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CENTRAL ASIA: International organisations and multilateral banks consolidate positions on sustainable development in Central Asia during EDB roundtable

18 November

Courtesy of The Times of Central Asia []

di Emanuele G. - lunedì 20 novembre 2023 - 987 letture

The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) on November 16 in Almaty hosted a roundtable entitled Promoting Sustainable Development in Central Asia, bringing together representatives from international organisations and multilateral development banks. Participants from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, FAO, UNIDO, UNEP, ESCAP, UNDP, the World Health Organisation, the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and CICA, among others, discussed irrigation and water challenges, the environmental and social standards of international financial institutions and case studies illustrating collaborations in project implementation.

The first session featured the presentation of the EDB’s latest report, Efficient Irrigation and Water Conservation in Central Asia. In his opening remarks, Nikolai Podguzov, Chairman of the EDB Management Board, emphasised that water, food and energy are extremely interconnected in Central Asia, making the development of the region’s water and energy complex a strategic priority for the EDB.

“There is a pressing water situation currently evolving. Over the next five years, it may worsen seriously and then Central Asia will face a severe water deficit. Countries need to collectively address this issue with support from multilateral development banks,” he stressed.

Tatiana Proskuryakova, Regional Director for Central Asia at the World Bank, highlighted that the region’s sustainable development stands as an important objective for international organisations and multilateral financial institutions. “This theme is key for us at the World Bank. Our investment portfolio in Central Asia approximates US $12 billion, with about a quarter of it allocated to the water, energy and environmental sectors. In the near future, the share of such projects will escalate to nearly half,” she underscored.

During the presentation of the Efficient Irrigation and Water Conservation in Central Asia study, Evgeny Vinokurov, EDB Chief Economist, outlined ten steps aimed at addressing the prevalent issues. These encompass establishing an International Water and Energy Consortium; fostering collaboration among multilateral banks; creating a regional cluster to produce irrigation equipment; consolidating efforts to strengthen cooperation with Afghanistan; using PPP instruments; instituting proper water accounting; gradually integrating investment charges into the tariff structure; improving land conditions; implementing digital technology; and leveraging state-of-the-art irrigation technology and laser levelling.

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