Today Astana hosted a Regional Workshop “International experience related to transboundary water allocation and prospects for the development of cooperation on the joint use of water resources in Central Asia”, where general approaches to the application of international experience in transboundary water allocation and development of cooperation on the joint use of water resources in Central Asia were discussed.
The workshop, organized with the official support of the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan and with the financial support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland, brought together more than 45 participants, including officials from key ministries of the five Central Asian countries, as well as international experts.
Equitable and sustainable water resources allocation is one of the most difficult problems in many regions of the world. This issue is of particular relevance for Central Asia, where the growing needs of the population, industry and agriculture for water in the face of climate change have already given rise to an acute shortage of water. The situation is aggravated by inefficient use of water, deterioration of irrigation facilities and water-saving systems, and other problems.
As Vice Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan Serikaly Mukatayev stated: “It is no secret that in the context of rapidly occurring global disasters, the urgency of the problems of efficient use of water resources in Central Asia will increase. Only joint and timely efforts by countries can address contemporary issues and find the right solutions to existing and emerging challenges.”
The two-day workshop aims to assist countries in studying international experience in transboundary water allocation based on the Global Handbook on water allocation in a transboundary context to the Water Convention, which was developed with the participation of more than 100 countries and with the support of experts from Finland.
“Water allocation comprises various ways to agree about the quantity, quality or timing of available water. At the same time, allocation arrangements are better used in conjunction with sectoral and other water management measures", noted Antti Rautavaara, Special Envoy for Water at Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
“The Handbook, developed through an extensive intergovernmental process under the Water Convention and building on practical experiences including an extensive list of case studies, sends a strong message on the importance of transboundary cooperation and of adaptability. It will hopefully contribute to building the capacity needed to address complex water management issues not only in the Central Asia region but globally, now and in the future”, stated Iulia Trombitskaya, UNECE Environment Officer.
The regional workshop will allow experts from the five countries of Central Asia to improve their understanding and knowledge of the criteria, mechanisms, tools and best practices for water allocation in transboundary basins, as well as to discuss promising approaches to the mutually beneficial use of water resources in Central Asia.
The workshop is organized by the International Water Assessment Centre (IWAC) in cooperation with the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and UNECE in the framework of the implementation of the Water Convention.
Handbook on Water Allocation in a Transboundary Context explains the various phases, benefits and challenges of transboundary water allocation and guides interested States through the process of assessing its potential usefulness in their shared basins.
Kazakhstan has made a significant contribution to the development of the Handbook. With the financial support of the Government of Kazakhstan, analytical work was carried out on the sustainable water allocation and the assessment of environmental flow in the Eurasian region with the participation of experts from ten countries, including from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, as well as Iran, China, Mongolia and Russia.