Tashkent, September 8, 2014 – The World Bank and the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea signed today a Memorandum of Understanding, which strengthens their cooperation aimed at improving water management, social, economic and environmental situation in the Central Asian region. The Memorandum was signed by Mr. Shavkat Khamraev, Acting Chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (EC-IFAS), and Mr. Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia.
The Memorandum sets the framework for identifying and developing a set of activities under the Third Aral Sea Basin Management Program to provide support to the IFAS Founder States – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan -- in raising the well-being of people in Central Asia by improving water management and achieving sustainable development in the Aral Sea Basin.
“The Memorandum which we have signed today takes cooperation between the World Bank and the IFAS to a new level. Together we have committed to identifying a number of important activities that will support the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on the flows of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers,” said Saroj Kumar Jha. “This work is particularly important as all economies in the region will face new challenges brought by strong economic growth and climate change. We are happy to partner with the Executive Committee of the IFAS, which plays an important role in convening the member countries to work cooperatively in addressing these challenges and capturing opportunities for improving water management.”
The World Bank and the EC-IFAS will work together with the member countries to define potential regional and national investment projects and technical assistance including analytical work, knowledge exchange, and capacity strengthening among the IFAS member states. Such projects could focus on regional data sharing and information management system, improved water use and efficiency, dam safety and disaster risk management.
To define the scope and design of potential regional and national projects, the Bank and the EC-IFAS will closely coordinate and cooperate with each of the five IFAS member states and the regional institutions, in particular the Interstate Commission on Water Coordination (ICWC), the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD), and the Regional Center of Hydrology (RCH).