A Work Meeting for discussing the regional water policy was held on 17-18 November 2006 in Tashkent under the ADB Regional Technical Assistance (RETA) for Improved Management of Shared Water Resources in Central Asia“. The meeting was attended by representatives from the National Working Groups (NWG), as well as members of the Regional Working Group (except for UDC “Energy”).
Before the meeting, a training seminar titled “International and National Water Law” was held on 14-16 November with the participation of Prof. Patricia K. Wouters (Director, UNESCO Center for Water Law, Policy and Science, Dundee University, Scotland). During the seminar, the participants listened to reports and statements provided for by the program, and discussed the acting and draft agreements in terms of the general positions in the International Water Law presented by Prof. Wouters, and opportunities to use them in a draft Agreement on the Use of Water and Energy Resources in the Syrdarya River Basin”.
The participants noted a certain progress in implementing activities under the ADB RETA, in particular:
- All NWGs submitted a protocol on the approval by NWG members of the national reports on acting agreements’ efficiency analysis.
- The NWG of the Kyrgyz Republic submitted remarks to the report of BWO “Amudarya” on the Amudarya river basin.
- The NWGs of the Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan, Republic of Uzbekistan and BWO “Amudarya” submitted remarks to the draft Agreement on the Use of Water and Energy Resources in the Amudarya River Basin.
Considering additional materials submitted by NWGs, a generalizing report on inventory results was prepared. During the discussion, certain drawbacks in the procedures for carrying out activities and in accuracy of presented data were noted. In particular, some positions mentioned in the report require more precise definition and detailed justification.
It was noted that despite the appeal made in the minute of the work meeting held on 13-14 October 2006 to leaders of NWGs to assist in achieving approval of the draft Agreement on the Formation and Functioning of National, Basin and Regional Databases on Integrated Use and Protection of Water Resources in the Aral Sea Basin by the Governments, there was no progress in this respect.
Following the discussion of the inventory results, it was proposed to continue this work, in particular to establish an expert group from among NWGs (one representative from each group), which:
- will participate in detail assessment of the prepared report on inventory, and develop more detailed methodical recommendations for accounting overall basin costs.
- will start work on assessment of damage caused in non-fulfillment or poor fulfillment of provisions agreed by the Parties. It is recommended to do this work in two stages:
- development and agreeing of methodical recommendations
- data collection and assessment of actual damage
The participants of the meeting will appeal to the ADB to include these positions in the 2007 plan of activities in order to develop rules of cost sharing and funding for interstate cooperation between the Parties.
The participants discussed the draft Agreement on the Use of Water and Energy Resources in the Syrdarya River Basin and adjusted it with account of received remarks from the NWG of the Kyrgyz Republic and suggestions during the training. The participants agreed that the draft would be revised on the following positions:
BWO “Syrdarya” will prepare Annex 1 to article 6 of the draft, in which water withdrawals by the Parties will be presented according to the schemes for integrated use and protection of water resources.
The members of NWGs from the energy sector will adjust Annex 2 to article 7 in the draft.
During a meeting “Achieving a Consensus and Preventing Conflicts” to be held on 4-6 December 2006 in Tashkent and timed to the seminar, article 13 “Responsibilities of the Parties”, article 14 “Information”, article 16 “Dispute Resolution” will be revised.
The members of NWGs and RWG will take appropriate actions to complete final editing of the draft Syrdarya Agreement until the end of 2006.
Based on the submitted remarks and taking into account the discussion and revision of the draft Syrdarya Agreement, appropriate alterations will be made in the draft Agreement on the Use of Water and Energy Resources in the Amudarya River Basin and considered at a meeting on 4-6 December 2006.
Considering the practical training carried out on the basis of a draft Agreement on Strengthening Organizational Framework for Management, Protection and Development of Transboundary Water Resources in the Aral Sea Basin and a draft new Regulation on ICWC, the NWGs will submit their proposals for improving the text of the draft Agreement in view of requirement of the International Water Law and identified drawbacks by the next roundtable meeting.
Taking into account that it is expedient to further develop the negotiation process and carry prepared draft agreements to signing, the members of NWGs will submit proposals regarding the scope of additional work (except the completion of started agreements) for 2007 by 4 December 2006.