Managing water resources in Central Asia: regional and international issues at stake

ASIA - Jan 28, 2009

Water management in the Central Asia region was the subject of the workshop held at the CIDOB Foundation on 23 January, within the framework of the Observatory on Central Asia, a joint initiative set up by the Elcano Royal Institute, Casa Asia and CIDOB.

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Water management in the Central Asia region was the subject of the workshop held at the CIDOB Foundation on 23 January, within the framework of the Observatory on Central Asia, a joint initiative set up by the Elcano Royal Institute, Casa Asia and CIDOB.

Under the title Managing water resources in Central Asia: regional and international issues at stake, the workshop brought together four experts from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, together with a large group of experts and academics specialised in the subject of the Central Asia region.

The workshop was opened by Jordi Vaquer, the Director of the CIDOB Foundation; in his address, he stressed the importance of the issue of water management in the Central Asian region as an element of cooperation or conflict between the States.

The addresses presented at the seminar were given by Anar Khamzayeva, ex-analyst at the Institute for World Economy and Politics (IWEP) of Kazakhstan, and who gave a talk on the implications of water management in the area on the issues of security and prospects for regional cooperation; Farhod Maksudov, researcher at the Uzbek Academy of Sciences and environmental expert at the UNDP office in Uzbekistan, who spoke about the project for the comprehensive management of water resources in his country; Sulton Rahimov, ex-President of the Executive Commission of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (EC-IFAS), who warned the workshop participants about the effects of climate change in Central Asia, particularly with respect to the degradation of the Aral Sea area; and finally, Bektur Sakiev, representative of the organisation Foundation for Tolerance International, Kyrgyzstan, who discussed the problem of water management in the strategic area of Ferghana Valley.

During the experts' addresses, and in the subsequent debate with the workshop participants, different aspects linked with water management in Central Asia were highlighted, such as the lack of governability on water issues, the role of donors, international organisations and other countries in the region, the need to improve water infrastructures, and the threat to the area of security that bad water management in the area could represent.

Carlos Fernández-Jáuregui, ex-Director of the Office of the United Nations Decade of Water in Zaragoza, presented the conclusions of the seminar, summarising the main issues debated by the experts and participants during the workshop. Finally, Aurèlia Mañé, Director of the Observatory on Central Asia, closed the meeting by declaring that the Observatory would continue its activities in future.

>> Final Report. Workshop on water resources management in Central Asia: Regional and international issues at stake

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