On March 21, 2018, on the margins of the 8th World Water Forum, a side event entitled “Transboundary water cooperation for food, energy and environmental security in Central Asia” was organized by the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC) in cooperation with the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), the Scientific Information Center of the Interstate Coordination Water Commission of Central Asia (SIC ICWC) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The speakers were Kazakhstan Ambassador to Brazil Kairat Sarzhanov, Minister of Energy and Water Resources of Tajikistan Usmonzoda Usmonali, Minister of Water Resources of Uzbekistan Shavkat Khamrayev, Head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Pio Vennubst, Chairman of the Executive Committee of IFAS Guizgeldy Baydzhanov, Head of the Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and water economy of Turkmenistan Begench Mommadov. Also, the session was attended by Director of the Department of Water Management and Reclamation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Industry and Melioration of Kyrgyzstan Kokumbek Tashtanaliev, Director of the Executive Board of IFAS in Kazakhstan Bolat Bekniyaz, Director of the International Center for Water Assessment in Kazakhstan Serik Akhmetov, representatives of SIC ICWC, CAREC and others.
The participants of the event stressed the importance of adopting joint constructive approaches in the management of water resources and solving environmental problems related to water. Representatives of the Central Asian states focused on the need to exchange experience and learn about best practices in the field of joint use of water resources, attract investment, develop ecosystems, introduce new approaches to intersectoral coordination, improve the efficiency of water use in various sectors of the economy, expand the scientific and analytical base on water resources management, improvement of legal and institutional mechanisms. Particular emphasis in the discussion was made on the activation of joint efforts to solve the general planetary problem of drying up of the Aral Sea. In this context, Ambassador Kairat Sarzhanov noted the importance of attracting financial assistance from international donors from among developed countries, financial institutions and international organizations, as well as developing concrete measures and initiatives to prevent further deterioration of the ecological situation in the Aral Sea area. Stressing the importance of establishing a mechanism regulating the use of limited water resources, taking into account the interests of all countries in the region, the Kazakh diplomat urged all stakeholders to use the platform of the Eighth Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes of the United Nations, to be held in Astana in October this year, to achieve specific agreements in the field of sustainable water resources management in the region.