ENHANCED REGIONAL COOPERATION: COORDINATION MEETING ON THE FOLLOW-UP TO THE IFAS SUMMIT IN ALMATY
The important international event “Enhanced regional cooperation: Coordination meeting on the follow-up to the IFAS Summit in Almaty” was held in the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) in Ashgabat, July 14, 2009. Senior representatives of IFAS member-states, principal officials of the Executive Committee of IFAS, high level representatives of UN Agencies, EU, OSCE and relevant international and regional organizations took part on the meeting.
Special representative of the UN Secretary-General; Head of the UNRCCA; Ambassador Miroslav Encha, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers; His Excellency Rashid Mederov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan; Deputy of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Yan Kubish, Executive Secretary of the UN EEC; Deputy of the UN Secretary-General; Assistant of the UNDP manager; Ms. Kory Udovichki, Director of the UNDP Regional Office on Europe and CIS; Mr. Goran Svilanovich, Coordinator of the OSCE Economy and Ecology Service, addressed the welcoming speeches.
Sagit Ibatullin, Chairman of the EC IFAS, presented the policy-making speech about the Summit results and the key actions needed to implement its decisions. Discussion on the regional ecological problems and issues on the water resources management in the Aral Sea Basin took place.
There was a Constructive exchange of views about possible measures with aim to the enhanced regional cooperation in water, agriculture and energy sectors during the meeting. Mr. Alex Grzhibovsky, International Expert on Water Issues of the UNRCCA, had addressed the conceptual presentation.
The proposed concept on mutual benefits of the enhanced dialogue and cooperation was considered; the possible effects on the cooperation activity between Central Asian countries, possible use of this concept in different economy sectors, and also further steps towards the enhanced regional cooperation jointly with international community were discussed.
Participants adopted the final document.
FINAL DOCUMENT ADOPTED BY PARTICIPANTS
A round-table discussion “Enhanced regional cooperation: coordination meeting on the follow-up to the International Fund for Saving Aral Sea (IFAS) summit in Almaty”, took place on 16 July 2009 in the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Representatives of governments of five states of Central Asia, principal officials of the Executive Committee of IFAS and its branches, and also high level representatives of UN Agencies and international and regional organizations took part in the meeting organized by the UNRCCA with support of the government of Turkmenistan.
The meeting has allowed participants to assess/ to review achievements and to discuss the optimal ways of decisions implementing adopted on the IFAS Summit. During the meeting there was a Constructive exchange of views about possible measures with aim to enhance the regional cooperation in water, agriculture and energy sectors that will contribute to the socio-economical conditions improvement in the Aral Sea Basin. Representatives of Central Asian states welcomed the UNRCCA availability to support and encourage development of the mutually acceptable mechanism for integrated use of water and energy resources and environment protection in Central Asia considering interests of all states in the region.
Participants underlined significance of the clear expressed political wills by presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan about further improving of the organizational structure and contractual-legal basis of the IFAS presented during the meeting on the IFAS Simmit on 28 April, Alamaty.
It was emphasized that more effective functioning of regional structures under the sound modern legal basis will promote development of the mutually benefit decisions about water and energy resources in the region. Strengthening the IFAS institutional structure and the updated contractual-legal base facilitate the confidence building between the participating states and allows to create the reliable guarantees for implementing the mutual agreed decisions on the water and energy management issues in the region.
Participants recognized importance of coordination between donors and international organizations, and welcomed "Central Asia Water Sector Coordination Initiative - CAWSCI" as an effective tool for current and planned measures in water sector, appealing to join new partners and donors. It was emphasized that relevant international organizations and institutions have to assist effectively to the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea.
Participants noted that the effective coordination of donors' activity at the regional level and support of constant consultations between IFAS, the UN special agencies, financial institutes and donors' community including during development of 3d Programme on the Aral Sea Basin were given the special importance at the IFAS Summit. In this connection they had expressed readiness to consider proposals of the IFAS Executive Committee to organize the conference on coordination of donors' activity jointly with international partners.
