Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, June 6
By Huseyn Hasanov – Trend:
An international conference on the topic “The role of water diplomacy in achieving sustainable development in Central Asia” was held in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat, Trend reports referring to the Turkmen Foreign Ministry.
The event was attended by representatives of the UN, as well as of various industries from Central Asian countries.
The main reports were presented by the Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan Magtymguly Bayramdurdyev and the Head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA, headquartered in Ashgabat) Natalia Gherman. Speakers noted the importance of water management at the regional and global levels, the report says.
The importance of establishing cooperation between the UN and the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) was particularly emphasized. Potential challenges to the environmental protection process and opportunities for improving cooperation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals were also considered during the conference.
In Central Asia, rivers are the main source of water resources used for agriculture and industry, the production of electricity, and the supply of drinking water to the population, and almost all of them are transboundary.
The Interstate Commission for Water Coordination was established within the framework of the IFAS, which deals with determining water withdrawal limits in the basins of the largest rivers of the region, taking into account and protecting water resources, and controlling their rational use.
Turkmenistan borders Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Afghanistan and uses water resources coming in accordance with agreed quotas from four trans-boundary rivers, namely the Amu Darya, Tejen, Atrek and Murgab rivers. Turkmenistan is affected by the problem of the ecology of the Aral Sea, which is most noticeable in the country’s northern Dashoguz Region, where problems have arisen with the provision of drinking water, the fight against salinization of cultivation lands, land desertification.