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News: January 2011

OSCE-SPONSORED CONFERENCE STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF WATER USER ASSOCIATIONS FOR FAIR WATER DISTRIBUTION

Source: Donors.kg, 18.01.2011

Water User Associations (WUAs) need to be better integrated into the system of local self-governance to ensure fair and efficient distribution of irrigation water, participants agreed at an OSCE-sponsored conference that took place in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh today.

“Water User Associations promote efficient management of water. By doing so, they build bridges between ethnic communities and even across international borders and thus play an important role in conflict prevention,” said Hugo Karlsson, the Head of the OSCE Centre’s field office in Osh. “The OSCE Centre as part of its assistance to the south of Kyrgyzstan is expanding its support to local self-governance structures in their efforts to address unequal distribution and improper use of scarce resources, such as water and land.”

Abdybaly Kadyrbekov, responsible for supporting Water User Associations of Kyrgyzstan’s water management and melioration Committee added: “Water resources are the key element of economics of Kyrgyzstan and other countries of the region; prosperity of our farmers and of the whole country depends on the rational management and usage of these resources, and this is an important idem on today’s conference’s agenda”.

Results of an OSCE-commissioned survey on the performance of WUAs in the south of the country were presented at the conference. According to the report, the WUAs is a truly effective format to collectively deal with irrigation problems on the grassroots level; and their capacity needs to be strengthened. To achieve this, staff of selected WUAs and local self-governance bodies will be trained as a part of the OSCE Centre’s support to Kyrgyzstan.