Water management policy development, regional water dialogue, confidence-building and supporting small hydropower development are the programmatic priorities of the OSCE Office in Tajikistan in the area of water management and energy security. Based on requests from the Government of Tajikistan, the Office has been gradually expanding its portfolio of water-related activities in recent years. In January 2009, a Water Management Unit was established as the designated focal point for bringing together projects and programmatic activities, analytical contributions and strategic advice on water issues. The Office closely cooperates with the Ministry of Land Reclamation and Water Resources and the Ministry of Energy and Industry in the implementation of its projects.
Fostering Regional Water Dialogue
As part of its programmatic activities focusing on facilitating transboundary water dialogue between Tajikistan and neighboring countries, the OSCE Office in Tajikistan provides support to the Kyrgyz-Tajik Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Water Management and works towards facilitating enhanced cooperation between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in the Isfara and Khodzha-Bakirgan River Basin shared by both countries. By organizing study tours on river basin management best practices for senior officials of the working group and conducting workshops for local authorities and civil society representatives, the Office is offering a platform for dialogue bringing together key stakeholders at different levels.
Building on its long-term partnership with the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (EC IFAS), the OSCE Office in Tajikistan supports EC IFAS and the Government of Tajikistan in the implementation of the Third Aral Sea Basin Programme (ASBP-3) aiming at elaborating mutually beneficial, environmentally and socially responsible solutions to challenges related to the use of shared water resources.
Contributing to Confidence-Building
Being a regional security organization that works towards preventing conflict and enhancing dialogue, the OSCE places great emphasis on measures contributing to confidence-building. A training series on “Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Negotiating for Sustainability” has been initiated by the OSCE Office in Tajikistan in 2010. The trainings bring together participants at expert level from all regions of Tajikistan and different ministries and state institutions in the fields of water management, energy and agriculture.
Supporting Water Policy Development and Technical Support
The OSCE Office in Tajikistan supports the Government of Tajikistan in the elaboration of a reform strategy for the national water sector and in making progress towards achieving the long-term goal of streamlining policies and legislative acts based on the standards of IWRM. It has supported the development of the Tajikistan Water Sector Development Programme 2010-2025, a comprehensive document developed by an inter-ministerial working group which provides practical recommendations for the enhancement of the national water sector. The OSCE Office in Tajikistan is also an active member of various joint initiatives with other international partners, such as the Tajikistan Water Supply and Sanitation Network (TajWSS).
Acknowledging the need for enhancing the collection, analysis and transfer of technical data related to water availability and use, an electronic water data information system was developed for the Ministry of Land Reclamation and Water Resources with the support of the OSCE Office in Tajikistan.
In 2010, at the request of the Government of Tajikistan, the Office was given the mandate to support the country in addressing energy security issues. The development of Small Hydro Power Plants (SHPP) has been identified as an optimal solution to make use of Tajikistan’s vast hydraulic potential. SHPPs require modest investments, can be practically constructed in one season, are easy to operate and can provide fast investment returns.
The Office supports the efforts of the Government of Tajikistan to create a conducive environment that contributes to attracting private investment in small SHPPs, building on the positive experience acquired recently in this field in other OSCE participating States.
Strategic Advice and Analysis
The programmatic activities of the OSCE Office in Tajikistan in the area of water management are complemented by a number of analytical products offering assessments and strategic advice related to water and energy issues in Tajikistan and Central Asia. The Office produces a bi-monthly Water and Energy News Bulletin and regularly gives presentations on the Central Asian Water-Energy Security Nexus to visiting delegations and experts.