At the meeting the concept about mutual benefits, which is aimed to improving the mutually advantageous cooperation in Central Asia, which will be further considered on October 2009 at the seminar "Mutually advantageous agreements on water and energy use: possibilities to increase effectiveness and to obtain mutual benefit in the water-energy and agricultural sectors in Central Asia", which will be organized by the UNRCCA in collaboration with FAO Programme, was presented.
WORLD WATER FORUM 2012 - HOST COUNTRY AND CITY SELECTED
On 19 June 2009, the World Water Council selected Marseille, France as the city and country to host the 2012 World Water Forum. The selection followed a rigorous process for evaluating the candidates and a final vote from the Council’s Board of Governors. The World Water Forum is the world’s largest water gathering that brings together over 20,000 political leaders, NGOs, government officials, water professionals, and scientists every three years. “Thank you for your confidence and for this important challenge you have given us”, said Martine Vassal, Deputy Mayor of Marseille.
In an effort to benefit from the excellent quality of the two final candidatures, France and South Africa, the Governors of the World Water Council suggested that the countries work hand in hand. “Our engagement to host the World Water Forum in 2012 is very strong and we really want to work together to bring solutions to the world’s water challenges,” Vassal continued, stressing the candidates’ will to join forces. Prior to the vote, South Africa and France both had agreed to a partnership for the preparation of the next Forum. As such, when Marseille was selected, it extended an invitation to Durban, South Africa to be a full partner in the years running up to the Forum. “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”, said one of the participants in the Board, emphasizing the unique opportunity that this partnership entails. After extending his congratulations to France, Kevin Wall, Alternate Governor of the World Water Council representing the South African candidacy, committed the full support of South Africa to the success of the World Water Forum in 2012 in Marseille. “We are very happy to be part of this process and enthusiastic to offer our experience.”
The French candidacy showcased a will to engage people regionally in the global debate around water, but at the same time made it clear that debate is not enough. Through its candidacy, France committed to making the World Water Forum in 2012, “the Forum of Solutions”, drawing from the many concrete successes that France has had in the environmental domain.
The Council’s decision comes three months after the successful 5th World Water Forum that took place in Istanbul (Turkey) in March. During its meeting in Madrid, the Council’s Board of Governors also reviewed the outcomes of this Forum. It commented on the major progress made through the signing of the Istanbul Water Consensus by over 100 cities from around the world. The accord promotes local action to deliver water and sanitation services and manage water resources sustainably. Over 20,000 people from 182 countries participated in the 5th World Water Forum, under which 90 Ministers, 250 Parliamentarians and 300 Mayors.
The Council’s Board committed to put in place a thorough follow-up to the 5th World Water Forum feeding into the preparations of the World Water Forum 2012. In particular, more emphasis will be put on consultations with stakeholders at the (sub) regional level so as to ensure that sound proposals for solutions to the world water crisis are put forward in Marseille in 2012.
The meeting of the World Water Council’s Governors comes as we are at a crossroads in how we use and govern the world’s limited resources. Increasingly citizens and political leaders recognize that water forms a vital element for vibrant economies and healthy societies, and is key to sustain the ecosystems we depend on. Yet, despite growing attention, water resources continue to dwindle and billions still lack access to proper water supply and sanitation.
The Council’s Governors reviewed this situation and discussed the strategic directions for the World Water Council. They expressed a clear need to deepen the dialogue on vital issues such as sanitation and the linkages between water, energy and agricultural production. They also indicated the need to broaden the engagement for water involving a wider variety of stakeholders that depend and impact on water resources. Furthermore, they indicated the need to mobilize further political will, for example to realize the Millennium Development Goals or to adapt to climate change and pro-actively prepare for disasters.
Hosted by its Spanish member organizations and the Canal Isabel II Foundation, the Board finally discussed its General Assembly in October 2009 when the full Council with its over 200 members will meet to agree upon the strategic directions for the years to come.