Water is life and which is endangered. Right from the beginning water has been one of the main sources of human civilization. It has been playing important role in human growth, peaceful settlements, agriculture development, and above all energy reservoirs. Around the globe every region is confronting with water reservoirs issues. Central Asia is too has some serious issues regarding the water sharing among all the CIS. In this regard, the government of Uzbekistan is doing its level best to reach a amicable agreement on the water sharing among the CIS. Water is blessing and government of Uzbekistan sincerely wishes that all the CIS should be blessed equally. Uzbekistan has been vocal on the critical issue of water in the region and its raised its genuine concerns on different regional and international forums. Uzbekistan desires that all the issues related to water among the CIS should be settled at regional level so that no outsider may have the geo-political or geo-strategic leverage for manipulation.
The World Bank has also endorsed the sincere efforts of Uzbekistan and appreciated the conflict resolution policy towards the existing water issue in the CIS
H.E. Islam Karimov
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Dear Mr. President,
I would like to thank you for the useful discussions held with the World Bank team during Mr. Shigeo Katsu’s recent visit to Uzbekistan and also for your subsequent letter dated March 3, 2009.
The World Bank Group recognizes that the water and energy sector is critically important for the economies and the livelihoods of the people throughout Central Asia. Long-term stability in the region and prospects for future economic growth in all the countries of Central Asia largely depend on successful regional cooperation and consideration of all national strategic interests.
In response to requests from Central Asian governments, including yours, the World Bank Group has been actively engaged in a dialogue on water/energy issues with the five countries of Central Asia. In its work, the World Bank Group operates in full accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution of December 19, 2008, “The Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy Carriers and Its Role in Ensuring Sustainable Development and International Cooperation,” acts in the best interests of all its member countries, and takes the utmost care in the application of its policies and procedures.
In recent years, the World Bank Group has supported a number of energy and water resources projects and studies in Central Asia, leading to the development of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) energy strategic framework that was endorsed by all member countries at the November 2008 Ministerial Conference in Baku. Building on this framework, the World Bank Group believes it is important to assess all existing and potential energy generation resources in the region, including hydropower, thermal power, renewables and others. On this basis we would propose a sequence of actions that will ensure adequate attention to, and proper balance between, the urgent domestic energy needs of the upstream countries during winter months, and environmental and hydrological needs of the downstream countries during the summer.
With regard to Rogun HEP proposed by the government of Tajikistan, I wish to clarify that the Bank has committed to support the government of Tajikistan only in carrying out initial studies to assess the feasibility of the project, with particular emphasis on its potential regional impacts.
The studies will assess the technical, economic, and financial viability of the proposed project, as well as its possible environmental and social impacts in line with international agreements on the use of transboundary water resources.
In this regard, I note and concur with your concerns about the fragile ecological balance of the region, the necessity to ensure that development of the hydro potential does not lead to reduction in the water supply to the downstream riparians, and the need to design facilities that take into consideration the seismic zone in which these facilities may be constructed.
These are indeed important points, and I would like to reiterate Mr. Katsu’s assurance to you that the World Bank Group will ensure that these points are studied very carefully as an integral part of the technical studies. In addition, the results of these studies will be shared among the affected countries and discussed to reach a common understanding on the approach to be adopted to construct such facilities.
The Terms of Reference of these studies would reflect the issues you have identified. The studies will be carried out by internationally recognized consultant firms, to be hired under World Bank procurement guidelines.
As required by our own policies, the Bank will establish an International Panel of Independent Experts, who will provide an independent opinion on the outputs of the studies. To ensure transparency and inclusion of all the stakeholders’ concerns, the World Bank will continue to hold consultations with all riparians in 2009-2010, as the results of the studies become available and are reviewed by the International Panel of Independent Experts and by the riparians themselves.
Should all parties involved agree that their respective concerns are fully met and if they concur on the viability and benefit of major proposed investments such as Rogun, I am encouraged to note that Uzbekistan may be interested to participate in such an investment.
As you state in your letter, there are various options for developing the energy export capacity of Central Asia. Our intention is to work with the Central Asian governments to come up with technically, financially, and environmentally sustainable sequencing of the investments. We would also like to discuss with you how to address the acute short-term energy problems faced by your neighbors.
We look forward to our further work with Uzbekistan.
Sincerely, Robin B. Zoellick
President of The World Bank
April 15, 2009
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