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Phase II (2013-2014)

Project "Regional dialogue and cooperation on water resources management in Central Asia"

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The long-term economic, political and social stability of Central Asia directly depends on the sustainable management of the region’s shared water resources. The compound water, food and energy crisis of 2008 provided a serious warning as to the urgency of efforts to improve regional water resources management. The growing irregularity of water supply combined with increasing demand for water due to rapid population growth and economic development as well as deterioration of water quality throughout the region constitute a challenge that can only be met through rapid improvement of water governance on the national level and through regional cooperation. To improve the cooperation on the use and protection of water resources, regional institutions as well as the legal framework for cooperation on water need to be strengthened.

The goal of the project “Regional Dialogue and Cooperation on Water Resources Management in Central Asia” is to empower the countries of Central Asia to develop and implement mutually acceptable, long-term solutions to improve cooperation on transboundary water resources. The project is a component of the Programme “Transboundary Water Management in Central Asia” carried out by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ – German International Cooperation) on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office.


Phase II of the project “Regional Dialogue and Cooperation on Water Resources Management in Central Asia” aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • The capacity of the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), including its organizations and institutions, is improved and the process of modernization of their legal basis is continued.
  • The capacity of Central Asian governments to apply international water law is improved and the relevant instruments and best practices are increasingly used in interstate relations.
  • Improved application of the principles of integrated water resources management (IWRM) at the river basin and regional levels in Central Asia.


In its Phase II the project continues to follow the mandate received from the 2009 Summit of Heads of State of IFAS member countries, when the Presidents of Central Asian countries expressed their readiness to strengthen the institutional and legal frameworks of IFAS so as to improve its efficiency and achieve greater interaction with financial institutions and donors. In addition, Phase II relies on a more detailed mandate to improve the institutional and legal mechanisms for cooperation found in the Third Aral Sea Basin Program approved by the Governments of five IFAS countries. Implementation of Phase II takes full advantage of the experience gained during the implementation of Phase I and other UNECE projects in Central Asia, including the EU Water Initiative National Policy Dialogues on IWRM.


The UNECE Executive Secretary participated in an International Aral Sea Basin Conference organised by the Uzbek Chairmanship of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) in Urgench 2014 and signed there a Statement of Intent on cooperation with the EC-IFAS Chairman.
The activities are grouped into two major directions of work: sub-component 1 – regional institutions on water cooperation, and sub-component 2 – international water law and IWRM. 
The activities under Sub-component 1 “Regional Institutions on Water Cooperation” focus on:


The activities under Sub-component 2 “International Water Law and IWRM” focus on:

  • Conducting national capacity building activities to improve the understanding and promote proper interpretation on international water law in Central Asian region;
  • Conducting capacity building activities on the application of environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment to water issues for interested countries;
  • Support to implementation of the Assistance Programme under the Convention on Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents, with a focus on transboundary waters.




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Last update date: January 6, 2021