Ludmilla Kiktenko, Programme Manager at the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC), manages the European Union funded project “The Central Asia Nexus Project: Fostering Water, Energy, and Food Security Nexus and Multi-Sector Investment”. Goal of the project is to apply the WEF Nexus approach in planning, policy making and practical implementation as well as to increase interest of public and private investors to support Nexus based project in Central Asia. Laying the foundation for the adoption and institutionalization of the WEF security Nexus, Ludmilla leads the implementation of the demonstration projects in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to prove the benefit of the Nexus application for three different types of tasks:
1) To tackle the sedimentation issue at the Tuyamuyun Hydro-Complex (TKM-UZB)
2) To decrease the energy consumption of water pumping stations (TAJ)
3) To plant the dried bottom of Aral Sea Basin (KAZ).
Ludmilla has vast experience in designing and implementing national and regional development projects. She serves as a member of Central Asian intergovernmental working groups to develop interstate programmes, such as the fourth edition of the Aral Sea Basin Programme, the Regional Environmental Programme for Sustainable Development, and others. Prior to joining CAREC, Ludmilla gained substantial experience working in local NGOs.
What does the WEF Nexus approach mean to you and how would you describe it in your own words?
Ludmilla: The WEF Nexus approach means that any decision, any action in any of the WEF sectors influence and/or depend on the decisions and actions in another sector.
What are the main Nexus challenges in Central Asia? Can you mention a specific example?
Ludmilla: The main challenge is to overcome the strong silo approach within governmental bodies to plan and implement national programmes. Even when having thematic departments under “one roof” they often continue to work separately.
For example: The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources of Tajikistan is supposed to govern all energy and water issues, including searching for financial sources. In practice, the water and energy departments do not unite efforts to plan the most effective mobilization of investments.
The very outdated and energy inefficient water infrastructure in Tajikistan is cause for the lack of stable access to water. Additionally, due to social issues the cost of water is kept low while the collection system is hampered. This leaves the Water Division to have no money to replace or even restore the infrastructure, moreover it cannot pay for energy used and its debt to the Energy Division is increasing.
The Government of Tajikistan has no budget available for massive replacement works, investors do not give money because the return will be extremely long and not even guaranteed. And donors are not ready to restore water infrastructure in all country. It looks like a closed circle.
Taking into consideration that the energy fee for irrigation purposes is 3 times less than the fee for other purposes and marked with a huge debt, it should be a direct interest of the Energy Division to update the water infrastructure. BUT there is no practice of inter-division collaboration for joint planning, budgeting, and mobilization of investments. Accordingly, there are no policies and rules for inter-division collaboration and no tools to support it.
At the moment, Central Asian countries have no practical experience in inter-sectoral planning and the implementation of joint investment projects.
What is the most promising approach for implementing/mainstreaming WEF Nexus in Central Asia? And why?
Ludmilla: The most effective approach is to show practical examples in Central Asia and to provide economic based evidence of benefits.
Facilitating WEF Nexus dialogues and the implementation of demonstration projects in Central Asia, we the EU Nexus project team and CAREC invite all interested partners to join and build their activities in/around the Nexus pilots we have already established in Central Asia. This way we will cover most demands of the pilot projects, and demonstrate the application of the WEF Nexus approach in our own activities 😊
Thank you Ludmilla for taking the time to answer these questions!
More Information on the Central Asia Nexus Project: Fostering Water, Energy, and Food Security Nexus and Multi-Sector Investment
- Nexus Regional Dialogue in Central Asia
- Fact Sheet // Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme Central Asia Phase II
- Project Information // Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme Central Asia Phase II
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