Fostering Regional Institutional Cooperation

Component 1. Fostering Regional Institutional Cooperation

The economies of the five Central Asian states rely heavily on the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers, as well as other transboundary river basins, to meet their water needs. Because of this, their economies are interdependent. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, the countries at the lower reaches of these two rivers, require considerable volumes of water to irrigate their agricultural lands. Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which lie further upstream, have scarcely any raw materials for generating power and are therefore seeking to make more intensive use of hydropower.

Although there are already institutions in Central Asia that regulate matters of water distribution, such as the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC) or the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), their work is hampered by their weak position in the political system. No universally recognised and implemented guidelines are in place for the water sector.

The German Federal Foreign Office (AA) has commissioned the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to help enable the relevant institutions in the region to create sustainable regional water management structures, which take account of issues relating to water use, energy and the climate. These activities are being implemented in close cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Within this first component GIZ will continue to support the Central Asian institutions responsible for managing water distribution such as the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC) or the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea (IFAS). The programme aims to strengthen their institutional capacity and continuity, as well foster cooperation with other regional institutions such as the Interstate Commission for Sustainable Development (ICSD).

Furthermore, GIZ will focus on larger transboundary river basins by up-scaling successful practices gained in smaller river basins during Phase II of the Berlin Process.

Central Asia is a region with scarce water resources, many of which cut across national borders. Countries in the region use these resources intensively, in particular for hydroelectric power generation and irrigation, and conflicts of interest are arising in how these waters are used and shared.

The programme coordinates closely with other major donors and implementing agencies: Swiss Development Cooperation, World Bank, USAID, UNDP, ADB, EU, OECD, OSCE and others.

In the context of implementation of the activities in the framework of the EU actions “Water Management and Basin Organisations in Central Asia”, the GIZ Transboundary Water Management in Central Asia Programme also actively participates and contributes to the National Policy Dialogues of the European Water Initiative.