On 22-23 September 2016 International Scientific Conference “Water Resources of Central Asia and Their Use”, devoted to summarizing results of the United Nations Decade for Action “Water for Life”, took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The event was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kazakh National Research Technical University, jointly with the Institute of Geography of Kazakhstan, supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, as well as UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office and UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO IHP).
The two-day Conference was attended by more than 130 participants, including high level representatives of ministries and governmental institutions of Central Asian countries, international organizations, as well as water scientists and experts from Central Asia, Belarus, Russia, Switzerland and Germany.
The Conference programme consisted of the High Level Round Table and a number of thematic sessions, including:
- Geographic information systems and mathematical modeling;
- Water resources of Central Asia in the context of climate change;
- Water resources management: principles, methods, results;
- Hydrological extremes;
- Transboundary surface and groundwater cooperation.
UNESCO and its partners made a significant contribution to the programme of the event, including participation in the High Level Round Table, presentation of IHP activities at the plenary session, chairing the Session on transboundary water cooperation, as well as a number of interventions at various thematic sessions.
The outcomes of the conference have become essential for strengthening the cooperation of Central Asian countries in addressing water issues and achieving the goals of the International Decade for Action "Water for Life" (2005-2015) and the International Year of Water Cooperation (2013). The decision of the Conference emphasized that strengthening and consolidation of the available research and technical capacities, interaction of scientific communities at national and interstate level, as well as education at all levels is crucial for the sustainable development of the Central Asian countries.