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Executive Committee of the International Fund for Aral Sea Saving PDF Print E-mail
Written by Iskander Beglov   
Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The Central Asian countries, having the established immemorial cultural and economic relationships, occupy the territory with similar environmental characteristics. The nature is formed by the high mountain ranges of Pamir and Tien Shan, vast desert and steppes, the large Asian rivers of Amudarya and Syrdarya, and inland water bodies – the largest of which are the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea.   

Since 1960 till 1990, the large scale development of new lands took place in the Aral Sea basin. As a result, the irrigated acreage and the water diversions doubled. Thereupon, the inflow to the Aral Sea has decreased abruptly, the sea level has lowered by more than 21 m by 2002, and the water surface area has shrunk more than three-fold.
The economic losses connected with the change of climate and hydrochemical characteristics of water bodies, the cutback in fishery in the Aral Sea, the degradation of more than 4 Mha of land, and the loss of biodiversity in the region amount to several milliards of dollars a year.  
The consequences affected the living standards and health of more than 5 million people living in the deltas of Amudarya and Syrdarya. The most vulnerable strata of the society, i.e. children, women and the low-income people of Prearalie were the first victims of this environmental disaster. 
In order to overcome the environmental disaster and improve the socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea basin, which is recognized by the world community as a gravest catastrophe of the XX century, the Heads of Central Asian states established the International Fund for the Aral Sea Saving (IFAS) in 1993.
The main activities of the Fund include:
• financing and lending joint interstate environmental and research-practical programs and projects directed towards the saving of the Aral Sea and the improvement of environmental situation in the catastrophe-affected areas, as well as solving the common environmental problems in the region;
• financing fundamental and applied research and development on restoration of environmental equilibrium, efficient resource management and nature protection;
• creating and ensuring functioning of the interstate environmental monitoring system, data bank and other systems reflecting the state of natural environment in the Aral Sea basin;
• mobilizing funds for joint measures to protect air basin, water and land resources, flora and fauna;
• financing joint research and technological projects and developments on transboundary inland water management;
• participating in international projects and programs aimed at saving the Aral Sea and improving the environment of its basin.
The International Fund for the Aral Sea Saving functions on the basis of decisions made by the Council of the Heads of State and the IFAS Board, IFAS By-laws, and Agreement on the status of IFAS and its bodies, etc.

The Executive Committee of IFAS is a permanent executive body established by the founder-states: Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Republic of Uzbekistan.
The Executive Committee of IFAS was established in order to:
• ensure fulfillment of decisions made by the Council of the Heads of Central Asian States, the President of IFAS and the IFAS Board in context of the problems in the Aral Sea basin;
• implement projects and programs relevant for the Aral Sea basin;
• coordinate its branches located in IFAS founder-states;
• promote activities of the Interstate Coordination Water Commission (ICWC) and the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC);
• extend cooperation with international organizations, donor-countries, environmental and other funds for mainstreaming of activities related to environmental problems and ecologically-destabilized area restoration;
• accumulate finances and other resources for their target use.
The Executive Committee of IFAS elaborates and implements projects and programs aimed to improve environmental situation in the Aral Sea basin. Every year, large funds are allocated within the framework of socio-economic development, health protection, environmental conservation programs and other national measures in order to prevent negative impact of the Aral Sea disaster. The Executive Committee (EC) keeps accounting of those measures.
One of the main directions in EC IFAS activity is to bring to the attention of the international community the catastrophic situation in the Aral Sea and to organize financing of socio-economic and environmental programs in the region.
The EC IFAS together with its branches in the founder-states takes an active part in all the regional and national programs and projects aimed at environmental improvement in the Aral Sea basin.
The EC IFAS works diligently in order to achieve the objectives of socio-economic and environmental improvement in the region.
Contacts:
Executive Committee of the International Fund for the Aral Sea Saving
Dostyk avenue, 280, Almaty, 050020 
Republic of Kazakhstan
Phone: +7(727) 387 34 31
Fax: +7(727) 387 34 33
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it
www.ec-ifas.org

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 March 2010 )
 
           
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