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Resolution of the session
“IWRM AS A BASIS FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN CENTRAL ASIA”

The session participants underlined that the period passed after the 3-rd World Water Forum (Kyoto 2003) was a sort of milestone on the way to implementation of IWRM principles in water sector to meet MDGs in Central Asian countries. Now is a proper momentum when it is necessary to move from discussions of the concept and formulation of approaches to more active practical actions. It is necessary to involve into process not only governmental officials and water professionals, but also other stakeholders as well as wide representation of civil society.

The key regional water related issues, challenges and commitments were discussed by the session participants within the two panel discussions:

Panel 1: Testing of the Practical Ways to Implement IWRM Concept in Central Asia within the Pilot Projects

Panel 2: Multi Stakeholder Dialogue on Ways for Future Water Resources Development in Central Asia

In the result of these discussions the following outputs were formulated:

The Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC) is recognized in the countries of region and beyond as a key conductor of started process of reformation of water sector towards practical use of IWRM principles. The collaboration of this Commission with Interstate Commission for Sustainable Development in Central Asia, same as involvement of the key stakeholders (including CAREC, GWP CACENA) is crucial for meeting MDGs related to water.

There is full understanding of IWRM concept among stakeholders from all five countries of the region, and this understanding has been disseminating among civil society through public awareness campaigns under the aegis of ICWC and GWP CACENA and virtual dialogue via web: www.forum.cawater-info.net.

Almost in all countries of Central Asia the concept of IWRM is officially recognized as a base of state policy in a field of development of water sector. The Governments expressed formal political support to IWRM concept in all countries, and Kazakhstan even expressed full commitment for practical IWRM implementation.

A number of the pilot projects ongoing in the region are good basis to justify practical measures in water management reforms. The pioneer experience of preparing the National IWRM Plan in Kazakhstan (supported by the UNDP, the Committee of Water Resources of Kazakhstan, and the GWP) shows that developing the concept needs to be performed by the national coordinating board that has to include stakeholders from all water-related sectors and all territorial units of river basins rather than by foreign specialists requested by the donors.

The special attention is required for legal and financial justification of IWRM and establishing its legislative basis, improving water charging mechanisms, legal and financial coordination of efficient water use aspects at all hierarchic levels; specifying the role of the Government in the case of Water Users Associations and other forms of public participation; establishing water-saving funds; elaborating the environmental water requirements and ensuring nature priority under water allocation procedures.

Experience of multi-stakeholder project IWRM in Fergana Valley (SDC-IWMI-ICWC) indicated importance of complex approach for IWRM implementation, which includes the following activities:

  • The wide public participation in water governance and management at all hierarchic levels is demanded. The legal registration of Public Water Councils, Canal Committee Boards and Water Users Associations, the financial mechanisms for their involvement, training and wide popularization of IWRM principles and achievements with all stakeholders participation.
  • Application of the information-management systems in combination with water measurements and SCADA.
  • The capacity development for IWRM implementation is one of the priority activities in the region. At present, the training system of ICWC (including Training Center and four its branches) became the standing round table where representatives of water management organizations and water users and other stakeholders have an opportunity to express their opinion on challenging water problems and to come to a consensus in the process of an interactive training. Outcomes of the training sessions, workshops, and round tables are presented in the form of the minutes and submitted to the decision-making bodies from five countries of the region.

The future development of the region characterized by growing water scarcity and should be oriented to the long-term vision with analyses and selection of optimal and economically efficient, environmentally sound options of development ways. They should account interests of all countries (including Afghanistan) and all branches of economy, same as nature. In this respect the organized dialogue defined necessity of the following activities:

  • Clear formulation of the regional and national water policies.
  • Planning of the prospective objectives in water, land, labor and other resources management for sustainable multipurpose use as compound part of social-economic process development and achievement of MDGS in the region. Tools in the form of especially developed models and databases for planning and analyses processes.
  • A number of technical measures are needed support and practical implementation, specifically:
    (i) introduction of water records keeping;
    (ii) participation of hydro-meteorological services in IWRM practice;
    (iii) establishing the extension service for improving the water productivity;
    (iv) computerization and authomatization of managing the irrigation systems; and
    (v) water-saving interventions.
  • The mechanism of interstate consultations and set of the interstate agreements and regulations to coordinate water sharing, a regime of water use along the transboundary rivers.
  • Risk management and account of the possible climate change.

The Session is highly appreciated the role of International donors, who supported Central Asian countries on their way towards MDGs in general, and IWRM implementation particularly. Among them the specific gratitude should be expressed to the CIDA, SDC, ADB, UNDP, Japan Water Forum, Government of Norway and Finland, GWP and many others for fruitful organizational and financial support to interstate collaboration around water resources.

The Session participants grateful to the Government of Mexico and organizers of the 4th World Water Forum for hospitality and creation excellent conditions for productive work.