THE SPECA WORKING GROUP MEETING CONSIDERED HOW TO IMPROVE COOPERATION ON WATER AND ENERGY
The XXVI session of the Working Group on Water, Energy and Environment within the governing structure of the UN Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan on November 7, 2023.
The SPECA Program was launched in 1998 to facilitate cooperation in the Central Asia region and integration of the latter into the world economy. The SPECA participating countries are Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. UNECE and ESCAP jointly provide overall support to the activities under the Program.
The XXVI session of the Working Group was moderated by Zulfiya Suleimenova, Special Advisor of the President of Kazakhstan on International Environmental Cooperation.
At the beginning of the meeting, representatives of UNECE and ESCAP talked on the activities done in 2022-2023 and the work planned for 2024-2025.
Further, the information on the current state on water-food-energy nexus in the region was presented. Director of SIC ICWC, Dinara Ziganshina reported on the main provisions of the diagnostic report “Rethinking institutional and financial mechanisms on water and energy cooperation in Central Asia". OECD representative, Takayoshi Kato shared the plans to study financing of the water-energy-land nexus in Central Asia as part of IKI project “Regional mechanisms for the low-carbon, climate-resilient transformation of the energy-water-land nexus in Central Asia”.
Representatives of UNECE and OECD made presentations on green hydrogen in Central Asia. Green hydrogen is seen as an important factor in the global transition to sustainable energy and a net-zero emission economy. However, hydrogen production is a very water- and energy-intensive process, which requires thorough study of the nexus aspects.
Representatives of Central Asian countries talked on challenges and achievements under the water-food-energy nexus focusing on innovative solutions and successful practices.
In conclusion, relevant decisions and recommendations were made.