For the people living in the Aral Sea basin, water is a life itself; the countries' economic development and quality of living conditions highly depend on availability of water resources. Therefore, during the most difficult initial period of sovereign development, the Central Asian republics – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – signed the relevant agreements on joint management, use and protection of water resources. In order to develop these agreements and overcome the Aral Sea environmental crisis, in 1993 the heads of the Central Asian states created
the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea (IFAS)
| Village in Priaral'ye, Kazakhstan
IFAS activities contribute to development of new quality interstate relations in the Region, to strengthening regional cooperation, no conflict mechanism for resolving complex issues in water use. Considering complexity of the situation, IFAS and its institutions: the Board, Executive Committee, Interstate Commission for Water Coordination, Interstate Commission for Sustainable Development, take all measures in order to ensure that issues of water distribution, environmental safety, socio-economic development are solved on a priority basis, taking into account interests of each country.
This task is of a complex character, since there is a need to consider various factors that have significant impact on the water resources condition and their management. The pressure on water resources and deterioration of the quality is associated with the population growth, and increasing needs in water for irrigation, urban development. The factors affecting water situation also related to inefficiency of water resources use and the climate change consequences, causing general lack of flow and characterized by increasing frequency of extremely disastrous floods and droughts and decrease in the glacial water resources.
It is essential that addressing the problems of international watercourses and transboundary rivers could have an integrated approach to maintaining capacity of the river systems, since their depletion leads to reduce in the regional food and energy security and, ultimately, to reduce of the social security in the Region. Therefore, it is important to take preventive measures at international level against environmental crises in river basins, to develop new approach to their management in order to ensure safe public water supply and multipurpose water use.
The especial necessity noted by the Heads of the states-stakeholders of IFAS in the Joint Statement as of 28th April 2009, stands for development of the legal framework for water resources management based on the international experience. During the last years IFAS and its structures became a regional platform for development and approval of bilateral and multilateral agreements and recognition of the international conventions on IWRM.
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