On June 6, Mr. Kabir Jurazoda, Director of the CAREC Institute, spoke at the plenary session of the International Conference “Central Asia: Towards Sustainable Future Through Strong Regional Institution,” dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS). The conference is organized by the IFAS Executive Committee with the support of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan in cooperation with development partners, from June 5-7, 2023, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The conference aims to highlight the role of the IFAS as a unique platform for water and environmental cooperation in Central Asia, reflect on past achievements, provide insight into current areas of cooperation, and develop a program for the future vision.
Mr. Kabir Jurazoda noted that CAREC countries face enormous challenges in the water sector, such as losses of up to 60 percent of irrigated agricultural water; risks in public, state-owned and heavily regulated water sector which make the sector unattractive for private sector investment; and difficulties in managing the water infrastructure built for large collective farms for modern agricultural production. “Therefore, strengthening all aspects of the knowledge base for water management is fundamental at the national and regional levels; and regional coordination is becoming increasingly important as countries pursue sovereign development goals towards water and energy self-sufficiency,” the Director said.
The CAREC Institute published the report ” Water Infrastructure in Central Asia: Promoting Sustainable Financing and Private Capital Participation,” which includes an assessment of infrastructure financing needs, bottlenecks, types of financing, potential for mobilizing private capital, and financing priorities for water infrastructure in irrigated agriculture of the five Central Asian countries. Increased international financing for sustaining large-scale water infrastructure and the construction of new hydro-technical facilities have also been explored. The report finds that the existing financial system for water resources management lacks efficiency and effectiveness. The investment environment in the water sector does not support private finance. Therefore, malfunctioning of the infrastructure owing to aging and delayed operation and maintenance became regular at all water systems across the region. The report calls on the countries of the region and international development institutions to intensify their efforts to create sustainable mechanisms for financing the water sector.
The Institute also produced the report on Water-Agriculture-Energy nexus in Central Asia through the lens of climate change which examines the climate vulnerabilities of Central Asia’s water, agriculture, and energy sectors at the province level, using an index-based approach that quantifies their exposure, sensitivities, and adaptive capacities. The energy sector assessment considers the challenges associated with meeting projected increases in electricity demand, as well as a global imperative to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the century. As a universal barometer for measuring adaptive capacity for all three sectors across the provinces, the study uses proxies for their economic and institutional performances.
The Institute hosts regular CAREC Water Dialogues to facilitate expert discussions with key development partners, leading experts, and national stakeholders. Participants in these policy dialogues noted that Central Asian countries can benefit from the transition to green energy if they develop strong and effective mechanisms for regional cooperation and knowledge sharing. “As a generator of knowledge in the region, the CAREC Institute will always work closely with our partners, shareholders, and other regional research institutions to provide the necessary knowledge products, scientific results, and capacity building activities that can be translated into practical policy action for the benefit of the countries of the region” concluded Mr. Kabir Jurazoda.