The shrinking of the Aral Sea — one of the greatest man-made environmental disasters — has affected the livelihoods and health of millions of people in Central Asia. It is a shocking example of the disastrous consequences of the unsustainable use of water resources. Today, the efficient and sustainable management of available water resources in the five countries of Central Asia — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — is essential and should be a priority in the context of regional political, economic and environmental cooperation.
Faced with the challenges of finding long-term, mutually acceptable and sustainable solutions for cooperation over shared water resources, the countries of Central Asia need to develop their inter-State relations on the basis of international law and best practices in the management and protection of water resources and transboundary cooperation. This being said, solid legal frameworks and a great body of experience are offered by the UNECE environmental conventions, in particular by the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes — an effective legal framework fostering transboundary water cooperation all over the UNECE region.
This publication aims to strengthen the understanding and application of the UNECE environmental instruments in the countries of Central Asia, and shows the value of these instruments as an appropriate overarching legal framework for water management and transboundary water cooperation in the subregion.
Strengthening Water Management and Transboundary Water Cooperation in Central Asia: the Role of UNECE Environmental Conventions also demonstrates the synergies between the UNECE environmental instruments, thus providing useful information for States, international partners, non‑governmental organizations and academia, including those outside of the Central Asia subregion.