Results of Ashgabat meeting held under IFAS

Two regional groups on the development of the Action Programme to assist the countries of the Aral Sea Basin (ASBP4) as well as legal experts held a meeting in Ashgabat. The meeting participants verified the positions and agreed on approaches on a regional document and improvement of work of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.

The latest version of the draft programme includes a set of water management measures: optimization of irrigation and innovation in this area, improvement of land reclamation conditions, reconstruction of hydrotechnical facilities of interstate importance, restoration of small local reservoirs in the delta of the Amu Darya River. It is planned to measure the siltation of Central Asian reservoirs, assess river flow regulation, and create analytical platforms in total, more than 30 coordinated regional projects with various components.

The final document includes the project on the study of transboundary rivers Amu Darya, Syr Darya, Zeravshan, as well as the project of the Interstate Commission for Coordination Water, aimed at creating an environmental culture Water and Education.

According to head of the delegation of Kazakhstan, Managing Director of the Department of Transboundary Rivers of the Ministry of Agriculture, Musilim Zhienbayev, the project package includes key components for the countries in the region. Among them are water conservation, including Turkmenistan's initiative for the use of collectordrainage water in various sectors of the economy, support for agricultural producers, renewable energy sources, increase of the productivity of irrigated land, improved health services, creation of hydrometric station, reliable work of hydraulic engineering structures.

The delegation of Uzbekistan, headed by Director of the Information, Analytical and Resource Centre of the Ministry of Water Management of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Vokhidjon Akhmadjanov, proposed the concept The Aral Sea area the zone of environmental innovations. Its implementation provides for the use of biotechnology in the agricultural sector and the reduction of anthropogenic pressure on the environment.

Director of the Tajik Branch of the Scientific and Information Center of the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development, Jalil Buzrukov, focused on the improvement of the IFAS structure. According to the expert, though these issues have been on the agenda since 2009, only in 2018, in frames of Turkmenistan's presidency and in accordance with the results of the Summit of the Heads of the IFAS Founding States, their decision entered an active phase.

It should be noted that during the meeting, the delegation of Tajikistan proposed a 4step model for improving the work of the Fund: specifying goals and objectives, creating a financial base, reforming the management system and modernizing the legal platform.

IFAS is a supersystem consisting of many different elements, and close cooperation is needed in creating an effective platform for protecting water resources, ensuring the sustainable development of the region, and ecological improvement of the Aral Sea zone. IFAS activities should meet the realities of regional development, said the head of the Tajik delegation, Head of the Department of Water and Energy Policy, Development of Science and Technology of the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources of the Republic of Tajikistan Daler Abdurazokzoda.

Those taking part in the meeting focused on the importance of improving the material and technical potential of regional and national water management organizations, maintaining the balance of interests, increasing the practical impact of the Fund and improving the activities of its structures ICSD and ICWC. Turkmenistan's presidency is aimed at enhancing cooperation between the Central Asian countries in resolving environmental and socioeconomic issues. The preparation of the ASBP4 focuses on strengthening the legal and institutional components. The development of the document has entered the final stage. The proposals specified in the document will be finalized and approved within countries with the coordinating role of the IFAS Executive Committee. It is likely that by the end of the year all procedural activities will be completed, emphasized representative of the State Committee for Water Resources of Turkmenistan, Yanov Pashiyev, summarizing the discussions.

The main outcome of the expert meeting in Ashgabat is to develop the strategy of collaborative work and implementation of key tasks. The ASBP is a timetested platform for multidimensional interstate interaction. In this regard, the project of such a multicomponent programme plays the role of an analytical model of a new stage of integration processes in Central Asia.

Source: Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper