UNRCCA helps to build confidence between Central Asia countries on water, economic cooperation issues

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BISHKEK (TCA) — This year the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), based in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat, marks its 10th anniversary. In his interview with Uzbekistan’s Jahon information agency, Petko Draganov, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and UNRCCA head, said that the Center has provided a platform for Central Asian governments for dialogue on the most complex regional issues, including trans-boundary water use, countering security threats, strengthening stability, and developing regional cooperation.

The Center provides information support to the UN governing bodies with the aim of adopting and implementing timely and effective decisions. “Twice a year I address the Security Council with reports on the work done and analysis of the regional situation. The proposals that we are coordinating with the countries are brought to the attention of the Security Council members and receive international response,” Mr. Draganov said.

He went on saying that “We are sometimes told: ‘Your work is just talking, give us concrete results: roads, equipment, infrastructure, financial support, etc.’ Such reproaches are often heard by diplomats. I can recall the famous phrase: ‘As long as diplomats speak, guns go silent.’ The issues of social and economic development are the responsibility of the states themselves. The main goal of the Center is to build confidence between countries, which will create a favorable climate for all-round cooperation, including in the trade and economic sphere. Of course, the results of such work will not be immediately visible, but we note positive trends. We particularly welcome and support in practice the efforts of countries aimed at facilitating customs and other administrative barriers to trade.”

The UNRCCA head also said that for several years now, the Center has been working with the Central Asian states to create a legal mechanism for an integrated solution of the region’s water and energy issues. “Following several years of negotiations, in March 2017 the Center sent an updated proposal to governments on the development of agreements on the use of water resources in the Amudarya and Syrdarya river basins. The proposed projects are aimed at helping countries create a clear legal mechanism for managing trans-boundary water resources on the basis of taking into account the interests of all parties, the equivalence of different types of water use, rationality and justice. Projects also offer the creation of a multi-stage dispute resolution mechanism. I have already held the first round of talks in the capitals of the Central Asian states and have received confirmation of the willingness of most of them to negotiate on this issue,” Mr. Draganov said.

Sergey Kwan

TCA