20.07.2012 []

UNECE supports improved management of water information in Central Asia

Participants in a knowledge exchange workshop, “Strengthening Analysis for Integrated and Adaptive Water Resources Management”, held from 4 to 6 July in Almaty, adopted the principles and directions for a medium-term (three-to-five year) road map to develop water data management, as well as modelling of water flow, use and other aspects in the Aral Sea Basin. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) — building on its numerous multilateral environmental agreements applicable in the region in the areas of water, public participation and access to information, industrial accidents and environmental impact assessment — will play an active role in the implementation of relevant parts of the road map.

The workshop, organized by the World Bank, the Swiss Development Corporation and UNECE, brought together some 50 Government representatives and experts from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as regional organizations and donors.

At the workshop, participants underlined the importance of reliable information for the integrated management of water resources in Central Asia. For the future it was a challenge to combine available data, such as publicly available satellite imagery, with national and local data. Improved exchange of comparable data between the countries in Central Asia, dependent on each other for their shared waters, was also highlighted. It was also agreed to develop a set of linked models for the Aral Sea Basin for the analysis on different levels: Aral Sea Basin, individual rivers, sub-basins and countries. Those models should serve both short-term operational purposes, like flood control and agreement of water release regimes, and long-term planning, including on economic and social issues. Participants moreover emphasized the need for further analysis and modelling in the development of national and regional strategies for climate change adaptation.

When discussing institutional and legal aspects, participants highlighted the importance of easy-to-interpret information for efficient decision-making and for the public, as well as the necessity to develop a coherent legal basis for regional cooperation in information management.

Results of the project, Regional Dialogue and Cooperation on Water Resources Management in Central Asia, which is implemented by UNECE, in particular proposals on the modernization and strengthening of regional institutions and legal frameworks, as well as water monitoring and data exchange, also served as a background to the discussions. The meeting also built on experiences from the UNECE participation in the Central Asian Regional Water Information Base (CAREWIB) project.

For more information please contact

Mr. Bo Libert, UNECE
Phone: +41 (0)22 917 2396
E-mail: bo.libert@unece.org, or

Mr. Marton Krasznai, UNECE
Phone: +41 (0)22 917 2760
E-mail: marton.krasznai@unece.org

Source: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe