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Turkmenistan’s Chairmanship and IFAS

By Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan (November 16, 2017)

Turkmenistan holds Turkmenistan’s chairmanship in the International Fund Aral Sea (IFAS). Being chairman of IFAS, it is initiating various meaningful steps to achieve the desired goals of water conservation and its optimal utility among the member states.

In this connection, regional ecological center organized a seminar dedicated to water resources management which was held in Ashgabat. It was dedicated to the principles of the integrated management of water resources.

It was organized in the context of Turkmenistan’s chairmanship in the International Fund Aral Sea (IFAS) and in the light of adoption of the Water Code and increasing potential of the senior management in water issues.

The said seminar was attended by the deputies of the Mejlis, specialists of the Ministry of agriculture and water economy, Ministry of finances and economy, National committee for hydrometeorology at the Cabinet of the Ministers, the faculty of Turkmen Agricultural University, environmental specialists, climate change organization, representatives of the international institutes partners of Turkmenistan in the field of protection and rational use of the natural resources e.g. UNDP, GIZ and IFAS. One of the main aims of the said seminar was to educate Turkmen specialists with the international practices in the field of water management and regional expertise in management of river basins.

The experts of Regional Economic Cooperation Conference in Afghanistan (RECCA) water initiatives R. Isahojayev and I. Petrakov briefed about the experience of Kazakhstan. B. Mamedov, representative of the Interstate Commission on sustainable development of IFAS projected that climate change is impacting the life of arid regions that have to adapt the economic growth in accordance with the conditions of global fresh water shortage. It was jointly recommended that interest of all the members states should be respected for the further strengthening of water cooperation on basis of mutual trust. The seminar also identified a complex of tasks that Turkmen specialists have to solve in the coming years.

Turkmenistan is Chairman of the International Fund for saving Aral Sea. Under Turkmenistan’s chairmanship all the member countries are trying their levels best to save the sinking Aral Sea. Being chairman Turkmenistan is striving hard to convince all the member countries to work jointly for water resources development in the region. Turkmenistan and all member countries along with international partners are working jointly under Country Water Partnerships [CWPs] of the GWP CACENA region. Most recently seminar held by regional ecological center organized will further accelerate Turkmenistan’s diversified but integrated efforts for the development, conservation and utility of water.
Turkmenistan actively contributes to strengthening the institutional basis of the IFAS as a regional platform for Central Asian countries cooperation in the field of sustainable development. In this context, the activation of work on ratification and entry into force the Framework Convention (2006) for environment protection and sustainable development in Central Asia is foreseen.

Turkmenistan’s has a unique “water diplomacy” which is making difference in the further development of water resources in the Aral Sea Basin. Its rigorous water diplomacy is the way forward to develop and settle water issues among the founding member states. It protects environment. It cares about climate change. It works for massive regional cooperation and international partnership for the conservation of water resources.

Turkmenistan’s water diplomacy stresses the need to have close socio-politico cooperation and understanding to develop depleting resources of water in the region. It ensures equitable water sharing among the member states.

Being Chairman of IFAS, Turkmenistan works hard to achieve an effective water agreements based on adaptive management structures, clear and flexible rules for water allocation and management, equal distribution of benefits, conflict resolution and enforcement mechanisms between the Central Asian Countries. It is striving for achieving a transboundary water agreement which may be shifted from a “rights based” stance to a “needs based” practical approach. It has been crucial to identify shared benefits in transboundary water agreements as was accomplished in the agreement between so many countries around the globe.

Turkmenistan’s Chairmanship in IFAS has multiplier socio-economic effects. One of the main goals of Turkmenistan chairmanship in IFAS is the further development and strengthening of cooperation between the countries of the Aral Sea basin on improving the socio-economic and environmental situation in the Aral Sea region, rational water use and ensuring a high level of environmental protection in this region.

Turkmenistan’s Chairmanship in IFAS has strategic priorities relating to development of a new action program to assist countries of the Aral Sea basin (ASBP-4), strengthening the legal basis of IFAS activities and its legal framework in the field of water management and environmental protection in Central Asia, promoting regional programs and projects in the field of integrated water resources management, environmental protection and sustainable development, providing support in information exchange activities, as well as support in setting up unified regional information system and database of the Aral Sea basin and ASBP monitoring, supporting activation and expansion of cooperation of countries in the region with the largest international organizations, primarily with the United Nations and its specialized agencies and institutions in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development and the last but not the least, promoting the further enhancement of the international reputation of the Fund, its positive role in modern global processes on sustainable development.

International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) was established in 1992 on the initiative of the Heads of the Central Asian States for the purpose of improving the social and economic, ecological situation in the basin of the Aral Sea.

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