President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev calls for early completion of the process of improving the organizational structure and legal framework of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, as well as the creation of a mechanism for the effective use of Central Asia’s water and energy resources.
He stated this, speaking on Friday, 15 September, at a summit of the Council of the Head of the IFAS founding states in Dushanbe.
In particular, Kazakhstan’s leader underlines the need for expanding the powers and responsibilities of the Board and Executive Committee of the Fund.
“It is also proposed to transform the Interstate Coordinating Water Management Commission into the Interstate Water and Energy Commission. These steps would increase the effectiveness of IFAS. It is necessary to work out the issue of an even distribution of IFAS working bodies across the participating countries and recruitment of their personnel from among representatives of all Central Asian states,” the head of Kazakhstan said.
The President of Kazakhstan also drew the attention of the meeting participants to a number of challenges and problems caused by global climate change in the region.
“According to international experts, the temperature in our region is growing much faster than the average on the planet. This leads to a reduction in the area of glaciers – the main source of water in the Aral Sea basin. Their volume has decreased by 30% over the past 50 years. According to analysts, by 2050, droughts in Central Asia can cause damage in the amount of 1.3% of GDP per year, which will lead to the appearance of about 5 million internal “climate” migrants,” Tokayev said.
He also focused on the problem of inefficient use of water.
“There is an extremely high degree of regulation of the flow of the two main rivers of our region – the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya. More than 80 reservoirs have been built in their basins, the total volume of which reaches almost 65 cubic kilometers. Thus, an increase in anthropogenic load is expected, the continuation of extensive nature management, the aggravation of various socio-environmental problems. All this creates serious risks to regional security,” Tokayev said.
In this context, he believes that the introduction of digital technologies can become the main direction in the cooperation of the Central Asian countries on water resources.
The President of Kazakhstan stressed the need to create a mechanism for long-term and sustainable cooperation for the effective use of water and energy resources of Central Asia, taking into account the interests of all countries of the region. According to him, the International Water and Energy Consortium can serve as such a mechanism.
In order to ensure transparency of water use in the region and strengthen dialogue and friendship between the countries of Central Asia, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed to develop a Work plan for the implementation of a unified automated system for accounting, monitoring, management and distribution of water resources in the Aral Sea basin.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also called for the creation of a Project Office of the Central Asian countries on climate issues to facilitate the joint development of effective measures to adapt to climate change and mitigate its consequences.
He praised Kyrgyzstan’s participation in the working bodies of IFAS and urged the country to resume full participation in the Fund.
Kazakhstan will assume the chairmanship of IFAS for two years from 1 January 2024. Tokayev proposed holding the next summit of the Fund in 2026 in conjunction with Kazakhstan-initiated Regional Climate Summit, to be held under the UN auspices. ///nCa, 15 September 2023
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