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 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-Talas II, 2008-2011). 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 has 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.

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 will strengthen their cooperation and information exchange. The Russian Federation is providing funding for the project.

The project will facilitate 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. The first bilateral meeting took place 27-29 March 2012 in Dushanbe. Please, see the press-release of the meeting here. A second bilateral meeting took place in Kabul 22-24 January 2013 and a third meeting was organised in Dushanbe 25-29 March 2013, the report of which can be found here. During the latter meeting a Visual Atlas for Cooperation providing a background to the opportunities of cooperation was presented.

Activities in 2014 included two expeditions along the Pyanj river that were organized in summer-autumn in preparation of the fourth bilateral meeting that was held 24-25 November 2014 in Dushanbe (see the photo on the right). Meeting reports in Dari and Tajik are also available. These activities were organized in cooperation with OSCE Dushanbe and Zoi Environment Network.
The key decisions made at the bilateral meeting was the endorsement of:

  • a “Memorandum of Understanding on exchange of hydrological data and information relating to the Panj-Amu Darya river basin between the state authorities of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of Tajikistan for the period of 2015-2017 and prospectively until 2020”, and
  • “Terms of Reference of the Technical Working Group on hydrological monitoring”.

Programmes on hydrology and environmental cooperation between Afghanistan and Tajikistan in the Amu Darya/Panj river basin were further discussed and agreed along with the possibility of a separate bilateral environmental agreement.
A series of cartoons explaining cooperation areas and actors was produced and is available in 4 languages.