In 2023, the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) will be 30 years old. The Founders of the Found are the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
IFAS is a unique organization and political platform that plays an important role in the development and strengthening of water cooperation between the countries of Central Asia.
Water in Central Asia plays an important role not only in socio-economic development but also in the development of regional cooperation. The countries of the region are united by two great
rivers – the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, which have been giving life-giving water to the population, agricultural lands, and other sectors of the economy of the countries of the region for centuries.
An important feature of the region in the context of water resources is the uneven distribution of water resources: more than 80% of the region’s water resources are formed on the territory of two upstream
countries – Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and the lion’s share of the use – more than 80% of water resources falls on three downstream countries – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is obvious that in such conditions it is impossible to solve complex water management issues without appropriate regional cooperation. Moreover, the upstream countries, due to the lack of sufficient fuel and energy resources,
are interested in using water mainly in winter to meet their energy needs, while the downstream countries are interested in using water resources mainly in summer for irrigation of agricultural land.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the acquisition of independence in 1991, the countries of the region switched to a policy of self-sufficiency and self-sufficiency. However, taking into account
the transboundary nature of water resources, in February 1992 they signed the Almaty Agreement and created the ICWC. Further, in 1993, in order to mitigate the Aral Sea crisis and improve the socio-economic and environmental situation, the Heads of State of the region created
the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea. Thus, a solid foundation was laid for regional cooperation in the field of water resources and ecology.
At the dawn of our countries independence, there were many statements that water would become a bone of contention and lead to instability in the Central Asian region. But, as time shows, thanks to the wise leadership of the heads of States and governments of the countries of the region, it was possible not only to resolve water issues without conflict but also to move much further by creating a new
infrastructure. Of course, IFAS has played a significant role in achieving this result.
The Executive Committee of IFAS plans to organize and hold a number of anniversary events dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.
On this basis, the IFAS Executive Committee has prepared a Plan of organizational measures for the preparation and celebration of the 30th anniversary of the formation of the International Fund for Saving
the Aral Sea. According to this plan, it is planned to create an Organizing Committee (Organizing Committee) from among the representatives of the countries of the region in the Executive
Committee of IFAS for the preparation and holding of commemorative events dedicated to the 30th anniversary of IFAS.
In 2023, it is also planned to hold a number of historical events, such as the next anniversary meetings of the Council of the Heads of the Founding States of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea
and the Consultative Meeting of the Heads of Central Asian States, as well as an International conference dedicated to the 30th anniversary of IFAS.
In order to promote the activities of IFAS and attract more attention of the world community to the problems of the Aral Sea basin and their solution, the Executive Committee plans to prepare and conduct
national and regional events in the IFAS founding countries.
The Executive Committee of IFAS also plans to take advantage of the unique opportunities and platform of international events on water resources, including the UN 2023 Water Conference (New York) to promote the 30th anniversary of IFAS and the problems of the Aral Sea.
On the sidelines of this Conference, it is planned to organize and hold thematic sessions, seminars, meetings, and exhibitions dedicated to the problems of the Aral Sea and cooperation, and the desire of the Central Asian countries to solve it.