The Berlin Process

The German Federal Foreign Office’s Central Asia Water Initiative (the ‘Berlin Process’) was launched in April 2008 at the Berlin conference ‘Water Unites- New Perspectives for Cooperation and Security’. On 7-8 March 2012, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Germany acknowledged in a Joint Declaration the success of Phase I of the ‘Berlin Process’ and expressed their joint intention to continue and deepen the cooperation in Phase II. In September 2015, the third Berlin conference will take place, marking the launch of Phase III of the Berlin Process (2015-2017).

The Berlin Process is an offer by the Federal Government of Germany to the countries of Central Asia to support them in water management and to make water a subject of intensified transboundary cooperation.

It is open to all stakeholders in the region and an important supplement to the EU Strategy for a New Partnership with Central Asia which was adopted during the German EU presidency in June 2007.

The primary goal of the German initiative is to trigger a process of political rapprochement in Central Asia that leads to closer cooperation in the use of the scarce water resources and may result in joint water and energy management in the long term.

The Berlin Process consists of an approach on three levels:

Political-institutional:

Supporting institutions in establishing effective water management and coherent policies

Scientific-technical:

Establishing reliable data bases, supporting measures designed to enhance efficiency and developing new technical solutions

Capacity building:

Developing professional capacities necessary for integrated water resources management

Full text of Joint Declaration of the conference “Blue diplomacy for Central Asia” can be found here.

Speech given by the Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany Mr. Guido Westerwelle at the conference “Blue diplomacy for Central Asia” can be found here (in German).

Press Statement on the conference by the German Federal Foreign Office can be found here for 2012 and here for 2015 (in German).

More information on the water initiative for Central Asia can be accessed on the website of the German Federal Foreign Office (in German).

More detailed information about EU Policy for Central Asia is available under following links:

For EU Policy on Central Asia: EU Policy on Central Asia (website of the German Federal Foreign Office)

The EU and Central Asia: Strategy for a New Partnership (PDF)

Germany and Central Asia: Germany’s Central Asia Strategy (PDF)

More detailed information about the Berlin Process

Central Asia: Words must be backed up by action  – newsletter “Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation”, June 2008

Opening speech by Minister Steinmeier at the International Conference ‘Water Unites – New Perspectives for Cooperation and Security’, 01.04.08  (website of the German Federal Foreign Office, in German language)

Speech by Minister of State Erler at the EU Foreign Ministerial Conference with the five Central Asian states, 15.09.09  (website of the German Federal Foreign Office, in German language)

The most extensive element of the Berlin Process is the ‘Transboundary Water Management in Central Asia’ programme carried out by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office. GIZ is implementing measures to foster cooperation in the Central Asian water sector and to improve the lives of people in the region, closely collaborating with national, international and regional partners such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC). Phase II of the programme was co-financed by the European Union. The total funding amounted  23 million euros, including 2 million euros provided by the EU from 2012 to 2014.