Management of water resources – a vital task of the Central Asian region

Recently, the capital of Turkmenistan has hosted the Fifth Central Asian Expert Forum of the Central Asian region organized by the Scientific Centre of Strategic Studies of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan with assistance of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA). The conference was held within the framework of events devoted to the 27th anniversary of neutrality of Turkmenistan.

For the first time in Ashgabat, heads and leading experts of Scientific Centres of Strategic Studies of the Central Asian region came together. Heads and representatives of diplomatic missions of the Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy took part in the conference. The academic staff and student youth of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country took an active part in the forum and numerous representatives of mass media were invited.

One of the most important issues included on the agenda for discussion became management of water resources of the region at the round table of experts. Moreover, it is not without reason that all without exception were interested in stability and peaceful solution of water issues.

After independence in new states of the region for place of planned indicators, there came national interests and laws of market relations. In its turn, the economic growth in countries and commissioning of new facilities caused increase in water consumption. However, all the countries understand that the water issue is connected with energy and food security of the entire region. At that, the factor of demographic growth of population is also taken into account. Water is a key link connecting regional states. And here one should make a conclusion that only efficient, joint and complex management of water resources will facilitate socio-economic development of the region as a whole.

In their speeches, all participants of the forum noted urgency of water problem and necessity of joint efforts in this area.

For example, leading Kazakh expert S.Kushkumbayev pointed out: «In five countries of Central Asia – Kazahstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan today about 76 million people live. 22 million people –almost the third part of population does not have an access to safe water. This problem is epically acute in the rural area. It is expected that by 2050 the population of the region will increase as many as 90–110 million people. Urbanization, climate warming continue and growth of industry will intensify pressure on organic water resources».

As solution to this issue, in future S.Kushkumbayev considers it right «to introduce practice of cooperative world in the sphere of water management. Perhaps, it will be expedient to create the public company for sustainable management of water resources with attraction of investment in the water sector».

Moreover, at the conference and after it other expert evaluations were sounded on water problem. Deputy Director of the National Institute of Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Doctor of Political Sciences Kanatbek Azizovich Aziz noted, “Problems, which Central Asia faces Asia as a result of inevitable climate change, literally push our countries into bosoms of each other. No doubt, that in this area much has been done. Anyway, it is not suffice to say that we have taken into account all vulnerability in the regional system of traditional security, which emerged because of climate change. Development of the region should be climate- centred and maximally even. Only well-balanced development where all countries feel themselves equal partners, can expand opportunities for regional cooperation”.

For efficiency of cooperation, K.Aziz offers:

– Creation of the integrated research institute, which will be engaged in research of climate change in the region and development of ideas on minimization of consequences and adaptation to these changes;

Foundation of the regional climate fund which will be financed by all countries of the region and attract investment for projects and programs.

Turkmen specialists also set forward their own viewpoints on management of water resources. For example, head of the Department of IIR of MFA of Turkmenistan A.Omarova marked that “water diplomacy is stipulated by the geopolitical location of Turkmenistan and harmoniously blends with the policy of water supply of countries of the entire region of Central Asia. It is noteworthy to point out that the initiative of Turkmenistan within the framework of the system of water diplomacy takes its beginning from the 7th global water form held in 2015 in Taegu of South Korea. This initiative became a starting point of formation of the new diplomatic course in the United Nations, namely water diplomacy.

As known, in 2012 Turkmenistan joined the Convention of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on use and protection of trans border waters and international lakes». In the document, it was defined that rational and just use of water resources should be carried out taking into account trans-border peculiarities. Namely, such approach from the side of Turkmenistan is maintained in preservation of ecological peculiarities of the Aral Sea basin. Turkmenistan in this area makes much effort for realization of definite and efficient work”.

Senior research worker of the Türkmensuwylymtaslama Institute of the State Water Economy Committee of Turkmenistan Nurmuhammet Taylyev also keeps the same position. He noted, “Turkmenistan acts actively with initiative of reasonable use of water and steadily carries out solution of all issues connected with rational use of water resources of Central Asia on the basis of principle of mutual respect and taking into account generally accepted standards and international law”.

Turkmenistan understands importance of adaptation to climate change in the country as the country is also vulnerable to this problem. It is for this reason that efficient measures and technologies developed by researchers and specialists at present with assistance of the UN were included in the state program of development of the agricultural industry of Turkmenistan for 2019-2025, that envisages application of water saving technologies for any investment in land and water sectors.

Source: Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper