Challenges of transboundary water governance in Afghanistan
Saiyed Momin Nori
Green Research Organization for Water and Environment, Kabul, Afghanistan
Afghanistan has five major river basins which four of them are transboundary and shared with Iran, Pakistan and Central Asian Countries (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan). Transboundary water governance and bilateral or regional agreements and cooperation with riparian countries have always been challenging for Afghanistan. Continuous war and insecurity left a fragile governance system in Afghanistan. Lack of human capacity in terms of policy making and strategic planning and weak economy in one hand and the limited hydrometeorological data and technical knowledge about Water management on the other hand, alienated Afghanistan from all cooperative frameworks on Amu Darya River and two other its major river basins. In this paper, the initiatives and plans which have been implemented by the Afghan Government and international community for enhancing human capacity and hydrometeorological data acquisition for developing a suitable mechanism for managing transboundary waters for the purpose of economic growth of Afghanistan and regional cooperation on transboundary water between Afghanistan and riparian countries have been analyzed. However, several challenges still exit in terms of water management in Afghanistan to be tackled in. The challenges which Afghanistan has been experiencing in last forty years in water governance sector based on academic and policy literatures being reviewed and some solutions for overcoming the challenges are provided. In conclusion, steps and measures which further needed to be put forward by the Afghan government and international community to reach a regional cooperation framework on transboundary waters between Afghanistan and other riparian countries are proposed.Download the article
How to cite: Nori, S. M. (2020). Challenges of transboundary water governance in Afghanistan. Central Asian Journal of Water Research, 6(1), 18–38. https://doi.org/10.29258/cajwr/2020-r1.v6-1/18-38.eng
- Acemoglu, D. and Robinson, J., 2008. The role of institutions in growth and development, Working paper No. 10, The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank on behalf of the Commission on Growth and Development. Available at: https://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTPREMNET/Resources/489960-1338997241035/Growth_Commission_Working_Paper_10_Role_Institutions_Growth_Development.pdf.
- Afghanistan analysts network, 2013. Afghanistan and Iran sign strategic cooperation document. Available at: https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/can-kabul-carry-two-melons-in-one-hand-afghanistan-and-iran-sign-strategic-cooperation-document/ [April, 2019].
- Ministry of Justice of Afghanistan. Afghanistan Water Law, Ministry of Justice Official Gazette No. (980).
- Ahmadzai, A., Azizi, M. A., and Behzad, K., 2017. The impacts of water sector reforms on Afghanistan research and evaluation unit agricultural productivity in Afghanistan, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, 32p. Available at: https://areu.org.af/publication/1719/.
- Ahmadzaia, S. and McKinnab, A., 2018. Afghanistan electrical energy and trans-boundary water systems analyses: Challenges and opportunities. Energy Reports, Vol. 4, pp. 435-469. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.egyr.2018.06.003.
- ARG (Office of the president of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan), 2015. Composition of High Council Land and Water. Available at: https://president.gov.af/en/high-council-on-land-and-water-members/. [April, 2019].
- ARG (Office of the president of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan), 2017. President Ghani’s remarks at Joint Coordination Monitoring Board Meeting. Available at: https://president.gov.af/en/News/10254. [March 2019].
- ARG (Office of the president of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan), President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s statement at 7th Conference of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process. Available at: https://president.gov.af/en/News/018090. [April, 2019].
- Civil code of the Republic of Afghanistan translation produced by Stanford Law School’s Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP). Available at: https://www-cdn.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Civil-Code-of-Afghanistan-ALEP-Translation.pdf.
- Duran Research and Analysis, 2015. Afghanistan transboundary waters: an overview. Available at: https://www.boell.de/en/2015/04/15/afghanistans-trans-boundary-waters.
- Gharji E., 2012. Afghanistan: State, boundaries, and the threats of perpetual conflict, OSCE Academy, Bishkek.
