Kazakhstan, Slovakia, and EU discuss cooperation in water resources management in Brussels
The event titled «Cooperation of Slovak organizations with the region of Central Asia in the field of water management» was hosted by the Permanent Representation of Slovakia to the EU in cooperation with the Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the EU.
Leading companies from Slovakia in the water sector presented the results of their research and potential solutions to key issues in Central Asian countries, in particular in Kazakhstan, in the field of water resources management and the safety of water structures.
Participants from the Kazakh side spoke on specific aspects of water management.
According to Timur Sultangozhin, Minister-Counsellor of the Mission of Kazakhstan to the EU, the uneven distribution of water resources across the country, combined with the negative impact of climate change, requires a systematic approach to the issue of rational use of water in all sectors of economy, including agriculture, which accounts for most of the water withdrawals and losses. «Under conditions of our region, conservation of water resources and ecosystems is impossible without joint actions,» he emphasized.
Yerbolat Pernekhanov, Chief Expert of the Transboundary Rivers Department of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan, agrees with the statement. According to Pernekhanov, seven out of eight river basins in Kazakhstan are transboundary and this makes such cooperation issues a priority for our country.
A positive track record of cooperation experience among the countries of the region offers a ground to anticipate a high potential for forming an integrated and complex system of water resources use and political approaches that would stimulate a more careful attitude to a limited resource.
It is expected that the draft legislation on water issues, currently discussed in Kazakhstan will offer systematic approaches to management in this sector.
Zhanar Mautanova, Director of the International Water Assessment Center (IWAC) in Astana, presented the positive results of regional cooperation in providing scientific, methodological, and technical support to Central Asian countries. IWAC assists the Central Asian countries in the implementation of best practices, including through pilot projects on transboundary waters. The Center opened in Astana as part of the implementation of the International Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes.
Representatives of the European Commission presented models of financing technical assistance and investment in water infrastructure in Central Asia in the framework of Regional Team Europe Initiative for Central Asia on the Water-Energy-Climate Change Nexus launched as part of the EU’s «Global Gateway» Strategy.
For reference: Cooperation on water issues between Central Asia and the EU is one of the key areas of interregional cooperation. For instance, during the 2nd Summit of the Heads of State of Central Asia and the President of the European Council on 2 June 2023, the parties confirmed the need for continued dialogue for innovative, mutually beneficial, and open water and energy cooperation in Central Asia on the rational use and protection of water resources, adaptation to climate change and protection of the environment and biodiversity in Central Asia. In this context, the EU confirmed its readiness to share its positive experience in these areas.