A new capacity development network was launched in Central Asia on the 27th of September 2012. Going by the name CAR@WAN, the network has its work cut out. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought about the new challenge of cooperation in managing, using and sharing what were previously national water resources (and associated infrastructure) that became distributed in the five countries of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The flow of resources between what were previously different regions of the same country became restricted. Nowhere is this clearer than in the two major shared rivers of Syr Darya and the Amu Darya where there is competition for water for summer irrigation in downstream countries and winter energy needs in upstream countries.
Climate variability and change add an extra layer of complexity to these issues. In a recent article in Nature, researchers(Sorg et al., 2012) predict that based on IPPC projections, the river systems of the Tien Shan (known as the 'water tower of Central Asia') might partly lose their glacier buffering mechanism, which is particularly important during dry spells, and react more directly to variations in precipitation. The network plans to contribute to improving local capacity to address such complex issues. As such, the Central Asia network was launched at training course on climate change adaption organised by the UNDP in Central Asia in partnership with Cap-Net and UNESCO-IHE.
All the best to CAR@WAN. For more information contact Marcela Fabianova firstname.lastname@example.org and Natalia Alexeeva email@example.com