How can the Aral Sea be saved? by Professor Dr . Abdulwahap Kara

At a Consultation Meeting of Central Asian heads of state President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasised the need to take decisive measures in order to effectively use the water resources of the Aral sea, writes Professor Dr. Abdulwahap Kara.

The meeting took place in the city of Cholpon-Ata of Kyrgyzstan on July 21st, 2022, and in addition to Tokayev, it was attended by President of Kyrgyzstan Sadir Zhaparov, President of Tajikistan Imamali Rahman, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov and President of Uzbekistan Shevket Mirziyoyev.

In his speech at the meeting, the President of Kazakhstan stated the need to take concrete measures to ensure the efficient use of water resources in the Aral Sea basin related to current climate problems, increased demand for water and energy resources, and invited his colleagues to intensify cooperation between the countries within the framework of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.

It was very appropriate that the problem of the Aral Sea was also discussed at the Consultative Meeting Heads of State of Central Asia. Because the environmental problem that the Central Asian countries adopted from the Soviet Union, the drying up of the Aral Sea, which began in the 1960s, unfortunately continues to this day.

Aral Sea 3

Many other factors have a negative impact on the health and well-being of people in the region, including those related to desertification, changes in river cycles and global climate change. Although the Aral Sea problem is located on the territory of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, it causes environmental damage to other countries in the region and even remote corners of the world.

For this reason, the United Nations, especially neighboring countries, are conducting various corrective studies. International experts note the need for a constant open dialogue between the countries of the basin, the search for mutually acceptable solutions, mutual consideration of their interests, a call for joint action on environmental issues of neighbours in the region on the Aral Sea problem.

The countries of the region have created two organisations to improve the dialogue. One of them is the Central Asian Interstate Coordinating Water Management Commission (ICWC), established in 1992. It celebrated its 30th birthday at a meeting held in Turkestan, Kazakhstan, on April 26th this year.

Secondly, in 1993 Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan jointly established the International Fund for the Restoration of the Aral Sea (IFAS). Next March will also mark the 30th anniversary of this Foundation, which serves as a platform for solving common water management, environmental and socio-economic problems. However, from time to time there were incidents.

For example, Kyrgyzstan has decided to "freeze" its participation in the work of IFAS since 2016. However, recently the "ice" has begun to melt. Since last year, official representatives of relevant ministries and departments of the Kyrgyz Republic have been actively participating in the activities of the Working Group on Improving the Organisational Structure and Regulatory Framework of IFAS and presenting official positions and recommendations of the country.

It would be useful to move forward and make sure that Bishkek hosts the next chairmanship of the Foundation and coordinates the transformation process. Another problem that environmentalists of the Central Asian region pay attention to is violations of international water law.

All Central Asian countries agreed to comply with the approved plans and established principles of water distribution, which more or less maintained the water balance of rivers and lakes. Despite this, some countries of the Syr-Darya River basin continue to build new hydroelectric power plants independently, without approval. This has a negative impact on the rescue operations of the Aral Sea. Because the water in the Northern Aral or the Small Aral comes only from the Syr Darya. In addition, natural or man-made pollution, destruction or accidents at reservoirs in the upper and middle reaches of the Syr Darya directly affect the lower reaches.

It is inevitable that settlements and agricultural lands in these areas will be flooded, damaged and destroyed.

In conclusion, it can be said that the prevention of major environmental problems and other disasters related to the Aral Sea is closely linked to the close cooperation of the countries of the region in this direction. Solving this problem requires coordination of joint actions and strict adherence to the planned strategic plans, which, of course, is the most necessary for saving the Aral Sea. Heads of State of Central Asia IV. The fact that this issue is on the agenda of the Consultative Meeting is encouraging.


This article originally appeared in Vatan:

https://www.oncevatan.com.tr/aral-denizi-nasil-kurtarilacak-makale,54932.html


Main Image: By NASA - https://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/SearchPhotos/photo.pl?mission=STS085&roll=503&frame=119, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...


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Abdulwahap Kara

Abdulwahap Kara

Professor Dr. Abdulwahap Kara is known all over the Turkic World with his researche into the history, language and culture of the whole Turkic World, especially Kazakhstan. He served in the Ottoman State archives in 1987 and 1988. During 1988-1995, he worked as the editor of the Kazakh Turkish broadcast of Azatlık (Hürriyet) radio in Munich, Germany.

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