue of water in the Aral Sea Basin has been seen in the context of regional security and stability. Water is valuable and it is scarce. There are enough water resources in the Region but they are not used effectively and, as a result, the use of transboundary water resources in Central Asia (CA) is a source of potential conflict.
The Heads of the Central Asia states recognise this and set up the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea (IFAS). The member states of IFAS are: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
The objectives of IFAS and its organizations are to work towards integration and cooperation in order to use existing water resources more effectively and efficiently, to ensure sustainable development and to adapt to climate change in the region. However, it is widely recognized that the present structure of IFAS needs to be improved and the legal base to be adapted to fit the needs of today.
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
SDC strategic development activities within the ASBP-3 framework:
The IWRM project activities implemented by the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development include introduction of the bottom-up approach aimed at improving the management capacity in rural areas, improvement of water use efficiency, building an information system for managing water resources. The Central Asian Regional Water Information Base (CAREWIB) project was launched in cooperation with the UNECE and the UNEP/GRID-Arendal Office. Intermediate phase of the project is aimed to achieve a closer inter-institutional cooperation under the IFAS umbrella with the purpose of fostering the development of a water management decision support system and responsibility for respective data collection and input and to contribute to streamlining of the institutional structure and of access to information services in the Central Asian water sector.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
USAID’s assistance to IFAS supports the elaboration of a long-term comprehensive regional water resources management agreement by providing thorough analysis of the economic and welfare ramifications of optimum water-resource management in the Aral Sea basin. USAID’s grant will also support research of the risks the region faces with respect to the impact on the region’s water resources of global climate change.
World Bank’s strategy for the development of IWRM in the region is in many ways convergent with the developed Third Aral Sea Basin Program.
The World Bank initiated the Regional Program on improving hydrological, meteorological and climate services. By the decision of IFAS Board the Program was approved for the implementation within the EC IFAS – ASBP-3 framework.
Water-energy nexus is the core area for the World Bank’s activities in the Region. Consequent development directions identified by the Bank: power generation, power transmission, water productivity, improving the dialogue between water organizations in the Region. The Bank is initiating a comprehensive Central Asia Energy-Water Development Program (CAEWDP), which aims to improve diagnostics and analytical tools to support the countries of the region in well-informed decision-making to manage their water and energy resources, strengthen regional institutions, and stimulate investments.
Under the existing water–energy-climate change concept the specific activities have been implemented in the countries and scheduled for the implementation in collaboration with USAID. The Bank is coordinating the climate adaptation program for Tajikistan. The methodology used by the Bank in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to develop an understanding of measures to address energy vulnerability to climate change is planned by USAID to apply in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. Therefore, USAID will support the EC IFAS in two areas: the assessment of the region's vulnerability to climate change and the development of mutually beneficial agreement on multipurpose use of water resources.
USAID’s grant assistance to IFAS supports the elaboration of a long-term comprehensive regional water resources management agreement by providing thorough analysis of the economic and welfare ramifications of optimum water-resource management in the Aral Sea basin.
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