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News: February 2009

OSCE SUPPORTS KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGYZSTAN IN MANAGING TRANSBOUNDARY WATER RESOURCES

6 February 2009, more than 20 experts and government officials from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the OSCE met in Bishkek to discuss transboundary water resources.

In response to regular difficulties with managing jointly used water infrastructure and resource allocation on the Chu and Talas rivers, the governments of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan signed an agreement on the use of water management infrastructure in 2000 and, with the help of a joint OSCE/UNECE/UNESCAP project, established a joint commission on the use of the rivers' water in 2006.

The Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, with support from Finland and in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, is continuing its work with the countries and their commission with a project to update methodologies of co-funding and develop unified methodologies for measuring water volumes, among other activities.

"This meeting brings together officials and technical experts, and offers a good chance to discuss our future steps and activities, to improve the work of the commission and clearly define an implementing strategy," said Barataly Koshmatov, the Co-Chairman of the Chu-Talas Commission from Kyrgyzstan.

"The first OSCE project on the Chu and Talas rivers constituted a breakthrough in water relations in Central Asia, and demonstrated a new approach to solve issues related to the shared responsibility and management of transboundary water resources," said Saba Nordstrom, Environmental Adviser of the OSCE.

Participants will present the planned activities under the project at today's meeting, which will be followed by a meeting of the secretariat of the joint commission.

Source: CARNet, 10.02.2009

5 237 GLACIERS COVERING A TOTAL OF 6 336 SQUARE KILOMETERS REGISTERED IN KYRGYZSTAN

In Kyrgyzstan there have been registered 5 237 glaciers covering a total area of 6 336 square kilometers. Press service of National Science Academy reported referring to Central Institute for Applied Research of the Earth (TSIIZ).

However, according to this data, despite these seemingly impressive figures, the area and number of home ice has been steadily declining. There are several reasons: natural processes of climate change on our planet and human economic activity, leading to emission of greenhouse effect.

The accelerated melting of glaciers have a negative impact on the ecology of the region as a whole press-service of National Science Academy reports. Tien-Shan mountain system is located in the heart of the Asian continent at an altitude of about 42-43 degrees. However, formation of glaciers in the context of mid-latitudes is possible only on the ridges, at the height of 4 thousand 100 meters or more above sea level. As a general rule, the glaciers are most notably disappearing at the low ridges. Usually, the retreating glaciers form lakes, which can cause significant damage to human settlements and urban infrastructure - roads, bridges, power lines.

Thus, if climate warming will continue to move at such paces the glaciers on most of the low ridges may disappear. In Kyrgyzstan, ranges located in the south of the republic such as Chatkal, Talas, in the Northern Tien Shan - Kungey-Ala-Too can be hit hard. On the southern slope of Kungey-Ala-Too may disappear up to 70-75% of glaciers by 2050. This would entail the problem of water supply for villages and cities in the country, National Science Academy of KR stated.

Source: CARNet, 10.02.2009