Central Asia Energy-Water Development Program


In Central Asia, water and energy systems are inextricably intertwined. Nature determines the hydrologic interlinkages: multiple transboundary rivers, including the Amu and Syr Darya of the Aral Sea basin, connect the territories of the Central Asian republics and Afghanistan.

Energy interdependence is man-made: the newly independent states inherited the intricate energy-for-water trading scheme which supplied electricity generated from the downstream fossil energy riches to the upstream countries during the cold winter season, so that the latter would store water for summer-irrigation needs in their reservoirs.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union the unitary system became transboundary overnight. The re-established national borders continue to pose significant challenges to optimize asset operation and for national and regional water and energy resources management. CAEWDP was established to help the countries with these nexus challenges.

Forming Partnerships

The Central Asia Energy and Water Development Program (CAEWDP) is a partnership between the World Bank, the European Commission, Switzerland (through SECO), the United Kingdom (through DFID), and the United States (through USAID) strengthen the enabling environment to promote energy and water security at regional level and in the beneficiary countries. Structured along three pillars: (1) energy security; (2) energy-water linkages; and (3) water security the program pursued three components since its inception in 2009: (a) supporting investments; (b) institutions, capacity and dialogue; (c) data and diagnostic analyses.

CAEWDP works with and supports governments, national and regional organizations, civil society organizations, and development partners, including other international financial institutions. The Program is anchored in partnerships with governments to ensure that program activities address national priorities.

CAEWDP also partners with regional organizations whose mandates are to convene discussions on regional issues, such as the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS).  And finally, CAEWDP cooperates with other development and financing partners to enhance the impact in meeting its objectives and to leverage investments by others.

CAEWDP promotes water and energy security working at the national scale to national institutional capacities and sector performance, while at the same time keeping regional cooperation on the dialogue agenda to create an enabling environment for achieving national and regional energy and water security.

As the Program entered its third funding phase in 2018, the Program added Afghanistan as a sixth direct beneficiary country of CAEWDP funds. This formalizes the ongoing practice of Afghanistan’s participation in multiple CAEWDP activities, in particularly those focused on regional consultations.

The CAEWDP partnership remains open to all development partners who want to contribute to promoting pathways to energy and water security in Central Asia.