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No. 14 (389) March 2023


Central Asia, stretching from China in the east to the Caspian Sea in the west, includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, with a population of more than 77 million. The region has sufficient resources to meet demands for water, energy, food and environmental security but coordinated actions and cooperation between the countries is needed to address challenges related to sustainable use of resources due to population growth, economic development and climate change. Transboundary water cooperation is the key for sustaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

To advance transboundary water cooperation and peaceful water allocation the Central Asian countries work together under the umbrella of the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC) in Central Asia. SIC ICWC as an executive body of the Commission fosters transboundary water cooperation and promotes sustainable water management in Central Asia through information collection and dissemination, knowledge production, capacity development, communication, research and expert advice.

Under the proposed initiative, SIC ICWC commits to work closely with the Central Asian countries and other partners to advance evidence-based transboundary water cooperation.

The proposed initiative has three specific objectives:

  1. Data and Knowledge: Establishing robust evidence and knowledge base on transboundary waters in Central Asia
  2. Capacity: Strengthening capacities of relevant actors in evidence-based water related decision-making and monitoring
  3. Influence and Awareness: Increasing research-policy interface in water related fields

To meet these objectives, SIC ICWC will:

  1. Produce new knowledge and research in support of regional policy dialogue on the sustainable use, management and protection of water resources in the context of climate change, including on resource use efficiency, improved water and land productivity, water-energy-food-ecosystem nexus, economic mechanisms, legal frameworks, social and cultural implications;
  2. Renovate databases, information systems and tools in support of monitoring and forecasting of water resources use and water security assessment;
  3. Strengthen capacities by providing tailored and needs-based trainings for different target groups, including on using data and evidence-based research outputs in decision making and planning processes;
  4. Build the community of experts and practitioners from different disciplines and fields, with a particular focus on young professionals and women.

The expected impact of the initiative is to promote inclusive and evidence-based decision making on water related issues in Central Asia with a view of enhanced implementation of related SDG.

The impact is expected to lead to:

  • Increased supply of data and knowledge to inform decision-making, planning and negotiations in support of regional water dialogues and sustainable water management;
  • Increased understanding of the benefits of regional cooperation and sustainable water management coming from evidence base research and data;
  • Enhanced standing and capacity of regional organisations such as the ICWC to act as an operative mechanism of transboundary cooperation;
  • Strengthen capacities of water professionals to understand the needs of other sectors and work in a multilateral environment;
  • Enhanced partnership among experts and professionals from multiple disciplines and sectors at different levels to work together on water security and sustainable development in the context of regional and global water challenges.

Partners: Branches of SIC ICWC in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, national water authorities in five Central Asian states, Basin Water Organizations (BWO AmuDarya and BWO SyrDarya).

SDGs and targets