IUCN representatives joined project partners and key stakeholders at the first meeting of the Regional Working Group held on 13 March 2018 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, within the framework of the EU-funded project “Central Asia Nexus Dialogue: Fostering Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-Sector Investment (Nexus)”. The project is jointly implemented by the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) and IUCN Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECARO).
The project supports regional institutional strengthening and capacities for multi-sectoral planning and assists in the development of a portfolio of investment projects that will look at ensuring security of water, energy and food (WEF) in Central Asia, as a contribution to regional cooperation and to the initiative of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS).
The Regional Working Group, composed of the representatives of authorised agencies from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the Executive Committee of Interstate Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (EC IFAS) and the Executive Board for IFAS in Kazakhstan, discussed the approach for improving regional coordination processes and developing WEF Security Nexus-based investment projects. “The most important outcome of our today’s meeting is that we have set up a regional coordination mechanism to apply the WEF Nexus approach for the development of ASBP”, explained Bolat Bekniyaz, Director of IFAS Branch in Kazakhstan.
In order to enhance the opportunities for the WEF Nexus in Central Asia, IUCN highlighted experiences and lessons learned from other regions. Drawing on the global IUCN experience on the WEF Nexus Boris Erg, Director of IUCN ECARO noted that: “Crisis in one sector can quickly diffuse to other sectors and therefore may cause economic, social and environmental ramifications. It is thus crucial to ensure cross-sectoral dialogue which promotes synthesis, balances current and emerging trade-offs and enhances the overall resource security for water, energy and food provision”.
It is only recently that regional cooperation has been revitalised across Central Asian states. To this end, while it is essential to spur economic growth and increase security and wellbeing for livelihoods, there is a strong need for clear and effective mechanisms that will increase social and environmental resilience.
As a starting point in this process, IUCN developed a road map for analysis of existing institutional arrangements and shaping a capacity development programme. The institutional analysis will help to identify opportunities for cooperative investment planning that will allow multiple goals to be realised across different sectors. These goals include meeting the water, energy and food demands of a growing population, strengthening cross-sectoral and regional cooperation, increasing social and environmental resilience as well as preventing isolated decisions that can cause negative impacts to other sectors. Simultaneously the assessment of capacity needs will support identification of priority activities for improved dialogue across sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, financial and environmental protection. These will form the foundations for ensuring water, energy and food security for the people in Central Asia.
For more information about the project contact Kristin Meyer, Nexus Central Asia Coordinator