IFAS – Platform for Sustainable Development of Central Asia

UZA News

The International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) is a special interstate organization in Central Asia, currently in the process of being improved on its 30th anniversary. Initiatives of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, whose priority is cooperation with the region’s countries, have given a new impetus to the work of IFAS. One of the most important tasks for the neighboring countries is the consistent continuation of large-scale work to overcome the consequences of the Aral crisis. Uzbekistan sets an example of active search and implementation of projects in this direction and attracts the international community to this. In 2018, a Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea region was established under the auspices of the UN, and the International Innovation Center of the Aral Sea Region was established under the President of Uzbekistan. Saxaul and tamarix have been planted on almost 1.7 million hectares of the dried bottom of the Aral Sea. The IFAS works in four key areas – water resources, energy, environment, and socio-economic development. With the increasingly aggravating negative consequences of climate change, the role of the IFAS is further strengthened. The Fund has high hopes for solving one of the most sensitive tasks of the region – the rational use of water resources. IFAS can serve as a single platform for the countries of the region to jointly develop new mechanisms for the distribution of transboundary water resources, strengthen measures to introduce modern water-saving technologies, and find ways to store water efficiently. The issue of improving the organizational structure and legal framework of the IFAS has long been on the agenda. In 2018, a Regional Working Group (RWG) was established to improve the organizational structure and legal framework of IFAS. Experts and international consultants were also involved in the RWG. Consultative meetings of the heads of Central Asian states have become a significant factor in intensifying cooperation within the framework of IFAS. International partners such as UNECE and GIZ provide all possible support and actively participate in its improvement. IFAS has been an observer at the UN since 2008. Thanks to the efforts of all the founding countries, the UN General Assembly resolution “Cooperation between the United Nations and the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea” was adopted in 2018, and in 2021 a resolution was unanimously approved declaring the Aral Sea region a “zone of environmental innovation and technology”. It is expected that the results of the IFAS Summit will make it possible to build a new line of relations between the founding countries and lay a solid foundation for improving the organization’s activities.

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Mark Silaev
Glosema Account Manager