On 6 November 2020 International water assessment center (IWAC) director Serik Akhmetov welcomed Mr. Ruslan Matkerimov, Counsellor of the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic to the Republic of Kazakhstan, to discuss the past, present and future cooperation on transboundary water resources between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

The main purpose of the meeting was to discuss possible areas of cooperation between IWAC and Kyrgyzstan on the protection and use of water resources. During the meeting, both sides exchanged views on current efforts to maintain and further improve mechanisms for managing transboundary water resources at the regional level, as well as exchanged information on the current policy of Kyrgyzstan on the protection and use of water resources.

Mr. Matkerimov emphasized the relevance of the following agreements:

  • Agreement between Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Republic of Uzbekistan on joint activities in addressing the Aral Sea and the zone around the Sea crisis, improving the environment, and enduring the social and economic development of the Aral Sea region (1993)
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Joint and Complex Use Water and Energy Resources of the Naryn Syr Darya Cascade Reservoirs (1998)
  • Agreement between the Government of the Kazakh Republic and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic on the Use of Water Management Facilities of Intergovernmental Status on the Rivers Chu and Talas (2000)

Mr. Akhmetov, in turn, noted that effective implementation of the above-mentioned agreements requires the use of international legal instruments, in particular the Convention on the protection and use of transboundary watercourses and international lakes, of which IWAC is a subsidiary body.

In turn, the Councellor touched upon the issue of cooperation between the Central Asian countries on the use of water and energy resources. This issue is included in the program of cooperation between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan for 2020-2030 and is relevant in the policy of Kyrgyzstan. He also noted that Kyrgyzstan fully supports the return to the issue of creating a water and energy consortium.

In General, both sides also agreed on the need to adapt existing bilateral agreements on the transboundary use of water resources to modern realities. It was proposed to direct the efforts of IWAC to develop the concept of a water and energy consortium and conduct informal consultations between experts from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan on this issue.

At the end of the meeting, both sides agreed to explore and consider opportunities of further cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and IWAC and agreed that a smart approach on transboundary water usage will not only greatly contribute to the economic development of the countries of Central Asia, but also enhance the international image of the whole region.