Session 5: Water and Climate Security in Central Asia


The panel pinpoints the nexus between climate change/water and security in Central Asia. Central Asia exhibits one of the world’s highest water-stress levels, i.e. its demand for water greatly exceeds the accessible amount. A combination of climate change which evaporates water and melts glaciers, a growing population, persisting per capita consumption levels, as well as unaltered weak regional water management institutions, are likely to render water-stress levels even grimmer in the foreseeable future. Besides, there is the problem of partially opposing preferences between upstream and downstream countries in the region. Taken together, the above factors may contribute to increasing security concerns about water. Panel participants discuss the water/security nexus at different levels of analysis – generally and more specifically using select examples. Themes include the identification of expert views on water security in Central Asia, security-related problems associated with dam projects (particularly involving up- and downstream countries), as well as opportunities for, and challenges to, developing trust in transboundary water governance institutions. Each panelist suggests strategies to alleviate identified problems.

Chair:

Dr. Sebastian Mayer,

Kazakh-German University, Almaty

Session partners:


Main speakers


Dr. Dinara Ziganshina

Scientific Information Center of Interstate Commission for Warer Coordination in Central Asia, Uzbekistan

Aliya Assubaeva

Nazarbaev University, Kazakhstan

Dr. Filippo Menga

University of Reading, United Kingdom

Bota Sharipova

Green Central Asia Initiative/ Kazakh-German University, Kazakhstan

Dr. Dinara Ziganshina has been the Deputy Director of the Scientific Information Center of Interstate Commission for Water Coordination in Central Asia, based in Tashkent, for seven years . SIC ICWC is an information and analytical body, which develops methods and approaches of prospective development, improvement of water management and ecological situation in the basin. It is collaborating with a network of scientific and design organizations of the five countries of Central Asia, has national branches in three countries which, in turn, organize scientific and information exchange at the national level. She served as Alternate Governor of the World Water Council and is currently a member of the Implementation Committee under the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes Before, she achieved a PhD at the HP-HELP Center for Water Law, Policy and Science at the University of Dundee, United Kingdom. She worked on the law of transboundary watercourses in the Aral Sea Basin shared by Afghanistan and five post-Soviet countries of Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – and studied how international law works to address transboundary water challenges in the Aral Sea Basin.

Aliya Assubaeva is a Ph.D. Candidate in Public Policy at Graduate School of Public Policy, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan. Her background is agricultural economics and water resources management. She is writing the Ph.D. thesis on Water Security in Central Asia: Economic and Policy Implications under the supervision of Professor Stefanos Xenarios. Currently, works as Research & Teaching Assistant at Nazarbayev University.

Filippo Menga is Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Reading. His current research focuses on water politics – particularly in relation to hydraulic infrastructure and water charities – and on the ontological tensions triggered by the Anthropocene. He has published articles on these topics in a wide range of academic journals, andis Associate Editor of Political Geography. He is also the author of Power and Water in Central Asia (Routledge), and co-editor (with Erik Swyngedouw), of Water, Technology and the Nation-State (Earthscan).

Bota Sharipova is from Kazakhstan and since 2011 she has been involved in a wide range of water-related transboundary projects in the Aral Sea Basin while working for the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea (2011-2017) and Natural Resources Institute at the German-Kazakh University (2017-2018). With the background in International Relations, she graduated in 2020 with the joint Master’s degree in Water Cooperation and Diplomacy from the University for Peace (Costa-Rica), IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education (the Netherlands) and the Oregon State University (USA). Currently she is a Research Fellow of the Green Central Asia initiative of the German Federal Foreign Office at the German-Kazakh University and serves as a Consultant on water education in Central Asia for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

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