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In general, the existing international legal framework for regional water cooperation in Central Asia made it possible, especially at the initial stage, to address those issues that urgently needed to be resolved during the formation of independent States and change of the status of rivers in the Aral Sea Basin. Arrangements have been made and agreements have been fulfilled, with varying degrees of success, on water allocation and water-energy exchange, and joint management through common interstate structures. Countries have repeatedly stated their commitment to the principles of cooperation, equitable and reasonable use of water resources, and joint resolution of ecological problems, related to protection of the Aral Sea. Three instruments, adopted by the Heads of State and two framework agreements on water resources management confirmed the political will to cooperate. This has further been reflected in relatively conflict-free allocation of water resources in the region for nearly two decades.

 

However, despite the large number of international agreements, the current legal framework is far from perfect and requires considerable improvement. This applies to both individual agreements and the entire system of international legal regulation of water cooperation in the region. The existing legal instruments are either of a formal and declarative nature, or simply outdated, or are not being implemented - in whole or in part - and do not contain fully effective mechanisms to ensure compliance.

In the framework of Component1 of the programme “Transboundary Water Management in Central Asia” – Fostering regional institutional cooperation, the project on “Regional Dialogue and Cooperation in Water Resources Management” is implemented in cooperation with UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). This project presents contribution to implementation of the EC IFAS activities aimed at the institutional and legal strengthening of IFAS and its organizations.

“Transboundary Water Management in Central Asia” Programme is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ GmbH) on behalf of German Federal Foreign Office. This program represents one of the mechanisms of the “Berlin Process” – the Initiative which is an offer by the German Federal Government to the countries of Central Asia to support them in water management and to make water a subject of intensified transboundary cooperation.

The working meeting of the Expert group on improving the structure and legal base of IFAS took place on October 23 in Almaty.

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