UN World Water Development Report 2017: launch in Central Asia

Following the official launch of the UN World Water Development Report 2017, UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office has organized launch events of the Report in three Central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In addition, UNESCO Tashkent Office has presented the Report in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on 22 March 2017, during the World Water Day event.

To ensure wider dissemination of the main conclusions and recommendations of the WWDR 2017 in Central Asia, UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office, in cooperation with the Public Fund “Center “Cooperation for sustainable development” (Almaty, Kazakhstan), Central Asian Regional Water Network CAR@WAN and national partners, has organized three launch events of the Report with round table discussions in Central Asia capital countries: in Bishkek on March 31, in Almaty on April 7, and in Dushanbe on April 14.

A number of relevant stakeholders, including research and educational institutions, representatives of governmental entities, international organizations, independent experts and students took part in these events.

The participants have discussed a wide range of issues related to the subject of the Report, including legal framework of wastewater management, its impact to human health, access to water and sanitation in their countries, as well as capacity building of water specialists.

As a result of active discussions, the experts suggested a number of recommendations and conclusions in the following areas:
1. The amount of wastewater generated in Central Asia is increasing;
2. The uncontrolled discharge of untreated wastewater to the environment should be prevented;
3. The perception of wastewater should be changed, so that it is considered not as a problem but as a valuable resource in the context of growing demand for water;
4. Wastewater and its sludge should be used as a source of energy and useful raw materials for the needs of the agricultural and energy sectors;
5. Sanitary-epidemiological well-being of the Central Asian countries directly depends on adequate wastewater treatment;
6. Sufficient advocacy work should be undertaken to explain to all stakeholders in the region that the costs of modernization of water systems today will have a long term positive impact on all aspects of water management;
7. Addressing the wastewater management issues in Central Asia will play an essential role in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
8. All three countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) provide some legal framework (legal acts and regulations) in the field of wastewater management but there is a problem with its implementation in practice;
9. The water supply in urban areas is relatively satisfactory in all three countries, while wastewater management problems exist in both cities and rural areas. This problem is relevant in particular in Tajikistan, where the water supply and sanitation systems have not been upgraded since the collapse of the Soviet Union;
10. There is no centralized management of water supply and sanitation at the government level. It is necessary to improve cooperation among various environmental authorities;
11. Modernization of existing and construction of new water facilities is required;
12. There is need to strengthen control to separate industrial and municipal wastewater and to prevent its uncontrolled discharge;
13. It is necessary to promote education and capacity building of specialists in the field of water supply and wastewater management, as well as to increase public awareness on wastewater related issues.

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