A number of joint political declarations and statements by leaders of the countries in the Central Asian Region and Russia have formulated and defined the fundamental principles of regional cooperation on environment protection and sustainable development. Of them, the following are worth mentioning:
A number of important legal obligations were expressed in international agreements, concluded within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The transboundary aspect of the cooperation was reflected in the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Ecology and Protection of Natural Environment CIS, Moscow, 8 February 1992.
The agreement on General Principles of Interaction in Rational Use and Protection of Transboundary Water-bodies of the CIS Member States was signed in Moscow in 1998 12, and it entered into force on 6 June 2002. There are three Parties to this CIS Transboundary Water Agreement (CIS TWA): Belarus (from 06.11.1998), the Russian Federation (06.06.2002) and Tajikistan (16.01.2001). The Agreement is based on provisions from the UNECE Water Convention (Preamble of the Agreement), but also deals with other important problems.
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan in 13.01.1999 adopted the Agreement on co-operation in the field of environmental monitoring.
The international legal obligations assumed within the framework of the CIS countries reflected the key character of transboundary environmental effects and problems. The Agreement on the Environmental Impact Assessment (CIS, 1991) recognized the importance of the ecological factors assessment at the early stage of the decision-making process, and, as a consequence, the need for coordinated intergovernmental activities in the field of environmental impact assessment.
A desire to widen environmental collaboration with competent international organizations and agencies has repeatedly been expressed at the high level (the 1997 Almaty Declaration of the Presidents of the CA States, the 1998 Tashkent Declaration on the special UN programme for the Central Asian States, the 2002 Dushanbe Declaration).
Within the framework of such endeavors there are also proposals to develop and conclude a Central Asian framework agreement on environmental protection and sustainable development (Recommendations and the Statement of the Finance Ministers and Environment Ministers at the Almaty Sub-regional meeting on the preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2001).
A decision was also expressed to take necessary steps for strengthening the legal and institutional platform of the regional cooperation of the CA States basied on the commonly recognized principles and norms of international law and in the context of economic integration, in particular by creation of the relevant institutions and ratification of international agreements. Creation of the Central Asian Economic Community and Central Asian Cooperation was one practical result (the 1999 Tashkent Statement of the Presidents of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan; the 2001 Bishkek Statement of the Heads of State of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan).
The cooperation in the Aral Sea basin resulted in the formation of some special regional commitments of a political nature. Thus, the integrated management of natural resources was recognized as a main instrument of sustainable development. It was further suggested to reinforce the regional cooperation on saving the Aral Sea by the development and adoption of an international convention on the sustainable development of the Aral Sea basin, where the issues of cooperative water use and of unification of environmental standards and the related legislation would be of priority. The need was also recognized to strengthen the efficiency of implementation of the agreements on the issues of the Aral Sea and the Caspian Sea that were already in existence between the CA States (the 1995 Nukus Declaration of the States of the Central Asia and the International Organizations on the Problems of Sustainable Development of the Aral Sea; the 1997 Almaty Declaration of the Presidents of the CA States; the 1999Ashgabat Declaration of Presidents of the Central Asian States
The environmental cooperation of the CA States within the framework of such sub-regional treaties and agreements is based on the combination of a holistic approach to the CA environment with special attention to the sectoral challenges related to ecological situations around the Aral Sea Basin, Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers, West Tien Shan and desertification.
Thus, the 1992 Agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan on the Cooperation in the Field of Joint Management of the Use and Protection of Inter-State Water Resources, recognized the need for the agreed and organized solution of the problems of joint management of inter-State water resources. The Agreement further admitted the unity of the region’s water resources and the resulting equal rights of use and the responsibilities for securing their protection and rational use. It was agreed not to permit in their territories any activities that would concern or damage the interests of other Parties. For securing such cooperation the Agreement created the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination. Turkmenistan and Republic of Uzbekistan adopted the Agreement on cooperation on questions of Water Management regulates of water use Amu Darya and was signed on 16.01.1996, in Chartzjou.
Kazakhstan and Russian Federation in 1996 was signed Protocols on joint use and protection of transboundary water bodies, coordination of water management in basin of river Ural, Ishim and Tobol.
Taking into account the interdependence of the CA ecological systems and the risk of emergency situations which consequences cannot be mitigated by one State, as well as the resulting need for coordinated action by the States concerned, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan concluded in 1997 the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Prevention and Mitigation of Emergency Situations. The parties established the following formats of cooperation: monitoring of hazardous technologies and environmental processes and events; mutual notification of the state of hazardous objects and installations; coordination of mitigating activities; risk assessment for the environment and population of the industrial accidents, and natural catastrophes.
In 1998 the Governments of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan concluded the Agreement on the Cooperation
in the Field of Environmental Protection and Rational Resource Use.