Kazakhstan Takes Over Chairmanship at International Fund for Saving of Aral Sea

ASTANA – Kazakhstan takes over the chairmanship of the International Fund for Saving of the Aral Sea as of Jan. 1. The country is committed to deepening partnerships with Central Asian states, along with other international organizations and financial institutions, to address issues related to the relict water reservoir, according to Nurzhan Nurzhigitov, the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation. 

Satellite image of the Aral Sea. Photo credit: Shutterstock. Click to see the map in full size. The map is designed by The Astana Times.

During a Nov.20 meeting with Salman Bal, the ambassador of Switzerland to Kazakhstan, and representatives of the Blue Peace Central Asia (BPCA) program, Nurzhigitov emphasized Kazakhstan’s commitment to implementing initiatives outlined by the Kazakh President. This involves creating an international water-energy consortium in the region that considers the interests of all Central Asian countries.

Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan participate in the program for hydrogeological forecasting launched in Uzbekistan. This program will allow tracking and measuring water flows and consumption among the Central Asian countries.

Representatives of the BPCA emphasized that their project encompasses various aspects, including strengthening regional water resource management institutions within the International Fund for the Saving of the Aral Sea framework and the World Bank’s Central Asia Water and Energy Program (CAWEP). The project involves attracting experts, sharing experiences, and modernizing and reconstructing transboundary hydraulic structures.

“In 2024, we plan to initiate the second phase of the project for the preservation of the Small Aral Sea, conducted in partnership with the World Bank. Therefore, we seek to collaborate with the BPCA on issues related to the cooperation of Central Asian countries in the water-energy sector,” stated Nurzhigitov.

He also emphasized the interest in training new personnel and improving the qualifications of existing water industry specialists.

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