- Afghanistan National Development Strategy Secretariat, 2008. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Afghanistan national development strategy 1387 – 1391 (2008 – 2013). A strategy for security, governance, economic growth and poverty reduction, 288p. Available at: https://www.iucn.org/downloads/water_diplomacy_briefing.pdf
- IUCN, 2011. Building river dialogue and governance. Available at: https://www.iucn.org/downloads/water_diplomacy_briefing.pdf.
- King, M. and Sturtewagen, B., 2010. Making the most of Afghanistan’s River Basins: Opportunities for regional cooperation, East West Institute.
- Koop, S. H. A. and van Leeuwen, C. J., 2016. The challenges of water, waste and climate change in cities. Environment, Development and Sustainability, Vol. 19, pp. 385–418. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-016-9760-4.
- Koyano, M., 2008. The significance of the convention on environmental impact Assessment in a transboundary context (Espoo Convention) in international environmental law: examining the implications of the Danube Delta case. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, Vol. 26, No 4, pp. 299-314. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3152/146155108X391600.
- Mckinney, D. C., 2003. Cooperative management of transboundary water resources in Central Asia, in the Tracks of Tamerlane-Central Asia’s Path into the 21st century, Burghart. D. and Sabonis-Helf, T. (eds.), National Defense University Press. Available at: http://www.cawater-info.net/library/eng/mckinney-3.pdf.
- Molle, F., Mollinga, P. P. and Wester, P., 2009. Hydraulic bureaucracies and the hydraulic mission: Flows of water, flows of power. Water Alternatives, Vol. 2, No 3, pp. 328‐349.
- OECD, 2015. Studies on Water Stakeholder Engagement for Inclusive Water Governance, available from http://www.oecd.org/governance/oecd-principles-on-water-governance.htm. [March, 2019].
- OECD, 2015. Studies Water and Cities: Ensuring Sustainable Futures, available from https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/governance/stakeholder-engagement-for-inclusive-water-governance_9789264231122-en. [April, 2019].
- Peachey, J. E., 2004. The Aral Sea Basin crisis and sustainable water eesource management In Central Asia. Available at: https://jpia.princeton.edu/sites/jpia/files/2004-1.pdf.
- Qaddumi, H., 2008. Practical approaches to transboundary water benefit sharing, Overseas Development Institute.
- Safi, M. and Alizada, B. 2019. Afghanistan: prospects and challenges to regional connectivity, the diplomat. Available at: https://thediplomat.com/2019/04/afghanistan-prospects-and-challenges-to-regional-connectivity/. [May, 2019].
- Sharma, K. D., 2009. Groundwater management for food security. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/24104769?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents. [March, 2019].
- Thomas, V. and Warner, J., 2015. Hydropolitics in the Harirud/Tejen River Basin: Afghansitan and hydro – hegemon? Water International, Vol. 40, No 4, pp. 593-613.
- Thomas V., and Ahmad M., 2009. A Historical Perspective on the Mirab System: A Case Study of the Jangharoq Canal, Baghlan, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit. Available at: https://areu.org.af/publication/908/.
- Thomas, V., Azizi, A. M., and Behzad K., 2016. Developing transboundary water resources: what perspectives for cooperation between Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan? Available at: https://www.loc.gov/item/2017332077/.
- UNAMA, 2015. Water Rights: an assessment of Afghanistan’s legal framework governing water for agriculture. Available at: https://unama.unmissions.org/sites/default/files/2016_19_10_water_rights_final_v2.pdf.
- United Nations Environment Program, 2013. Afghanistan Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment (2013), report by the United Nations Environment Programme.
- USAID Afghanistan, 2018. Country development cooperation strategy FY 2019-2023. Available at: https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1871/CDCS_Afghanistan_Nov_2023.pdf.
- Wonnacott, R., Hartnady, C. and Engelbrecht, J., 2015. The management of scarce water resources using GNSS, InSAR and In-Situ Micro Gravity measurements as monitoring tools.
- Yıldız, D., 2017. Afghanistan’s transboundary rivers and regional security Available at: www.worldscientificnews.com.