Upon invitation, SLU-CA participated in the international conference, “The Role of Water Diplomacy in Achieving Sustainable Development in Central Asia”, held in honour of the International Environmental Protection Day*.
Representatives of international environmental entities working in Turkmenistan came together to address how trans-boundary water resources management could be better achieved via “water diplomacy”. During the conference, a new collaboration between the United Nations (UN) and the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS)* initiated by Turkmenistan was introduced. Mr. Torsten Brezina, the Cluster coordinator of GIZ’s Regional Programmes, described how the German government is assisting IFAS via two regional programmes: TWM CA*, which supports IFAS and its Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC)*, and SLU-CA, which supports the Interstate Commission for Sustainable Development (ICSD)*, especially in developing the Regional Environment Programme for Sustainable Development in Central Asia (REP4SD). The collaboration was framed as a partnering opportunity for overcoming the diverse ecological, socio-economical and humanitarian consequences of the ongoing Aral Sea disaster.
The conference participants also discussed regional environmental challenges and ways to achieve the UN-led Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)*, while international organisations working in the field of environmental security and water management took an opportunity to share their various experience in Turkmenistan and the broader region.
International Environmental Protection Day – is celebrated on the 5th of June every year, and is the United Nation’s principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment.
IFAS – International Fund for Saving the Aral Seais an interstate organization developed by the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination of Central Asia (ICWC) to raise funds and implement joint regional environmental and research programmes and projects aimed at improving the environmental and socio-economic situation in the basin. Primary goals include stabilizing and improving the environment of the Aral Sea Basin, rehabilitating the disaster zones around the sea, improving water resource management, and increasing the capacity of local and state institutions for planning and implementing programs.
TWM-CA – Regional GIZ programme “Transboundary water resources management in Central Asia” is active in each of the five Central Asian states on behalf of German Federal Foreign Office and supports the Central Asian institutions regulating matters of water distribution at regional level. ICWC – Interstate Commission for Water Coordination. On February 18, 1992 in Almaty, five Ministers of Water Resources of the Central Asian states signed the “Agreement on cooperation in joint management, use and protection of transboundary water courses”. This Agreement had actually established a single body – the ICWC. In 1993 ICWC was included in the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) and has the status of an international organization.
ICSD – Interstate Commission for Sustainable Developmentwas established in 1994 by a Decision of the Interstate Council for the Aral Sea. The main purpose of the Commission is to coordinate and manage regional cooperation on environment and sustainable development in countries of Central Asia, to ensure development of proposals to determine the priorities of the basin and conduct research and development work aimed at environmental rehabilitation of the Aral Sea region.
SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030.