Regions and network

UNEPGEFUniversity of Kalmar
Subregion 24: Aral Sea

Focal Point Co-ordinator
Prof. Felix Stolberg
Head of Env. Engineering and Management Department
Kharkov State Academy of Municipal Economy
Address: Ukraine, 61002
Kharkov, Revolutzii St.12
Phone/fax: +380 (572)379055
Mobile: +380 (50) 323 06 22
Prof. Felix Stolberg
Assiatant coordinator
Dr. Olena Borysova
Kharkov State Academy of Municipal Economy
Dr. Olena Borysova

  • Major intergovernmental agreements and actors
  • Action programmes, strategies, and research
  • State of the regional environment
  • GEF Projects in the region
  • Other actors and initiatives

    Major intergovernmental agreements and actors

    International Aral Sea Rehabilitation Fund
    "Having realized the necessity of pioneering and developing of new countries in conformity with laws of nature and considering its potentials", the Governments and peoples of the Republic of Kazakstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, have developed the Aral Sea Programme, a program of urgent measures for the Aral Sea. Coordinating body for the programme is the International Fund for the Aral Sea, IFIS, with its Executive Committee located in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
    The countries established the International Aral Sea Rehabilitation Fund in 1993 and the IFIS operative body, the Executive Board, is located in the city of Almaty. The Fund has the following objectives: stabilization and improvement of management of the Aral Sea Basin's environment; rehabilitation of disaster zones surrounding the Aral Sea; improvement of management of scarce water resources in the region; capacity building of local and state institutions on planning and implementation of regional programs.

    UN Economic Commission for Europe, ECE
    The Environment and Human Settlements Division is part of the secretariat of the UN ECE. It brings together economists, scientists, urban planners and other experts, and organizes the regular intergovernmental meetings of the Committee on Environmental Policy, the Executive Body for the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes and the Committee on Human Settlements. At these meetings, government representatives from Europe, North America, Central Asia and Israel address environmental and human settlements issues, such as environmental impact assessment, air and water pollution, urban renewal or land registration.

    UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP
    Within the Water Resources Programme under its Environment and Natural Resources Development Division, the UN ESCAP organizes seminars and workshops on various issues relating to water resources, including: Water resources assessment; Integrated water resources development and management; Protection of water resources, water quality and aquatic ecosystems; River basin development and management; Promotion of infrastructure development and investment for drinking water supply and sanitation; Water pricing and promotion of private investment in the water sector; Water demand management, water saving and economic use of water; and Mitigation of water-related natural disasters, particularly flood loss reduction.

    Financial institutions

    European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD
    The bank finances projects in three country groups (Central Europe; Russia and Central Asia; Southern and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus) and three s
    ectors: Financial Institutions; Infrastructure; and Industry and Commerce. The infrastructure group of projects contains four issues: Municipal and environmental infrastructure; Transport; Power and energy utilities; and Energy efficiency. The EBRD is directed by its Agreement to "promote in the full range of its activities environmentally sound and sustainable development", thereby being the first international financial institution to have been given such a proactive environmental mandate by its founders.

    European Investment Bank, EIB
    The European Union's financing and long-term lending institution. The EIB is mandated to conduct operations in: the Central and Eastern European Countries and certain Mediterranean Countries which have applied for membership of the EU; the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Countries; the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP), South Africa and the OCT; Asia and Latin America; the Western Balkans. Within the European Union, projects considered for EIB financing must contribute to a number of set objectives, including the preservation of the natural and urban environment. Outside the Union, the Bank participates in implementing the Union's development aid and cooperation policies through long-term loans from own resources or subordinated loans and risk capital from EU or Member States' budgetary funds.


    Action programmes, strategies and research

    Aral Sea Recovery Plan
    The World Bank, in cooperation with local governments, has devised a comprehensive strategy to stabilize the situation, called the Aral Sea Recovery Plan. The Plan's long term strategy includes: . . "actions to mitigate the impacts of environmental degradation, to develop sustainable water management strategies, and to develop regional institutions with the capacity to implement the program." The objective of the Plan is to improve the efficiency of water use throughout the basin, through the introduction of modern water management systems, through the changing of cropping patterns to those that use less water, and through international cooperation agreements to ensure the wise use of these finite water resources. The water conserved and the improved economic conditions that will be achieved will lead to stabilization of the environment, and is an important step in the reform process underway in the Central Asian region.

