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Turkmen parliament decides to accede to the UNECE Water Convention

Published: 06 August 2012

On 4 August 2012, the Parliament of Turkmenistan voted for the country’s accession to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention). Turkmenistan will become the thirty-ninth Party to the UNECE Water Convention 90 days after depositing its instrument of accession with the United Nations Secretary-General.

The decision by the Turkmen Parliament represents a major step towards strengthening transboundary water cooperation and integrated water resources management (IWRM). Transboundary cooperation on water is very relevant for Turkmenistan, which is 80 to 90 per cent desert.

Bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Afghanistan, water resources in Turkmenistan mainly come from the agreed water shares of four transboundary rivers: the Amu Darya, Murgab, Tedjen and Atrek, with the Amu Darya supplying almost 90 per cent of the total supply. While actively developing bilateral cooperation on transboundary waters, Turkmenistan also participates in the regional cooperation mechanisms on the Aral Sea Basin.

Accession to the UNECE Water Convention by Turkmenistan is also highly important for political, economic and environmental cooperation in Central Asia. Irregular weather patterns worsened by climate change, growing demand for water due to economic development and population growth are likely to increase the already considerable stress on water resources in this region. Cooperative, rational and efficient solutions for the management of regional water resources necessitate a solid legal framework. The UNECE Water Convention, currently the only international framework agreement in force on transboundary fresh water, provides an important legal basis for such dialogue and cooperation.

The process of accession to the Water Convention was fostered by the discussions and recommendations of the National Policy Dialogue on IWRM in Turkmenistan, which facilitates the adoption by the country of the best international standards in water management.

For further information please visit: http://www.unece.org/env/water.html

or contact:
Ms. Francesca Bernardini
UNECE Water Convention
Phone: +41 (0)22 917 2463
E-mail: francesca.bernardini@unece.org

Note to editors:

The UNECE Water Convention, which is intended to strengthen national measures for the protection and ecologically sound management of transboundary surface waters and groundwaters, was adopted in Helsinki, Finland, in March 1992 and entered into force on 6 October 1996. At the moment of the decision by the Turkmen parliament thirty-seven States and the European Union (EU) are Parties to the Water Convention, among them Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia.

The National Policy Dialogues on water are the main operational instrument under the EU Water Initiative, an international partnership that aims at contributing to the achievement of the water-related Millennium Development Goals. UNECE is the strategic partner responsible for coordination of National Policy Dialogues on IWRM in countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Support for UNECE activities under the National Policy Dialogue on IWRM in Turkmenistan is provided by the European Commission, Norway, Germany and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Turkmenistan.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

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