USAID KICKS OFF A MONTH OF RIVER DAY CELEBRATIONS TO PROMOTE IMPROVED TRANSBOUNDARY CONSERVATION OF WATER

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For Immediate Release

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, August 24, 2022 – This week, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is kicking off a series of Syr Darya River Day celebrations in four countries of Central Asia to call attention to the need for improved transboundary cooperation in water management. Under the theme, “Syr Darya – A River of Friendship,” the events will raise awareness about water and climate challenges confronting the region and the importance of joint action to ensure future economic prosperity and water security for Central Asia. 

The Syr Darya river basin (along with its twin river, Amu Darya) supplies 90 percent of the region’s river water, provides home to 80 percent of Central Asia’s population, and covers 37 percent of the land area, including most of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

Kevin Adkin, Regional Environmental Specialist with the USAID Central Asia Regional Mission, said, “The United States is committed to building capacity in Central Asia for improved natural resource management as a means for increased economic prosperity and sustainable development. Indeed, River Day celebrations place an important focus on transboundary water cooperation and set an important foundation for future peace and prosperity in the region.”

The River Day celebrations are part of USAID’s Regional Water and Vulnerable Environment Activity, which works to strengthen technical capacity and regional cooperation on the management of shared water resources across Central Asia for improved stability, economic prosperity, and healthy ecosystems. After a month of national observances in the individual countries, USAID will host a regional capstone event in Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan, to discuss opportunities for enhancing dialogue among countries and creating conditions for better decision-making and water resource management.

The individual celebrations are scheduled for the following dates: 

Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan – Wednesday, August 24

Osh, Kyrgyzstan – Friday, August 26

Namangan, Uzbekistan – Friday, September 9

Isfara, Tajikistan – Tuesday, September 13

Regional celebration (in Kyzylorda) – Monday, September 26

The celebrations will include panel discussions with local officials and environmental groups focused on finding solutions to build resilience and adaptation measures for combating climate change impacts on water availability. University students and school children are competing in water-focused competitions for best essay and drawings to appreciate the significant role that youth will play in managing the region’s water in the future. Finally, all attendees will be invited to take part in environmental activities ranging from river clean-ups to tree plantings. 

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USAID’s Regional Water and Vulnerable Environment Activity is focused on strengthening regional capacity to manage shared water resources and mitigating environmental risks in the Syr Darya and Amu Darya river basins. The Activity takes a multi-level approach to tackling complex regional water challenges by strengthening collaboration through stakeholder dialogues; developing a shared vision for integrated and sustainable river basin management using evidence and modeling; and fostering collaborative action across sectors and governance levels.

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USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID’s work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience. For more information, visit: https://www.usaid.gov/central-asia-regional and USAID’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/USAIDCentralAsia.

Last updated: November 17, 2022

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