Central Asia Water Dialogue Meeting
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -
A high level dialogue meeting entitled “Implementation of the IFAS Summit Conclusions and Outcomes of the UN Secretary-General’s visit to Central Asia” took place at the UN Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on 20 July 2010.
Senior officials from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participated in the event. Representatives of the Afghan Government and UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan took part as observers. High level officials of international and regional organizations also attended.
The purpose of the meeting was to review the implementation of the conclusions of the 2009 Summit of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) and to discuss key results of the visit of the UN Secretary-General in April 2010, including his discussions with the leaders of Central Asian countries on the management of common natural resources and the ecological security of the region. A further objective was to provide support for the preparation of the Aral Sea Basin Programme-3 (ASBP-3) and to maintain the momentum in mobilizing the required assistance. The event also served to introduce the participants to the concept of dispute resolution mechanisms for trans-boundary waterways in the context of Central Asia.
The participants had a constructive exchange of views on progress made in strengthening institutions and legal frameworks for water resources management in Central Asia and on related challenges, as mandated by the Declaration of the Summit Meeting. They were informed about the support provided by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in co-operation with GTZ to the IFAS Executive Committee (EC IFAS) and other regional organizations through the Program "Regional Dialogue and Cooperation on Water Resources Management in Central Asia". Representatives of UNDP, EU, OSCE, FAO and other international and regional organizations discussed further possibilities for cooperation with Central Asian states in advancing implementation of the Summit’s decisions. Participants also identified main areas for action based on the Secretary-General’s discussions on water and energy related issues in the region, including further support by the UN to enhance multilateral and bilateral dialogue.
Full support was expressed for the finalization of the ASBP-3 and the organization of the international donors’ conference later this year. The donor community was encouraged to consider additional measures to support the preparation of the Program and its successful and timely implementation.
Participants were presented with an overview of trans-boundary water dispute resolution methods which will be the subject of a specialized seminar to be held by UNRCCA in November. UNRCCA recommended that these elements should be considered in the context of developing a strengthened dispute resolution system for trans-boundary waters in the region, which would help strengthen existing institutional arrangements and agreements.
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