Projects in Central Asia

Regional Dialogue and Cooperation on Water Resources Management in Central Asia

The goal of the project is to empower the countries of Central Asia to develop and implement mutually acceptable, long-term solutions to improve cooperation on transboundary water resources. This will be done by enhancing the regional dialogue and strengthening the capacity of regional institutions for water resources management. The project is implemented under the Berlin Water Process. More information on Phase I, Phase II and Phase III.

Capacity building for cooperation on dam safety in Central Asia

The first phase of the project resulted in: (a) a model national law on safety of large hydraulic facilities, including dams, intended as a basis for national harmonized legal frameworks, and (b) a draft regional agreement on cooperation on dam safety, which stipulates, inter alia, the exchange of information and notification of other countries in case of dams accidents. In the second phase, all Central Asian countries were engaged in the improvement or revision of existing legal provisions and institutional modalities for dam safety. The development of a formalised subregional cooperation on dam safety continued and efforts were made on capacity building of experts and institutions.  A third phase of the project started in 2012. The project is being undertaken in cooperation with the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (EC-IFAS). More information about the three project phases can be found on the following web-page.

Chu and Talas rivers project

UNECE supports activities on water management of the transboundary Kazakh-Kyrgyz rivers Chu and Talas, having initiated and implemented the projects "Support for the Creation of a Transboundary Water Commission on the Chu and Talas Rivers between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan" (Chu-Talas I, 2003-2007) and “Developing cooperation on the Chu and Talas Rivers” (Chu-TalasII, 2008-2011).

The implementation by UNDP and UNECE of a GEF-funded project “Enabling Transboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resources Management in the Chu and Talas River Basins” started in spring 2015. More information can be found on the following web-page.

Network of EECCA Water Management Organisations

Limited access to data on water/land resources use and socio-economic situation is frequently an obstacle for making adequate short- and long-term decisions on water resources management and on implementation of relevant policies.

To promote information generation and exchange in the water management sector in Russian-speaking institutions UNECE supports the Network of EECCA Water Management Organisations (EECCA WMO). The network was formally established on May 31, 2010 in Moscow and it has presently more than 70 participating organisations and institutions. The objective of the network is to facilitate exchange of information and experience in the water management and environmental sectors in countries in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.

Participation in the network is voluntary and is organized in form of exchange of views, experiences, and information on various aspects of water-management activities. The Scientific Information Centre, International Commission for Water Coordination, Uzbekistan (SIC-ICWC) provides the secretariat of the network. Funding for activities is provided by the Russian Federation and the network is also supported by INBO and Global Water Partnership.

The website provides the network’s "knowledge hub", accumulating and communicating available research and policy development of its members.

Reports from the regular network conferences are found here.

Water quality in Central Asia

The United Nations Development Account made funding available to UNECE for a project to improve cooperation and policy related to water quality in Central Asia. The project was implemented in 2009-2012 in cooperation with the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC). Project objectives included the establishment of establish common principles for measurement, exchange of information and joint assessment on shared water resources. As the water quality monitoring has seriously deteriorated since the early 1990s, it is a challenge to establish a basic monitoring network. The development of more efficient national policies, including the standards and principles applied in the permitting of environmentally harmful activities, were other key aspects of the project. A project report and an external evaluation are available. More detailed information can be found here (Russian).

Together with the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC), UNECE is initiating in 2016 a follow-up project “Strengthening cooperation on water quality management in Central Asia” funded by Finland. The project objective is to reduce the deterioration of water quality through improved basin-wide, regional cooperation on water quality. The project purpose is to institutionalize water quality cooperation in the Aral Sea basin.

The project will aim to achieve two results:

1.     Strengthened framework established for water quality cooperation in Central Asia
2.     Substantive information on water quality in Central Asia jointly produced and made publicly available.

Strengthening cooperation on hydrology and environment between Afghanistan and Tajikistan in the upper Amu Darya River basin

UNECE is supporting Afghanistan and Tajikistan in the development of hydrology and environment cooperation in the upper Amu Darya basin. From Afghanistan the Ministry for Water and Energy and the National Environmental Protection Agency, and from the Tajik side the Committee for Environmental Protection and Tajik Hydromet are project partners. On the basis of existing bilateral agreements the two countries are strengthening their cooperation and information exchange. The Russian Federation and Finland are providing funding for the project.

The project facilitates the establishment of long-term cooperation between the two countries on hydrology and environment. The aim is also to improve the understanding and access to information about the water resources and environmental conditions in the upper Amu Darya basin to relevant stakeholder in the whole basin. More details on project activities can be found here. A Visual Atlas for Cooperation providing a background to the opportunities of cooperation is found here. A series of cartoons explaining cooperation areas and actors was produced and is available in 4 languages.

Supporting Kazakhstan’s transition towards Green Economy model

The overall objective of the Project is to contribute to Kazakhstan’s long-term environmental sustainability and inclusive economic development, supporting the country's transition to a Green Economy Model. The Project, focusing on the water sector, was launched in 2015 and is being developed in consultation with key stakeholders, in full alignment with the policy priorities of the Government of Kazakhstan. To ensure long-term sustainable impact, the Project builds upon experiences and lessons learnt previously, and synergizes with on-going sustainable development activities. The project launched is funded by the European Union and is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the lead organization, in partnership with UNECE. More information on the project is found here and reports from project activities can be found here.