Blue Peace Central Asia
Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the five former Soviet Republics of Central Asia focussed their efforts on state-building and internal development. Such an approach left little space on the agenda for transboundary or regional cooperation, despite entanglement of inherited heavy infrastructure network and regional interconnectedness of water resources, unequally distributed throughout the region. The level of distrust between Central Asian states is high with many governments refusing to recognise the region as interdependent. Additional challenges related to slow economic growth and climate change have amplified the need for transboundary water cooperation.
In 2014, the Blue Peace Central Asia initiative was launched to help foster dialogue among the Central Asian nations in the face of increasing competition for water resources, heightening the political tensions and risks of conflict. The Blue Peace Central Asia brings together the five states of the region across three core pillars, with an emphasis on changing mindsets on the role of water in enabling regional development and stability.
The pillars include:
Diplomatic and sector policy: Supporting dialogue between states to jointly and systematically manage the shared larger basins.
Operations: Enhance trust by supporting evidence-based dialogues and providing knowledge to implement concrete solutions along three priority areas defined by the 5 countries: data management (including for disaster risk reduction), joint management of infrastructure, and water quality.
Youth: Raise awareness and build capacity of the next generation on the social, economic and political interlinkages of integrated water resources management within a river basin.
The Blue Peace Central Asia initiative has so far resulted in:
The development of a network of youth in Central Asia, increasing their understanding, skills and outreach with regard to integrated water resources management at basin level
The publication of “Rethinking Water in Central Asia: the costs of inaction and benefits of water cooperation” that highlights both missed opportunities and the potential for increasing regional cooperation and subsequent shared benefits, which account for over $ 4,5 bn.
Increased regional understanding and momentum with other regional actors around the notion that water is a key factor of economic development and stability.
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