Caucasus : A roadmap for organizing IWRM in the Kura River Basin

(The News N° 21 - January 2011)

The REC (Regional Environmental Center) Caucasus has requested support from IOWater to finalize the TACIS project for which it is responsible for "creating an enabling environment for integrated management of the transboundary Kura- Aras Basin".

The Basin covers 205,037 km2 and the Kura River flows into the Caspian Sea. It is the main river of the three South Caucasus countries. Armenia has 100% of its territory in the basin, Azerbaijan nearly 80% and Georgia over 50%. Upstream, the basin is shared with Iran and Turkey.

The strategy proposed to the three Caucasian countries relies on the development of a national roadmap for structuring the main objectives to prepare management plans for the portion of the basin owned by each State and a regional roadmap to coordinate actions for developing a “roof” synthetic management plan. The latter covers the transboundary aspects of the entire basin.

The three States have closer relations with the EU under the European Neighborhood Policy. The principles of the European Water Framework Directive have been used as a standard. A coordination mechanism was proposed, based on the creation of a working group prefiguring the operating mode of an international commission.

The developed mechanism would allow technicians in South Caucasus countries to acquire and harmonize methodologies for planning water resources to be used more effectively in the basin following the example of the Common Implementation Strategy (CIS), established in the European Union to harmonize the implementation of the Water Framework Directive between the Member States.