A meeting of the Central Asian Network of Academic Societies (NAS) was recently held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on April 26, organized by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in partnership with the USAID Regional Water and Environment Project (WAVE).
The aim of the meeting was to discuss potential training modules on water diplomacy and water management for graduate students in various water professions, with thirty-six participants from 18 universities and development programs in attendance. NAS members identified modalities for further integration of the modules into the educational programs of Central Asian universities.
The meeting also highlighted that water and its management are not solely technical issues but are, in fact, political issues that extend far beyond the water sector. The concept of "water diplomacy" has become increasingly popular in political and non-political discussions, drawing the attention of academia for study and research. The Joint Statement of Central Asian countries presented at the UN Water Conference in New York in March emphasized the importance of cooperation, especially on water, in addressing existing problems and challenges in the region. It was noted during the meeting that future water diplomats responsible for relations with neighboring states with whom water is shared must receive training.
In addition, WAVE and the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC) presented the recently launched Community of Practice platform to NAS members. The platform is intended for networking and knowledge exchange among students, scientists, and water professionals from Central Asia. The developed modules will be presented on the platform alongside other water education materials.