UN gathering to promote water cooperation in Central Asia kicks off

Two-day seminar on international water cooperation opens in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

14 March 2011 – A United Nations seminar on international water cooperation opened today in Tajikistan as part of an effort to promote dialogue and strengthen cooperation between Central Asian countries over the use of water and energy resources.

Organized by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the two-day meeting in Dushanbe, the capital, will examine the role of international law, including the UN Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, in boosting regional cooperation on water resources management.

The seminar is being held ahead of the upcoming 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation, declared by a General Assembly resolution initiated by Tajikistan.

With an estimated 64 billion cubic metres of water forming annually from rainfall and melting glaciers, Tajikistan represents 55 per cent of the total water flow in the Aral Sea basin and sits at the core of the Central Asian debate surrounding the regional use and allocation of water resources.

Tajikistan’s current plans to develop new hydropower stations are the central focus of the regional debate on water resources and have raised concerns among downstream countries, especially neighbouring Uzbekistan, where any cut in water could affect its economy.

In April last year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Central Asia on a five-nation tour aimed at reducing tensions between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan over water resources.

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