Promotion of sustainable dam development at river-basin-scale starts in Azerbaijan | WWF

Promotion of sustainable dam development at river-basin-scale starts in Azerbaijan

Posted on
20 November 2013
Freshwater ecosystems, representing highly important areas for biodiversity conservation, play a vital role in human life by providing key ecosystem services and benefits. They accomodate some of the most threatened habitats in the Caucasus Ecoregion due to human impact mainly caused by unsustainable urban water use, industry and infrastructure development projects, agriculture and increasingly developing hydropower sector. 

WWF recently initiated a regional project which aims at promoting sustainable dam development at river-basin-scale in the Southern Caucasus. The project core idea is to promote the work and joint effort of all key stakeholders at the river-basin-scale to significantly mitigate cumulative negative impacts of dams on environmental flows, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and thereby will promote sustainable dam development in the Southern Caucasus. The project has been initiated with its pilot phase through the financial support by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. The geographic focus is on two basins - the Kura-Aras River Basin (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) and the Black Sea Catchment Basin (Georgia) and it is thematically based on the following three pillars: (i) to demonstrate biodiversity and ecosystem services of freshwater networks; (ii) to introduce a Sustainable Dams Assessment and Planning Methodology; and (iii) to mobilize key stakeholders, secure their support and launch the Caucasus Sustainable Dam Initiative.

On 15 November 2013, the first Project Advisory Group Meeting of the Project was held in Baku, Azerbaijan. The authorized government representatives, representatives of the civil society, NGOs and science sector, as well as members of international organizations participated in the meeting. The main objectives of the meeting were to encourage government agencies and other key players to join the process and to highlight reputational and financial risks associated with poorly planned and implemented dam projects and to present successful case studies of such processes from other regions. During the meeting current status of dam development at national level is also discussed, the experiences on dam projects were shared and some proposes were suggested by participants. Also, the importance of the project for the country and region highlighted and acknowledged.

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