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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 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-TalasII, 2008-2011).
The implementation by UNDP and UNECE of a GEF-funded project “Enabling Transboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resources Management in the Chu and Talas River Basins” started in spring 2015. 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 ENG RUS
Conference on EECCA WMOs on water management, 21–22 May 2015, Minsk, Belarus PDF PDF
Conference on Cultural and Educational Issues Related to Water Management in the EECCA Countries, February 9-10, 2016, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan PDF PDF

In November 2018 the SIC ICWC in partnership with UNECE and with the financial support from the Russian Federation, conducted a Network conference entitled Water for Land Reclamation, Economy and the Nature in the context of Climate Change. The objective of the Conference was to discuss the traditional and emerging challenges the EECCA countries of face with regard to water scarcity and ways of addressing them.

The International Conference of the Network of Water Management Organizations of EECCA Countries entitled “Science and Innovative Technologies to address the Water Security” was held on 23-24 September, 2019 Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation.

The Conference was focused on the following key areas:

  • Water security of transboundary water bodies under an increasing shortage of water resources;
  • Strategy for the development of the water sector based on the innovation process;
  • New innovative approaches / ideas for effective and rational water resources management;
  • The role of science and education in the formation of safe environment and the innovative development of the water sector.


During 2019-2020 the project continued supporting knowledge, information and experience sharing between the water basin organizations of the countries of the Network through the web-based portal ( The Network’s website has 250-300 visitors per day and is populated with relevant news from member organizations and countries on daily basis including the information on new publications, conferences and workshops. Some 92 water institutions contribute to the exchange of information. A weekly bulletin is published, which is shared with 64 recipients (including members of the Network) and is available on the website:

The most recent activity includes the International Conference “Transboundary Water Cooperation in EECCA Countries: Lessons Learned and Directions for Future Development” organized by SIC ICWC under the auspices of the Network. 

The main areas covered by the Conference were:
• Water cooperation between the countries of Central Asia and neighbouring states;
• Water cooperation between the countries of Eastern Europe and neighbouring states;
• Contribution of NWO EECCA to cooperation between the countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and neighbouring states.

UPDATED ON: 4 May 2021

Water quality in Central Asia                                                                      UPDATED on 10.09.2018

The United Nations Development Account 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.

In 2016, UNECE in cooperation with the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) initiated a follow-up project “Strengthening cooperation on water quality management in Central Asia” funded by Finland. The main objective of the project is to reduce the deterioration of water quality through improved basin-wide, regional cooperation on water quality.

The purpose of the project is to institutionalize water quality cooperation in the Aral Sea basin.
The project aims to achieve two main results:

  1. Strengthened framework established for water quality cooperation in Central Asia
  2. Substantive information on water quality in Central Asia jointly produced and made publicly available.

Information on the results of the project including substantive reports of the meetings organized within the framework of this project 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 are strengthening their cooperation and information exchange. The Russian Federation and Finland are providing funding for the project.

The project facilitates 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. More details on project activities can be found here. A Visual Atlas for Cooperation providing a background to the opportunities of cooperation is found here. A series of cartoons explaining cooperation areas and actors was produced and is available in 4 languages.

Supporting Kazakhstan’s transition towards Green Economy model   UPDATED on 31.12.2018    

The overall objective of the Project is to contribute to Kazakhstan’s long-term environmental sustainability and inclusive economic development, supporting the country's transition to a Green Economy Model. The Project, focusing on the water sector, was launched in 2015 and is being developed in consultation with key stakeholders, in full alignment with the policy priorities of the Government of Kazakhstan. To ensure long-term sustainable impact, the Project builds upon experiences and lessons learnt previously, and synergizes with on-going sustainable development activities. The project launched is funded by the European Union and is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the lead organization, in partnership with UNECE. More information on the project is found here and reports below:

Meetings and other reports ENG RUS
Outcome 1: Water governance in line with Green Economy requirements  
The seminar-training on "Improving Transboundary Water Management" (Astana, Kazakhstan, 7-8 December 2015) Documents
Review of legislation on river basin management plans in Kazakhstan, 2017   PDF
Review of the main challenges of the river basin principles implementation in Kazakhstan and recommendations   PDF
Report on the result of work for harmonization of water balances in Big and Small Uzen, August 2018   PDF
Report on Kick-off Technical Meeting on the Transboundary Rivers Study in Kazakhstan: The Ural River and The Kigach Canal (Uralsk, Kazakhstan, 17 February 2016 and Atyrau, Kazakhstan, 24 February 2016) PDF PDF
Transboundary Rivers Study in Kazakhstan Ural River, February 2017   PDF
Transboundary Rivers Study Kigach Channel, February 2017   PDF
Review and recommendations on the policy of Kazakhstan for transboundary water cooperation (the English version is an excerpt of the full version in Russian) PDF PDF
Report on Kick-off Workshop on Developing Kazakhstan Targets Under The Water and Health Protocol (Astana, Kazakhstan, 1 March 2016) PDF PDF
Baseline study and target indicators to the Protocol on Water and Health May 2017 PDF PDF
Report of the training for trainers from universities on integrated water resources management, August 2016 PDF  
Report of the training for trainers from universities on integrated water resources management, January 2017 PDF  
Report of the training of government staff on integrated water resources management, October-November 2017 PDF  
Report of the training of government staff on integrated water resources management, April 2018 PDF  
Report of the training of government staff on integrated water resources management, May 2018 PDF  
Training module 1: Political aspects of water resources management   PDF
Training module 2: Legal framework and institutional mechanisms for water resources management in the Republic of Kazakhstan   PDF
Training module 3: Economic aspects of water resources management   PDF
Outcome 2: Increased efficiency of water use    
Capacity building of specialists to ensure safety of hydrotechnical installations, (Taraz, 28-30 September 2016)   PDF
Capacity building of specialists to ensure safety of hydrotechnical installations, (Taraz, 12-14 June 2017)   PDF
Report on legal and institutional aspects for dam safety 2017   PDF
Outcome 3: Establishing a modernized environmental governance system    
Work on Strategic Environmental Assessment in Kazakhstan (Astana, Kazakhstan, 17 November 2016)   Video
Establishing a modernized environmental governance system: enhancing national legislative framework for environmental assessment, and implementation of a pilot project on Strategic Environmental Assessment in Kazakhstan Web page

Development of joint measures to prevent and respond to pollution of the Syr Darya river in emergency situations (Syr Darya Project (Phase I))

During the period July 2021 – June 2022, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), in cooperation with the International Water Assessment Centre (IWAC), is implementing a project on the compilation and analysis of information on existing national and joint measures to prevent and respond to pollution in the Syr Darya river basin in emergency situations (Syr Darya Project (Phase I)), thanks to the financial support from the European Union. This work is carried out by the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), with support of the UNECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents (Industrial Accidents Convention), which provide a legal framework to support countries in their efforts to prevent accidental water pollution. More information can be found on the following web-page.

Last update date: April 8, 2022