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Afghan-Tajik cooperation on the Pyanj Basin widens with UNECE support

Afghan and Tajik officials met in Dushanbe on 22 and 23 October 2015 to discuss their bilateral water cooperation in the Pyanj River Basin. The meeting marked the fifth anniversary of the Afghan-Tajik bilateral water cooperation agreement, and a fruitful continuation of negotiations on a separate agreement on environment cooperation, which is now expected to be signed in 2016. 

The meeting concluded an intensive year of collaborative efforts for the two countries, which saw the first exchanges of hydrological data and joint environment and hydrology expeditions.

Challenges discussed during the meeting included adaptation to climate change, management of frequent and severe floods, provision of secu rity for staff responsible for hydrological   monitoring of the border between the two countries and protection of shared vulnerable ecosystems. Meeting participants noted that, in the face of these and other challenges, important steps have been taken to intensify cooperation. Workplans on joint hydrological monitoring and exchange of information, as well as on environmental cooperation, were approved. Planned cooperation with the World Meteorological Organization, which also participated in the meeting, will strengthen the technical aspects of the joint hydrology work.

The meeting was chaired by the Deputy Chair of the Tajik Committee for Environmental Protection, Oihon Sharipova. The Afghan Ministry for Foreign Affairs, as well as water and environment authorities in Kabul, participated from the Afghan side. The meeting was organized by UNECE in cooperation with the Committee for Environmental Protection of Tajikistan, Zoï Environment Network and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The bilateral cooperation between the two countries has been fostered through the UNECE-led project, “Strengthening cooperation on hydrology and environment between Afghanistan and Tajikistan in the upper Amu Darya River Basin”, which supports Afghanistan and Tajikistan in the development of hydrology and environment cooperation in the basin. The Ministry for Water and Energy and the National Environmental Protection Agency of Afghanistan and the Committee for Environmental Protection of Tajikistan and Tajik Hydromet are project partners. The Russian Federation and UNECE provide funding for the project.

The Amu Darya River, shared by Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, is one of the main rivers in Central Asia. It runs from the Pamir Mountains to the Aral Sea. The Pyanj, an upstream tributary of the river, delineates the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

For further information please contact:

Mr. Bo Libert, UNECE
Phone: +41 (0)22 917 2396
E-mail: bo.libert@unece.org