Al­maty Hosts Ecol­ogy Ex­perts From Five Cen­tral Asian Coun­tries

The Baltic Times - - OUR COMMENTARY - An­tanas Duda Paid ar­ti­cle

Re­cently, ecol­ogy ex­perts from Kyr­gyzs­tan, Ta­jik­istan, Uzbek­istan, Kaza­khstan and Turk­menistan held a meet­ing in Al­maty.

Dis­putes re­gard­ing wa­ter re­sources have been aris­ing among the coun­tries of Cen­tral Asia for decades. Dur­ing their meet­ing, the moun­tain­ous coun­tries Kyr­gyzs­tan and Ta­jik­istan, and the lower land coun­tries Uzbek­istan, Kaza­khstan and Ta­jik­istan, who are the main con­sumers of such large trans­bound­ary rivers as Syr Darya and Amu Darya, which form the basin of the Aral Sea (the fourth largest lake in the world), ex­pressed their anx­i­ety re­gard­ing the un­even dis­tri­bu­tion of wa­ter re­sources.

Main reser­voirs, hy­dropower sta­tions and wa­ter stor­ages are lo­cated on the ter­ri­to­ries of Kyr­gyzs­tan and Ta­jik­istan, en­abling in­de­pen­dent con­trol of wa­ter dis­tri­bu­tion for the three neigh­bor­ing coun­tries.

All five coun­tries have been try­ing to re­solve the situation in the most fa­vor­able way for each of them for many years now. All the more so, as the re­gion faces an­other se­ri­ous chal­lenge, such as a threat­en­ing short­age of wa­ter due to rapid melt­ing of glaciers in the moun­tains of Cen­tral Asia.

Many in­ter­na­tional ex­perts iden­tify this situation as an im­pend­ing catas­tro­phe, not only in the Cen­tral Asian re­gion, but all around the world as well. It is this prob­lem able to make a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the wa­ter cri­sis in Cen­tral Asia.

That is in per­spec­tive. In the mean­while, many more es­ca­la­tions are oc­cur­ring re­gard­ing the con­struc­tion of the Ro­gun and Kam­barata Hy­dropower Sta­tion. The Kam­barata Hy­dropower Sta­tion will be the most pow­er­ful sta­tion in Kyr­gyzs­tan, en­abling the ex­port of Kyr­gyz elec­tric­ity. The project of the Ro­gun Hy­dropower Sta­tion is even more am­bi­tious as the pro­jected ca­pac­ity is around 360 MW; how­ever, nei­ther of the coun­tries have suf­fi­cient funds to com­plete the con­struc­tion.

There­fore, the states have not yet reached any ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion re­gard­ing wa­ter re­sources in Cen­tral Asia. Wa­ter con­sump­tion has been

reg­u­lated by the In­ter­state Com­mit­tee Co­or­di­nat­ing Wa­ter Re­sources of Cen­tral Asia, which has been func­tion­ing since 1992 and by the In­ter­na­tional Fund for sav­ing the Aral Sea, founded by Cen­tral Asian coun­tries in 1993. It is op­er­at­ing with ac­tive sup­port from UNO, OSCE, UNESCO, world bank­ing in­sti­tu­tions, and gov­ern­ments of the donor coun­tries. In 2017, a three­year chair­man­ship in OSCE was passed to Turk­menistan, which on the level of the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, em­pha­sizes the ne­ces­sity of a united strat­egy de­vel­op­ment by the coun­tries of the re­gion.

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