    UNDP Project on the Aral Sea
    A Dutch-funded programme to stabilize and rehabilitate the Aral Sea Basin environment, focusing on improved management of its international waters. As executing agency for the programme, UNDP and its implementing partner, UNOPS, have organized training for staff of national ministries and institutes in areas such as water resources management, environmental impact assessment, and integrated pest management, and has also promoted the participation of civil society in environmental protection through compiling NGO directories, publishing the Aral Sea Basin Monitor, and organizing a Central Asian NGO Conference on the Aral Sea. The UNDP programme document for "Urgent Human Needs: Aral Seashore Rehabilitation and Capacity Development Programme" can be downloaded from UNDP Uzbekistan.

    Regional Vision for the Aral Sea Basin
    Also available as a pdf document. Regional visions form the basis for effective action, even as elements of a global plan. As a part of the Water Vision project, Regional Consultations were held and resulted in Regional Visions. The objective was to involve the stakeholders of each region in the development of their own regional vision, as the building blocks of the World Water Vision. Guided by the World Commission on Water in the 21st Century and managed by the World Water Vision Unit hosted by of the UNESCO Division of Water Science, the World Water Vision "aims to develop a massive public awareness of the risks of major water problems as a result of inaction, as well as encourage innovative thinking on how these problems can be tackled. It should encourage and empower people to participate in devising and implementing solutions to these water problems. And it should generate the political commitment to turn this increased public awareness into effective action".

    Water-related vision for the Aral Sea Basin, Medicins Sans Frontiers
    Comments and proposals to the World Water Vision Regional Vision for the Aral Sea Basin. See also the MSF Aral Sea Area Programme.

    A regional water balance of the Aral Sea Basin through GIS, FAO
    One of the programmes of FAO's Land and Water Development Division (AGL) for the biennium 1998-1999 was the development of Land and Water Information Systems (LWIS). The programme included activities for the development of LWIS at global, regional, national and sub-national levels. At global level the objectives of the programme were to develop a capability to asses the state of land and water resources to help predicting the potential for future agricultural production world wide.
    See more information on the water resources of the Aral Sea Basin.


    State of the regional environment

    Consequences of the Aral crisis
    Information published by the International Aral Sea Rehabilitation Fund

    Contaminated water devastates health across the Aral Sea region, FAO
    FAO information on the Aral Sea.

    State of the environment of the Aral Sea Basin
    Regional environmental report on the Aral Sea Basin. The first example of a regional report prepared for decision-makers and for the public and which is intended for publication on the Internet. The report is based on the system of ecological indicators, whose set and structure reflect both peculiarities of the Central Asian region and typical European and international experience. Purposes: data collection and brief characteristics of modern environment state of Central Asia improvement of access to information on environment state in the countries of the Aral Sea basin spreading the report in the Internet, UNEP and by CD-ROM development of regianal complex ecological information system. The report has been prepared on the initiative of the International Fund for the Aral Sea (IFAS) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) under financial support of the Norway Trust Fund at the World Bank. The contents has been prepared by various ministries and committees on environment protection of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan under the technical co-ordination of the SIC Aral at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University (Bishkek).

    Aral Sea
    An article on the state of the environment.

    World Stat Images of the Aral Sea, 1976 and 1997

    Water features and water issues: Aral Sea
    Images of the Aral Sea published by NASA.

    Aral Sea images

    GEO 2000 State of the Environment: Europe and Central Asia

    Global Enviroment Outlook 2000. GEO is:

    • a global environmental assessment process, the GEO Process, that is cross-sectoral and participatory. It incorporates regional views and perceptions, and builds consensus on priority issues and actions through dialogue among policy-makers and scientists at regional and global levels.
    • GEO outputs, in printed and electronic formats, including the GEO Report series. This series makes periodic reviews of the state of the world's environment, and provides guidance for decision-making processes such as the formulation of environmental policies, action planning and resource allocation. Other outputs include technical reports, a web site and a publication for young people.

    GEF Projects in the region

    Projects under implementation

    World Bank - GEF - International Waters:
    Water and Environmental Management in the Aral Sea Basin
    Project objective is to address the root causes of the overuse and pollution of water in the Aral Sea Basin, support the sustainable mgmt. and future development of its natural resources by formalizing, and then implementing the first stage of, a regional strategic action plan. Project will help 5 states sharing the Basin to (a) develop and implement regl. and natl. water mgmt. strategies and agreements focusing on water uses, efficiency and sharing, (b) assess water quality problems, develop cost-effective strategies to improve water quality, (c) expand and upgrade monitoring and regl. databases on water quantity, dynamics and quality, enhance a regl. envntl. information system in order to support decision-making, (d) restore certain Aral Sea wetlands, (e) support campaign to educate the public about the nature/extent of the problems.


    Other actors, initiatives and resources


  • Global International Waters Assessment, GIWA
    SE- 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden
    Phone: +46- 480 44 60 00. Fax: +46- 480 44 73 55.

    page last modified on 22 August 2006