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Approval of project to develop transboundary water cooperation between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

On 10 November in Bishkek representatives of UNECE, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bishkek Office and the Kyrgyz and Kazakh authorities discussed and approved the Global Environment Facility- funded project, “Enabling Transboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resources Management in the Chu and Talas River Basins”. The project is being carried out in the framework of the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention).

The meeting was organized in connection with the eighteenth meeting of the bilateral Kazakh-Kyrgyz Chu-Talas Water Commission. The $1 million project, which will start in the beginning of 2015, will be implemented in close cooperation with the Commission.

The three main components of the project are:

  • Undertaking an in-depth situation analysis and improving he management and use of water resources and related ecosystems in the Basins
  • Institutional development of the Commission, in particular strengthening the environmental aspects of its activities
  • Improved monitoring of water quality and quantity

By working with the Commission and the national Kyrgyz and Kazakh authorities, the new project will contribute to the further development of water cooperation between the two countries, making it possible to better take into account environmental concerns.

Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan share the waters of the transboundary Chu and Talas Rivers. Whereas all facilities for the rivers’ regulation, such as dams, water reservoirs and canals, are located upstream in the territory of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan depends on the operation and proper maintenance of these facilities. This situation prompted the two countries to establish a legal basis for the joint operation of water management infrastructure in the river basins. Under an agreement from 2000, UNECE has previously supported the establishment of a bilateral Commission on the Use of Water Management Facilities of Intergovernmental Status on the Chu and Talas Rivers, with a permanent secretariat as well as experts and working groups.

For more information, please visit: http://www.unece.org/environmentalpolicy/treaties/water/areas-of-work-of-the-convention/envwatercentralasia/envwatercentralasiachutalas.html