Еcological Security Challenges in Central Asia: Problems of the Aral Sea and Lake Balkhash
Environmental problems in Central Asia related to the Aral Sea crisis have acquired international significance. The reasons for this phenomenon of the crisis are the intensive development of irrigation, excessive use of agrochemicals, the discharge into the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers of large volumes of returnable from irrigated fields, collector-drainage waters saturated with agrochemicals, as well as insufficiently treated municipal, industrial, livestock effluents. The decrease in the inflow of river waters into the Aral Sea led to a catastrophic drop in its level (more than 17 m), the development of desertification on a huge area of the drained seabed and river deltas. The quality of irrigation and drinking water has deteriorated everywhere. As a result, the morbidity of the population, child and maternal mortality, aggravated by the low socio-economic situation of the population, the imbalance of nutrition and others, has significantly increased.
To solve practical actions in the Aral Sea basin and the Aral Sea region, an Interstate Council was established in 1993, the Issyk-Kul (1995) and Almaty (1997) Declarations were adopted by the heads of Central Asian states and International organizations. The scale and complexity of the problems requires an integrated and multisectoral approach and the development of cooperation between the States of the region and the international community. The World Bank, the UN and its agencies, the European Community, as well as donor countries play an active role in coordinating the work.