On 16 December, a roundtable on Aral Sea was held in Delft. Experts from Central Asian countries as well as representatives from international organisations gathered to discuss the past, present and future of the Aral Sea. The Roundtable was organised by IGRAC in cooperation with UNESCO-IHE as a part of the training course on Preventive Diplomacy for Transboundary Water Management with a Focus on Central Asia.
The disappearance of the Aral Sea, as a consequence of overexploitation of water for irrigated agriculture in the Aral Sea Basin, is considered one of the largest environmental catastrophes of our time. After his visit to the region, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called it "clearly one of the worst environmental disasters of the world." He also urged all leaders to sit down together and try to find solutions. Since his visit to the region in 2010, many initiatives have been taken in order to develop international cooperation between Central Asian countries. This Aral Sea Roundtable in Delft was meant to contribute to this process.
Presentations, Discussion and Outcomes
After the opening remarks by IGRAC Director Neno Kukuric, a presentation was given by Vadim Sokolov who is Acting Head of the IFAS Project Implementation Agency. In his presentation, he focused on the history of the Aral Sea first and then gave his views on the future of the Aral Sea. His main conclusion was that a regionally coordinated effort is required for restoring a stable water and environment system. Other presentations were given by Neno Kukuric, who focused on the role of groundwater in Central Asia, and Joop de Schutter, who shared his experience in the region in relation to water diplomacy.
In the discussion that followed, the roundtable participants posed questions related to the presentations and shared their views on the current situation and future solutions.
All outcomes and a detailed summary of this discussion can be found in this: Aral Sea Roundtable report.
- Full interview with H.E. Mr. Vladimir Norov on Aral Sea Roundtable
- Full interview with Dr. Vadim Sokolov on Aral Sea Roundtable
- Full interview with Mr. Joop de Schutter on Aral Sea Roundtable
For more information about IGRAC's avtivities in Central Asia click here.