Previous Home Next

No. 9 (207) July 2012


Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan, 4-6 July 2012

The seminar was organized under the sponsorship of SDC, UNECE, the European Commission and the World Bank, USAID, DfID through Multi-donor Trust Fund and the Trust Fund of SECO. Seminar was also supported by EC IFAS and SIC ICWC.

The workshop was attended by 75 participants from six countries of the region (including the delegation of Afghanistan - 6 persons), regional organizations and international agencies.

Before the seminar, the World Bank issued a document which included the following prerequisites for this forum:

The countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan use transboundary water resources of the Syrdarya and Amudarya rivers, and exploit infrastructure, built on these rivers. The uneven distribution of water resources requires a coordinated management of social and economic processes. The coordination importance strengthen as countries strive to achieve the national development goals, as well as water and energy self-sufficiency through infrastructure projects in all countries. In addition, new and serious challenges of water resources use due to population growth and the anticipated impacts of climate change appear.

Countries are seeking to address the problems, and decision making will become more complex with changes in the resources base, as well as the development priorities of countries in the Aral Sea Basin. One of the essential elements of data management issues is the constructive modern knowledge base for water resources management, which uses existing systems and opportunities in the region, and as much as possible new technologies and tools. This need is fully given in the Aral Sea Basin Program 3 of IFAS.

Experienced managers of water resources management and previous investments for the knowledge base on development of integrated water resources management is a positive moment in Central Asia. The work continues, including IFAS's initiatives on modeling, the work programs of some countries concerning the water sector reform (e.g., Kazakhstan and Tajikistan) and initiatives of donor organizations on support of information development and capacity building (e.g., the CAREWIB project: Central Asian Regional Water Information Base) funded by the Swiss Government, the Central Asian Program on Energy and Water Resources funded by the World Bank, UN, the Program of institutional strengthening of UNECE-GIZ. However, questions remain, and there are ways to help at the national and regional levels aiming to implement of modern set of tools for the effective and sustainable management of water resources within the republics and for establishing interstate exchange.

During the seminar the issue how modern approaches and new analytical tools can help to improve data collection, modeling, and skills for integrated water resources management was discussed. Owing to discussing, the possibilities and priorities for extending the analysis in the six countries of the Aral Sea Basin and within regional institutions in Central Asia were defined.

Three key issues related to integrated decision support system on integrated water resources management were discussed:

  1. Information Base,
  2. Analysis (modeling),
  3. Capacity Building (including for institutions).

As a result of three days of discussions, the draft "road map" for creating a single regional information space for support of integrated water resources management was proposed.

The Road Map includes seven components: six national ones and regional one (the last one is to balance national priorities for water resources use in the Aral Sea Basin and their links with regional restrictions and requirements).

To develop the Road Map, the workshop participants agreed eight fundamental principles:

COOPERATION: 1. Balance of national and regional interests (ownership process) 2. The emphasis on national and regional consultations

KNOWLEDGE: 1. Models are addressed to regional and national priorities and constraints, 2. Information presentation is in accessible and user-friendly form.

Open Sources: 1. Maximize the use of open source of data; all information products and models should be used by society, 2. Data "from the top" and "from the bottom" is properly aggregated.

POTENTIAL and ARRANGEMENT: 1. Human and technical resources should be strengthened with high technologies. 2. Create institutional and financial sustainability of the system.

Each "Rroadmap" should include three components: data, models and capacity building.

Regarding data, participants came to agreement with the followings:

  • A complete inventory of data sources (metabase on all data available from the top and bottom)
  • Assess data needs and priorities on the basis of modeling requirements
  • Create publicly available information and knowledge platform:
    • Compatible with data format and operational systems
    • data integration from top and bottom
  • Provide coordination of data collection network, data producing and control
  • Set the data exchange principles - concluding an agreement of data exchange - providing data available for society
  • Develop and disseminate user friendly information products (e.g., Bulletins of the UN Preventive Diplomacy Center)

Concerning the models:

  • Evaluate usefulness and availability of existing models and to plan developing the needed models for:
    • Planning with consideration of investments, exploitation, climate change
    • Operating in the real time (including, during flooding and low water)
    • Special model (e.g., water quality and salt management, water saving etc.)
  • Organizing technical seminars to identify needs in the models at the national and regional (basin) levels (water balance, simulation systems, optimization, multicriterion analysis, etc.) and in the relevant data.
  • Creating/improving and linking the models
  • Developing visualization of modelling and communication systems

Regarding capacity building, participants came to agreement about the followings:

  • Assessing needs on capacity building
  • Organize network of professionals including high educational and academic institutes); conducting forums of professionals
  • Develop training and workshops
  • Organize a long-term capacity building system
  • Create technical working groups of experts
  • Involve decision-makers
  • Strengthen equipping of organization and to provide reliable communication system.

World Bank will prepare a detailed report on seminar, which will be sent to countries for approval in mid-August. To prepare the project proposal on the Roadmap implementation up to November after consultations with countries.

V.I.Sokoklov, SIC ICWC