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Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia - Data administration in two transboundary river basins

Published April 2011

(The News N° 21 - January 2011)

The countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia are highly dependent on transboundary water resources for drinking water production, hydropower, irrigation, and for other uses: in these basins, it is therefore essential to develop effective policy between riparian countries to jointly manage water resources in accordance with the natural balance, especially as climate change threa - tens these resources quantitatively and qualitatively.

The implementation of these policies implies first and foremost to have a comprehensive assessment of water resources, based on consistent and homogenous information.

In this context and as part of activities related to the "Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes", whose secretariat is hosted by UNECE in Geneva, the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing (MEDDTL) has proposed, with IOWater support a pilot project, the financing of which was approved by the Steering Committee of the French Fund for Global Environment (FFEM) in April 2010.

This project firstly aims to build the data mana gement capabilities of the main national and regional authorities concerned in two pilot transboun dary basins, using methodologies that can also be applied to other transboundary basins of Eastern European, Caucasian and Central Asian countries.

On the other hand, at regional level, it should allow developing tools for access to the information (portal, catalogue of data sources, web services, ...) and disseminating the results and feedback obtained in the two pilot river basins.

The feasibility study, carried out by the "Canal de Provence" Company, allowed identifying:

  • The Dniester River Basin, shared by Ukraine and Moldova,
  • The basins of the Aral Sea (Amu Darya and Syr Darya River Basins) shared by the 5 Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan) and Afghanistan.

This project is expected to be completed over a period of 18 months from September 2010. It will be administered by IWAC (International Water Assessment Center) and technically coordinated by IOWater.

Following preliminary contacts, it will be developed on the Dniester in close collaboration with the Dniester III project financed by UNEP/UNDP/OSCE/UNECE/REC-CE, and will be part of the "Action Plan for the Protection of the Aral Sea" as regards the component for Central Asia.