Dundee expertise could aid Tajikistan's development




February 2, 2010



Dundee University expertise in water management could be vital in helping to power the development of the Republic of Tajikistan and its neighboring countries, it was claimed on Tuesday.


Dr Erkin Kasymov, the Tajik Ambassador to the UK and Ismatullo Nasredinov, First Consul at the Embassy of Tajikistan, visited the UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science at the University on Tuesday.


They met Professor Pat Wouters, Director of the Centre, and other key staff before embarking on a tour demonstrating the work being carried out in Dundee.


The ambassador and consul will hold detailed discussions with Professor Wouters and her colleagues about how the Centre's expertise can benefit Tajikistan.


The landlocked former Soviet republic is heavily dependent on its water resources for power generation. The country is located in the Pamir mountains and is the source of one of the largest rivers in Central Asia - Amu Darya - which flows to the Aral Sea and crosses several boundaries on its way.


Tajikistan plans to build new dams and power stations in the upper reaches of its main watercourse.


If these plans come to fruition, the electricity will also be exported to its neighbors Afghanistan and Pakistan. The World Bank and other donor agencies are supportive of Tajikistan's plans and have provided financial and technical assistance.


Professor Wouters welcomed the ambassadorial visit, and said: "The Tajik visit builds upon the strong foundations established by the UNESC0 Centre over a number of years working with governments and organizations in central Asia.


"Previously, this included a visit from the Tajik Water Minister, who signed a memorandum of understanding concerning cooperation in postgraduate teaching and education.


"The UNESCO Centre is looking to recruit students from the country for the Water Law Water Leaders (WLWL) summer professional education programme, including via a possible link up with a UNESCO water centre based in Tehran.


"Longer-term, we are keen to see WLWL teaching delivered at basin level in central Asia, including Tajikistan; this region being one of the Centre's top four geographical target regions strategically."