Transboundary water management adaptation in the Amudarya basin to climate change uncertainties

SIC ICWC in Central Asia presented the PEER Project results at the 8th World Water Forum in Brazilia

The World Water Forum is the world’s biggest water-related event organized by the World Water Council every three years. In 2018, for the first time the Forum was held in the southern hemisphere – in Brazil. The Forum’s slogan was “Sharing Water”. From 17 to 23 March over 10,000 representatives of authorities, academia and the general public from 172 countries all over the world took part in more than 200 thematic sessions of the Forum.

SIC ICWC of Central Asia was represented in four sessions and was a co-organizer of a side-event. The representative of SIC ICWC highlighted outcomes and recommendations of the PEER/USAID Project “Transboundary Water Management Adaptation in the Amudarya Basin to Climate Change Uncertainties” in each of her speeches or presentations.

Thematic session 8.a.2 “Education and training on water are not costs but investments” (20th of March)

The session addressed issues of education and training for sustainable operation of water supply systems and water management as a whole. Representatives of public authorities, private sector, and regional organizations outlined their motivation for investments in education and training. Speakers mentioned a need for specialized water courses (such as business schools), establishment of links between professional development and career growth, more active application of ICT, increased investments in education and systems-based approach to training.

Representative of Veolia-LATAM told about their broad training programs and underlined that education programs were the key investments for sustainability of water supply systems. D.R.Ziganishina (SIC ICWC) raised the transboundary aspect of discussed issues by describing activities of the ICWC Training center and implemented projects that contributed to development of training materials based on well-proven field practices. Particularly, she mentioned the PEER Project results that would be used in developing a new training module “Water resources and climate change”. Then, the speaker focused on a need for systems-based approach to training and for well-thought adoption of trainings from donor supported projects in the national professional development systems. Ms. Ziganshina also emphasized that we should think not only about water education but also about inclusion of water topics in education on other associated specializations. This became clear during discourse on the establishment of basin councils for the Amu Darya basin under the PEER Project.

Thematic session 9.b.2 “Monitoring, assessment, data and knowledge sharing in transboundary basins” (20th of March)

During the session, the participants discussed how to improve data, information and knowledge collection and sharing to facilitate trust between riparian countries. Mr. Paul Haener from the International Office for Water told about establishment of the information system in the Chu-Talas basin. Mr. Robert Argent from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology showcased the key outcomes of the report “Good practice guidelines for water data management policy”, which was prepared by Australia under the World Water Data Initiative as part of its contribution to the High Level Panel on Water. Among the main seven elements to good practice in water data management he identified the following: 1) identifying the priority water management objectives, 2) strengthening water data institutions, 3) establishing sustainable water data monitoring systems, 4) adopting water data standards, 5) embracing an open data approach to water data access and licensing, 6) implementing effective water data information systems, and 7) employing water data quality management processes.

D.Ziganshina (SIC ICWC) presented the existing regional information system in the Aral Sea basin, while focusing on the data collected during implementation of the PEER Project. The speaker also identified further needed actions for the system. Those include: improvement of reliability of forecasts and access to them, enhancement of ownership among all the riparian countries with regard to data and information production and dissemination, continuation of joint training, development of special mechanisms to bring information to end users, making use of GIS and RS in data collection and models, strengthening of regional research-analytical base, establishment of partnerships with different stakeholders, and seeking of new unconventional interaction mechanisms. She also disseminated project policy briefs and the Summary of project outcomes among the participants.

Side-event “Transboundary water cooperation for food, energy, and environmental security in Central Asia” (21st of March)

The side-event on “Transboundary water cooperation for food, energy and environmental security in Central Asia” was held on the 21st of March 2018. This event was organized by the Central Asian Regional Environmental Center (CAREC) together with the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), Scientific-Information Center of the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination in Central Asia (SIC ICWC) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Brazil H.E. K.Sarjanov, Minister of energy and water of Tajikistan Mr. U.Usmonzoda, Minister of water resources of Uzbekistan Mr. Sh.Khamraev, SDC Assistant Director General Pio Wennubst, Chairman of the Executive Committee of IFAS Mr. G.Bayjanov, Head of department, Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Turkmenistan Mr. B.Mommadov, Deputy Director of SIC ICWC D.Ziganshina and Mr. M.Yakubov from CAREC made presentations at this side-event.

Director of the Department for water and land reclamation, Kyrgyz Ministry of agriculture, food industry and land reclamation Mr. Kokumbek Tashtanaliev, Director of Executive administration of IFAS in Kazakhstan Mr. Bolat Bekniyaz, Director of IFAS GEF Agency in Uzbekistan, country representatives of the Executive Committee of IFAS and Uzbek delegation also participated in work of this session.

The participants underlined the importance of adopting joint affirmative approaches to water management and in addressing environmental water-related problems. Representatives of Central Asian states paid attention to a need for sharing experiences and studying best international practices in water sharing, for investment mobilization, ecosystem development, and innovative approaches for intersectoral coordination, as well as for improvement of water use in different economic sectors and of legal and institutional frameworks. Particular focus was made on more active efforts to address the global problem of the Aral Sea drying up.

D.R.Ziganshina (SIC ICWC) in her presentation showed a unique role of the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination in Central Asia which had been operating to the benefits of the countries for more than 25 years. She also underlined a need for joint measures for mitigation of climate change and improvement of water management in the Amu Darya Basin (based on the outcomes of the PEER Project “Transboundary Water Management Adaptation in the Amudarya Basin to Climate Change Uncertainties”) and outlined directions for follow-up.

Session «Water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus as a tool towards SDGs in the CACENA countries” (22nd of March)

This session was organized as part of the Regional process by the Global Water Partnership for Central Asia and Caucasus. The session was held in form of moderated panel discussion. The panel members included Sh.Kuchkarov, Head of department at the Uzbek Ministry of Water Resources, D.Ziganshina, Deputy Director of SIC ICWC, and F.Abdurakhmanov, Coordinator of water portfolio, CAREC.

Speakers addressed different dimensions of water, food, energy, and ecosystem nexus, including political, socio-economic, institutional, and technical ones. D.Ziganshina (SIC ICWC) noted that it was important to treat the nexus as a part of integrated water resources management process and consider the unique role of water as the basic element of life that cannot be substituted. Such findings were supported also by the research of adaptability of water management in the Amu Darya Basin under the PEER Project. Meanwhile, nexus discussions are still limited by the water community only, except for rare exceptions. Information and knowledge on nexuses are either limited or fragmented in different sectors that lack coordination between each other. Thus, more attention should be paid to matters of education in order to improve understanding of nexuses.


D. Ziganshina: Adaptation to climate change in the Amudarya basin: data, information and knowledge sharing imperative

D. Ziganshina: 25 years of water cooperation within the ICWC in Central Asia: Achievements and tasks for the future