The first session of the Regional working group on the Program of actions on providing assistance to the countries of the Aral Sea Basin (ASBP-4) was organized in the conference hall of the Grand Turkmen Hotel in Ashgabat in the framework of Turkmenistan’s chair in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS).
The meeting was initiated by the IFAS Executive committee with the assistance of the GIZ Programme “Transboundary water resources management in Central Asia”. The meeting brought together the representatives of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in the IFAS Executive Committee, the Interstate Commission for Sustainable Development (ICSD), the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC), the working group experts on ASBP-4 and the improvement of the institutional and legal mechanisms for IFAS, as well as the representatives of the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) and the World Bank.
The meeting participants highly appreciated the constructive policy pursued by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who stands for the further enhancement and improvement of work of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea that serves as an important regional structure, aimed at ensuring cooperation to improve the environmental, social and economic situation in the Aral Sea region.
In accordance with the agenda, the meeting participants discussed the goals, objectives, structure and main directions of the ASBP-4, designed to become a long-term programme of cooperation between Central Asian countries and their international partners in overcoming the consequences of the Aral Sea crisis.
The key aspects of this programme are the promotion of the sustainable social and economic development of the region, the improvement of the environmental situation in the Aral Sea basin, the integrated use of water resources, and the improvement of the institutional and legal mechanisms of cooperation in the framework of IFAS. The founder states and working bodies of IFAS put forward specific proposals for each of them.
The meeting participants exchanged views on the criteria for selecting national and regional projects to be included in ASBP-4 that should be consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals of the third millennium. Particular attention was paid to practical implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the ASBP-4 results. The main stages and terms for the preparation of the programme were also outlined.
The information on the project "The Central Asian Dialogue on the Use of Multisectoral Financing Opportunities through Enhancing the Water-Energy-Food" (Nexus), implemented by the Regional Environmental Centre of Central Asia in cooperation with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with the financial support of the European Union was presented during the meeting. This project is aimed at strengthening the partnership of Central Asian countries in addressing the water, energy and food security issues, which is closely linked to the environmental component. In accordance with the Memorandum on Cooperation between the Executive Committee of IFAS and CAREC, which was signed in autumn last year, Turkmenistan also participates in it.
On May 17, the meeting participants discussed the issues of further improvement of the institutional and legal mechanisms for cooperation between the countries in the region - based on the analysis of the existing legal framework and the existing structure IFAS.
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