Since 1991, political and economic conditions have been changing in Central Asia. Five newly formed independent states have chosen the path to market economy. Given unstable environmental situation in some areas of the region, this called for revision of approaches to water resources management and use. Each state in the region set its national interests of socio-economic conditions while changing their attitude to environmental challenges and acknowledging a need for orientation towards the international water law principles. Under transition period, when the states established their priorities based on common regional limitations (one of which is environmental situation in the Aral Sea), it was necessary to ensure stability of water management.
ICWC founders (from left to right):
M. Zulpuyev, N. Kipshakbayev, A. Ilamanov,
A. Nurov, R. Giniyatullin,
April 6, 1992, Ashkhabad
ICWC members (from left to right):
А. Nazyrov, A. Djalalov,
B. Koshmatov, Т. Altiyev
February 22, 2002, Almaty
To this end, in October 1991, the leaders of water sector in the five new independent Central Asian states made a statement, which laid the basis for Agreement signed in February 1992 between the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan about cooperation in joint management of interstate water use and protection. According to this Agreement, the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC) was established.
The main aim of ICWC establishment was to strengthen the principle of collective leadership in making decisions on general issues of regional interstate water management, use and protection and in implementing joint programs on the basis of mutual respect of national interests.
Formation of ICWC and its work is under close attention of the Presidents of Central Asian states. The Head of States through their agreements of 23 March 1993 and 9 April 1999 acknowledged a specific role of ICWC under the aegis of IFAS and thus showed the deep understanding of the importance of joint management in using and protecting water resources, in developing all the countries and the region as a whole, as well as concerns about sustainable supply of their people with water and ensuring of adequate environmental conditions.
The international donor community through its active collaboration with ICWC has being providing great support to implementation of the integrated water resources management (IWRM), development of training activity, water conservation, improved forecasts and measurements of water flows, automation of hydrostructure operation, development of information system, etc. It worth to note particularly such international organizations as the World Bank, the European Union, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Asian Development Bank, the Governments of Norway and Finland, UK Department For International Development (DFID), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), UNDP, the Japanese Water Forum, FAO, the Network of Global Water Partnership (GWP), etc.
Cooperation between ICWC and the International Commission of Irrigation and Drainage which has been developed successfully as long as 14 years promoted acquiring of modern world experience accumulated in the area of water management, drainage, irrigation, and the information exchange. National Committees of Irrigation and Drainages as established under the aegis of ICWC in Central Asian countries have been gradually changing into weighty non-governmental potential of water-related institutions that join both high-qualified water professionals and sectoral departments and different water-related institutes.
Events to be organized on the occasion of 15th ICWC Anniversary that bring together leading local and international institutions and professional will allow the analysis of state-of-the-art and of challenges in Central Asian water sector and the coordination of joint efforts in implementing concrete actions, including ASBP-2, for short- and long-term.