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News: December 2010

CENTRAL ASIAN STATES FINALIZE THE THIRD ARAL SEA BASIN PROGRAM

Source: UNECE, 24.12.2010

On 15 December 2010 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the Board of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) reviewed the draft of the Third Aral Sea Basin Programme and submitted it for approval at the highest political level to IFAS member States. The Programme is a regional action plan for 2011–2015 to alleviate the environmental and socio-economic consequences of the Aral Sea disaster and to facilitate progress towards integrated water resources management and sustainable development in the Aral Sea Basin.

The mandate to develop the new Programme came from the IFAS Summit (28 April 2009, Almaty), where the Heads of Central Asian States expressed their firm commitment to strengthen institutional and legal frameworks for regional water resources management and tasked the Executive Committee of IFAS to develop the new Aral Sea Basin Programme. Since then, a series of meetings of the five Central Asian countries and their regional organizations took place to discuss the needs and priorities for the new Programme. The Executive Committee also established regular coordination with international organizations and donors to ensure support by the international community. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) project “Regional dialogue and cooperation on water resources management in Central Asia”, financed by the Government of Germany through Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH in the framework of the Berlin Water Process, assisted the IFAS Executive Committee in implementation of the Summit’s decisions.

Last week, efforts to prepare a well-structured, effective and realistic action plan culminated in the adoption of the Statement by the Donors and Implementing Agencies on the Occasion of the Presentation of the Third Aral Sea Basin Programme. The Statement confirms that donors fully support the Programme and are ready to work together with the Executive Committee of IFAS and the Governments of IFAS member States in its implementation.

The new Programme covers four areas: integrated water resources management; environmental protection; socio-economic issues and institutional and legal strengthening of water management in the region. It is expected to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, improve preparedness to address new challenges, including climate change, and foster integrated water resources management at the national, river-basin and regional levels.