WASHINGTON, April 25, 2010―On the sidelines of the World Bank’s Spring Meetings this weekend, the World Bank and the Swiss Government signed an agreement that will establish the Central Asia Energy-Water Development Program, which will help build energy and water security for Central Asia through enhanced regional cooperation.
“With the support that was confirmed today, we lay a solid foundation for future partnership between Central Asian countries on water and energy issues,” said Philippe Le Houérou, Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. “This marks a big step forward toward improving people’s access to reliable water and energy supply throughout Central Asia.”
The Swiss seed funds for the Central Asia Energy-Water Development (CAEWD) Program – a US$1 million grant provided by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs – will cover the cost of technical assistance that will gauge the current infrastructure and institutional status of the Region’s energy and water sectors. The funds will also help to strengthen the Region’s existing institutions, fund priority pre-investment studies, and support regional donor consultation roundtables and partnerships. These funds are a first step to enrolling long term, multi-donor support for the Program.
The Program aims to lower the cost and increase the reliability of energy and water supply through increased investment in water and energy projects, and by reducing regional disparities and constraints to trade. It will also foster more effective management of natural resources. It is expected that these efforts will have a positive impact on poverty reduction in the Region.