Turkmenistan-Afghanistan: cooperation in the water management sphere

The Turkmen-Afghan Coordination Group on water management issues held a regular session in the conference hall of the Archabil Hotel.

The two-day event was attended by the representatives of the State Committee for Water Managemen, the State Border Service, the Garagumderyasuvhojalyk Association, as well as industrial water management associations of the Ahal, Lebap and Mary regions. The delegation of Afghanistan includes the heads and leading specialists of the foreign policy department, the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, the department of geodesy and cartography of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, etc.

Water diplomacy is a significant vector of the foreign policy of Turkmenistan. The international initiatives, put forward by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly and other major forums, are aimed at intensifying the regional and interregional dialogue on the wide spectrum of water issues. In particular, it concerns the issues of developing a mutually acceptable mechanism for the integrated and balanced use of transboundary water resources, which should be decided based on the generally accepted norms and principles of international law, taking into account the interests of all states in the region as was emphasized by the President of Turkmenistan.

The issue is important due to the fact that in Central Asia, the main sources of water resources used for agriculture and industry, electricity production, the supply of drinking water to the population, are rivers and almost all of them are transboundary rivers. Therefore, the Intergovernmental Coordination Water Management Commission was established within the framework of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea to co-manage transboundary waters. Among the main tasks, set to the agency, was the determination water withdrawal limits in the basins of the largest rivers in the region, accounting and preservation of water resources, monitoring their rational use, etc. The responsibility for the implementation of decisions, operation and maintenance of water facilities rests upon the Amudarya and Syrdarya Basin Water Management Organizations.

Presiding over the IFAS in 2017-2019, Turkmenistan pays the most attention to this area of cooperation as the most important factor in the sustainable socio-economic development of the states of the region, their energy, environmental and food security, adaptation to climate change.

Along with this, our country takes concrete steps to establish the efficient system of joint water use at the bilateral level. In this context, the special importance is attached to the cooperation with the core structures in Afghanistan, on the territory of which, according to experts, up to 20% of the Amu Darya flow form and the Murgab and Tedjen rivers have their sources.

It should be noted that the current meeting of the Turkmen-Afghan Coordination Group is the third meeting of the water sector specialists from neighboring states, organized with the support of the Regional Program Transboundary Water Management in Central Asia of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).

Summing up the meeting, participants called for the further enhancement and development of cooperation between Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the joint use of transboundary water resources, based on the norms and principles of international law and mutual interests of the parties.

The relevant Protocol will be signed on the outcomes of the meeting.

Source: Turkmenistan State News Agency-TDH