Water affects all aspects of human civilization. It is an important natural resource, the demand for which has been and remains the driving force in the history of mankind.The availability of water resources determines sustainable global development and global environmental security.
The World Community’s Sustainable Development Goals 2015 – 2030 and the next International Decade of “Water for sustainable development”2018-2028 defines the way for further international cooperation in the development of mankind.
It is well known that one of the mechanisms of international water law is the unique framework document “Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes” (Water Convention, Helsinki, 1992), which for more than a quarter of a century is a legal and intergovernmental platform for cross-border cooperation.
As of today, 41 countries have joined the Water Convention, including countries from Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, thereby reaffirming their commitment to the use of transboundary watercourses based on international water law.
In accordance with the decision of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the Eighth Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention will be held in Astana on October 10-12 of 2018, which will be the first meeting of the parties to the Water Convention in the Asian region. During the meeting, Kazakhstan will take over the chairmanship of the Water Convention for the period of 2019-2021.
Taking into account that the main sources of water supply in Central Asia have the status of transboundary rivers, now there is a desire of the countries for constructive regional cooperation in the field of use and protection of water resources within international and regional organizations.
Over the past 25 years, the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea has carried out a certain amount of work to address the relevant problems of the Aral Sea basin and is the only institutional organization where all five Central Asian countries take part.
Since 1993 IFAS has contributed to ensuing of fulfillment by the countries involved in trans-boundary water cooperation of their intergovernmental duties, with some periodic success. Also passing a quarter of a century, the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in water resources has been stressed in most of joint statements, declarations and programs pertained to the Aral Sea basin either in one form or another.
In this regard, taking into account the urgency of the issue of further strengthening of transboundary water cooperation in Central Asia, the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea together with the Executive Board of IFAS in the Republic of Kazakhstan is holding a side – event dedicated to the 25th anniversary of IFAS within the framework of the planned side events of the Meeting of the Parties of the Water Convention.
The main goal of the side-event is further strengthening and development of international cooperation, attracting the attention of the world community to the current issues of the Aral Sea basin in the context of the results of the IFAS Summit and determining future directions of cross-border cooperation.
Representatives of the UN structural units, international and regional organizations, financial institutions, as well as interested state bodies of Central Asia are expected to actively participate in the side event.
Within the side-event a thematic photo exhibition will be organized, as well as the results of the IFAS-2018 Summit handouts will be disseminated.