Discussing challenges and prospects of transboundary water management in Central and South Asia

June 28, 2024


Fergana, 27 June 2024 — Leading experts and specialists convened in Fergana today to discuss the challenges and prospects of transboundary water management in Central and South Asia. Organized jointly by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the Seminar served as a platform for exchanging insights and enhancing possible cooperation among regional and international stakeholders.

Water resources play an important role in ensuring food and energy security at both national and regional levels across Central and South Asia. The seminar focused on the sharing experiences and discussing transboundary water management in Central and South Asian countries, emphasising its urgent need in the face of ongoing climate change and population growth.   

The IMWI research group leader, Matthew McCartney noted: “The participants greatly benefited from this experience, gaining a broader perspective on transboundary water management. It is anticipated that today’s discussions have laid the groundwork for future dialogues and ongoing learning initiatives in water sector”.

The vulnerability of the Fergana Valley, known for its high population density, underscored the importance of transboundary dialogue and cooperation. Participants discussed comprehensive water resource management in transboundary basins, with a particular emphasis on the Syr Darya river sub-basins. Progress in water cooperation, ecological technologies, and gender-sensitive approaches were key topics, with examples from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan illustrating collaboration in solving global water and climate change challenges.

“The organisation of this seminar is very timely, because the challenges of water management in transborder region should be solved jointly teamwise” – said the representative of Uzbekistan Hydromet Gulnaz Hamdamova.

Experts of countries of South Asia also took part in the seminar and shared their best practices in water management from Bangladesh, Butan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal.  

“In south Asia, as in many other regions the capacity to store water is decreasing, while the demand for water is rapidly increasing. In this context, women often have less opportunities to voice. Poorly planned water infrastructure is more likely to affect them more than men. Therefore, in Nepal we work on promoting action-oriented recommendations for policies and strategies that enhance water security through better planning and management of water storage and improved regional cooperation.” – said Diluka Piyasena, Regional Coordinator at Global Water Partnership South Asia (GWPSAS)

UNDP works with the full water resources challenges around the globe and is engaged in applied water management across all the Sustainable Development Goals, in portfolios as diverse as Nature, Climate, Energy, Waste, Inclusive Growth, and Disaster Risk Reduction. In Fergana Valley UNDP’s regional project “Climate Change and Resilience in Central Asia” aims to support stability and climate-resilient development in the Ferghana Valley, a trans-border area of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

"This seminar became a platform to facilitate dialogue among state representatives, academic circles, and practitioners, women organizations and NGOs. The discussions have explored innovative models of collaboration within the water-climate sector highlighting priorities to be made for regions facing similar challenges”, said Mirzali Asatov, Head of Karadaria, Syrdaria, Amudaria rivers water resource management. 

The event was co-organized by UNDP and IWMI. At the regional level, UNDP and IWMI will continue supporting the regional dialogue to strengthen cooperation between countries in Fergana Valley in managing transboundary climate risk management, accelerating actions at the local levels, and strengthening the resilience of communities to climate change impact.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Ainagul Abdrakhmanova, UNDP Communications Officer in Kyrgyzstan at ainagul.abdrakhmanova@undp.org

Shahnoza Zafari, UNDP Communications Officer in Uzbekistan at shahnoz.zafari@undp.org 

Botirjon Abdurakhmanov, IWMI at b.abdurakhmanov@cgiar.org 


About UNDP:

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works in nearly 170 countries and territories, helping to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, and build resilience so countries can sustain progress. In Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, UNDP has been partnering with the government and people for over 30 years to address the country's most pressing development challenges.

About IWMI:

IWMI is an international, research-for-development organization, with offices in 15 countries and a global network of scientists operating in more than 55 countries. For over three decades, our research results have led to changes in water management that have contributed to social and economic development. IWMI is a Research Center of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future.