ICWC of Central Asia: 30 years of joint activity

On February 18, 1992, five water ministers of Central Asia (N. Kipshakbaev, M. Zulpuyev, A. Nurov, A. Ilamanov, and R. Giniyatullin) signed an Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Joint Management of the Use and Conservation of Water Resources in Interstate Sources (Almaty). By this Agreement, to ensure joint decision-making on water sharing, a single body Ц the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination in Central Asia (ICWC) Ц was established.

Thus, the step made by water ministers of the five Central Asian republics helped to keep the water management system in the region and maintain water coordination in the Amu Darya and Syr Darya river basins.

Through the 30 years of activity, including more than 80 meetings of the Commission and daily operations of its executive bodies, a system for annual river water planning, monitoring and management was organized. ICWC has greatly contributed to integrated water resources management in the region, development of the regional information portal, decision support systems, and automation of hydraulic structures and facilitated implementation and coordination of research and joint projects. Thanks to continuous cooperative efforts between water professionals of the Central Asian countries, water sharing was conflict free and waterworks facilities were operated sustainably.

Today, ICWC and the water community face complex challenges that can be addressed through cooperation only. In this context, the regional cooperation should be further reinforced to ensure peaceful and efficient water use, water conservation, effective adaptation, and aquatic ecosystem restoration and conservation.