UNECE's Dam Safety Project Nearly Complete

Officials representing five countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- where the safety of aging dams is a concern have agreed to continue their cooperation.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe is seeing one of its projects, Capacity-building for cooperation on dam safety in Central Asia, conclude successfully. A March 2-3 meeting saw representatives of five countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- agree to continue cooperating to ensure the safety of their aging dams. These are a "looming threat" because of growing populations downstream and extreme weather conditions, according to UNECE, which noted the failure of the Kyzyl-Agash Dam in Kazakhstan last year flooded a nearby village, killing at least 43 people and injuring more than 300 others.

The five-year project will end in June 2011. While much has been accomplished, future work includes implementing of national legislation, training experts, and signing of a cooperation agreement.

Progress so far includes a draft subregional agreement now on the table; national legislation in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; the drafting of model technical regulations for all countries in the subregion; better cooperation at the national level among agencies responsible for dam safety; and an increased capacity to deal with and awareness of dam safety issues from UNECE-organized training.

Finland funds the project. For more information, visit this website.

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