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OSCE helps reduce risk of conflict over irrigation water distribution in Kyrgyzstan.

A final conference of a project under which the OSCE provided training to Water User Associations (WUA), irrigation equipment and construction material for canal renovation to reduce the potential for conflict over water distribution in Kyrgyzstan, was held on November 9. The conference participants concluded that the trained WUAs are now able to address the challenges of water distribution in the country more effectively. "Conflict over precious resources such as water often gives rise to localized tensions that can widen," said Ambassador Andrew Tesoriere, the Head of the OSCE Centre in Bishkek. "The OSCE has been working successfully with the Water User Associations in Kyrgyzstan, who shoulder the responsibility for the allocation of irrigation water. This is particularly important in the densely populated Ferghana valley. We aim to strengthen the support WUAs can give each other in reducing the risks of conflict over water." He added that the exchange of opinions and lessons learned during today's conference would serve as a basis for shaping future OSCE activities in this area. Nematjan Pattaev, the Director of the WUA Omur-Suu, stressed that "one reason for the success of this programme has been the application of the mentoring method when less experienced WUAs received from their more experienced peers first-hand knowledge about efficient administration and budgeting, new irrigation methods to prevent soil salinisation and reduce the amount of water consumed, as well as ways of conflict mediation and resolution". In the framework of the project "Capacity Building Support for Water Users Associations in southern Kyrgyzstan", the OSCE trained 55 representatives of eleven mentoring WUAs, who in turn provided peer-to-peer mentoring to 330 members of 33 other associations. In addition to capacity building, limited technical assistance was provided in the form of irrigation equipment and construction material for canal renovation.

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Publication:AKIpress News Agency
Article Type:Conference notes
Geographic Code:9KYRG
Date:Nov 10, 2011
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