The Central Asian NGOs took active part in the second meeting of the EU-Central Asia Working Group on Climate Change and Strategic Planning of use of natural resources Print
News Waterfall - News Waterfall #5
Monday, 08 October 2012 16:55

Second meeting of the EU-Central Asia Working Group on Climate Change and Strategic Planning of use of natural resources was held on 13–14 September 2012 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The meeting was supported by the European Union through the WECOOP project. The Working Group was established during the Third EU-Central Asia High Level Conference in Rome, in November 2009. The primary purpose is to promote the implementation of the EU-CA Platform for Environment and Water Cooperation and to carry out regular dialogue on how to address the threats posed by climate change in Central Asia.

The second WG meeting gathered more than 100 participants from five Central Asian countries. The ministries/agencies in charge of environmental governance from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the EU and EU Member States, international organizations and regional agencies took part it the meeting. NGO representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan also participated actively in the event. The WG meeting was aimed to facilitate the implementation of the EU-CA Water and Environmental Platform, to consult on concrete steps to strengthen policy dialogue and cooperation at regional level and to provide guidance on cooperation activities between EU and CA.

The need to further improve the environmental information and knowledge exchange at national and regional levels was emphasized. A comprehensive long-term strategy should enhance the rational use of natural resources with special attention on their conservation and should reflect social, economic, environmental, legal and cultural aspects involving all stakeholders. The participants called for cooperation with existing mechanisms to raise awareness and build capacity of regional and national structures on sustainable development and resource efficiency.

During the meeting representatives of Central Asia NGOs presented recommendations of the seminar “The UNECE Water Convention and its Protocol on Water and Health in Central Asia. Benefiting from international mechanisms for improvement of environmental protection and climate adaptation” (held on 12 September in Almaty).

During the WG meeting discussions representatives of Central Asia NGOs: “Save the Aral Sea and the Amu Darya Alliance”, Uzbekistan, Global Water Partnership of the Caucasus and Central Asia; Social and Ecological Foundation, NGO Eco Forum of Kazakhstan; UNISON, Kyrgyzstan, Public Fund Asian-American Partnership, Kazakhstan made several interventions and:

- stressed that actions to retain the spread of salt dust from the Aral Sea should be a priority;

- encouraged taking into account the potential of the region to explore the possibility of renewable energy market in Central Asia, including wind power during winter and hydropower in summer season;

- stressed that the work of the Central Asian countries should take into account and use legislation developed in Central Asia. So, for example, progressive legislation on Energy Performance of Buildings, efficient boilers and the regulations on energy certification of building as adopted in Kyrgyzstan;

- recommended to consider NGO expert capacity as key partners in development and implementation of actions in climate mitigation and adaptation mechanism development;

- stressed that new NEXUS concept, the link between water security, energy security and food security, is a key area for cooperation with the European Union;

- stressed that the Protocol on Water and Health is an important instrument, because it does something what few policies achieve, assures that government works in an integrated way in the area of health, water and wastewater management.

NGOs have also made recommendations to the EU-Central Asia Working Group on Climate Change and Strategic Planning of use of natural resources:

1. Support of the EU is also needed where new laws and regulations on mitigation have already been approved, namely for the implementation of these laws. Particularly through:

- knowledge and technology transfer

- capacity building of local experts, crafts-persons and civil engineers

- fiscal and financial incentives for private sector, including farmers and households

unified methodology, approach and standards, a.o. on tariff setting for renewable


2. Improve legislation on renewable energy generation, through application of feed-in tariffs including for small producers like households and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Barriers for SMEs should be eliminated, and state should guarantee the tariffs for renewable energy.

3. Climate mitigation and adaptation mechanism at national and regional levels can consider NGO expert capacity as key partners in development and implementation of actions. Public participation is essential to assure transparency of tariff-setting and its breakdown.

4. To address the existing sources of CO2 emissions in Central Asia, strategic assessment of green house gas emission from the energy generation sector is needed as well as losses in the existing distribution networks. This will allow to set priorities and explore alternatives before building new energy generation capacity (take into account economic and environmental priorities on energy conservation instead of building new power plants).

5. A priority focus on Climate Disasters for Central Asia should include actions to retain the salt-dust from the dried-up bed of the Aral Sea. By several estimations, one hundred million tons of salt-dust is dispersed from the bottom of the sea, part of which goes high into the atmosphere, causing regional and possibly global impact on the weather. The Aral Sea salt-dust has been found on glaciers in the Pamir and Himalaya mountains, thus increasing the melting, which is adding to the impact of global warming. Participants call for more careful investigation of the influence on the local and global weather and climate, and recommend actions to keep the bottom of the Aral Sea wet to retain the salt dust.

6. Create a thematic network of NGOs in Central Asia on “Climate. Water. Energy. Health” to strengthen the work of NGOs in the region on climate change adaptation, reforming of policies on water resources, energy, environmental governance and food safety in the region.

7. Initiate and promote creation of Interstate Basin Councils:

- the Chu-Talass Basin Council;

- the Public Council of Aral Sea Basin;

8. Ensure transparency, accountability of interstate commissions to the public and enhance information policy in the water and energy sector, related to climate change.

9. Explore existing best practices and technologies of water supply and treatment with use of renewable energy at local level taking into account the lessons learned:

- Local potential;

- Complex cost-benefit analysis of water cost

- Subsidies from the state, community input and financial mechanisms

- Ensure authenticity of water data.