UNDP discusses water management priorities and cooperation with Kazakhstan's Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation

October 12, 2023
Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan, Katarzyna Wawiernia, held a meeting with Nurzhan Nurzhigitov, the newly appointed Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The meeting aimed to introduce the UNDP's priorities for the country's development and discuss potential areas of cooperation.

During the meeting, the parties discussed the challenges related to water management in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Today continued global warming is expected to impact the global water cycle, leading to increased variability in water availability, precipitation, and wet and dry periods. These changes could have a significant impact on agriculture, food security, and economic development, given that over 90 percent of water resources in Central Asia are used for irrigation. Additionally, Kazakhstan's geographical location within several transboundary river basins presents political complexity and calls for effective water resource management. Deficit of accurate data on water availability and consumption, aging water infrastructure, and a missing water economy and business model have further complicated the situation.

In response to these challenges, UNDP proposed solutions based on its experience and global network of expertise. These solutions include digitalization of water management, water diplomacy and transboundary cooperation, implementing Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), circular water use, and sustainable agricultural practices. The UNDP expressed its readiness to support Kazakhstan through the consolidation of different partners, donors, ministries, and parliamentarians to advance inclusive decision-making processes. 

The meeting between the UNDP and Kazakhstan's Minister of Water Resources highlighted the importance of international cooperation in addressing critical issues in the water sector and working towards sustainable solutions.