The UNDP Rio+ Centre and the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea signed a Memorandum of Understanding

On 23 March, Interim-Director of the World Centre for Sustainable Development - Rio+ Centre, Niky Fabiancic, and Bolat Bekniaz, Director of the Executive Board of the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), signed a Memorandum of Understanding that foresees closer collaboration in the areas of water resource management, environmental protection, climate change and measures to adapt and mitigate climate change.

The Rio+ Centre, who analyses, advocates and convenes dialogues on how to promote sustainable development in Brazil and worldwide, stressed its role as international actor in the Global South on this matter and the importance of discussing latest innovations and technologies for sustainable development and how their benefits could reach more people in poor living conditions.

Established in 1994, the Fund for Saving the Aral Sea was created between Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kirgizstan and Tajikistan. The Aral Sea itself only covers parts of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the other countries host the majority of the Aral Sea Basin which consists of the drainage area and the two major tributary rivers, Amudarya and Syrdarya. Since 1960s the Aral Sea has shrunk to about 10% of its initial size, causing biodiversity degradation, desertification, loss of pastures, fisheries and wetlands, which in turn has affected the people living in this area economically and socially. The projects IFAS is executing with UNDP other international development organizations on the spot that are addressing these problems include the creation of biosphere reserves, reforestation efforts, water management, the development of sustainable marketable fishing through green economy principles and the promotion of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind energy.