Central Asia (area – 1,7 million km2) is located in the middle part of the Euro-Asian continent in the place of ancient caravan routes crossing between Europe and Asia, Middle East and Far East - generally coincides with geographical boundaries of the Aral Sea Basin and fully includes the territories of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, a great part of the territory of Turkmenistan, Kyrgyz Republic and South Kazakhstan.
In recent times the Aral Sea was a unique natural object – a saltish lake-sea with the volume of 1000 km3 with water area of 60 thousand km2 which possessed of high biological productivity and rich world of living organisms. It had an important fishery, hunting and transportation meaning. It provided a favorable climatic impact on the surrounding territories, deltas of the rivers flowing in to the sea as well as it was a place of the reproduction and rest of huge flock of migrant swimming and near water living birds.
After the USSR collapse, since 1992 young independent states of the Central Asia have commenced to make considerable efforts on the overcoming of the Aral Sea crisis despite of economic difficulties. The main factor is achievement of mutual trust and joint water resources usage and management commitment as well as political will and tendency to reach a consensus in the Aral Sea Basin problems.
International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea is interstate organization which has been established in order to develop and finance ecological and theoretical and practical projects and programs aimed to environmental recovery of the situation in territories exposed to the Aral Sea catastrophe impact as well as regional socio-economic problems solving.
IFAS founders are Central Asian States:
Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Republic of Uzbekistan.
The name of our organization – Agency for the implementation of the Aral Sea Basin and Global Environment Facility projects is not casual. Presently our Agency is being implemented a number of the projects and programs which approve their vitality and some of them came a great contribution in to the development of GEF project components.
GEF Agency is international organization and it became a full-fledged member of the diplomatic corps of Uzbekistan. Taking into account the GEF Agency activity as well as the concentration of the opportunities and efforts of both national and international organizations aimed to the Aral Sea crisis consequences alleviation, the Government of Uzbekistan has empowered the GEF Agency to act as the coordinator of the projects and programs in the Aral Sea Basin.
Taking this opportunity, the Agency expresses its great appreciation to the organizations and colleagues in Uzbekistan, Central Asian countries, international organizations and donors for their attention, support and understanding during joint work and searching of optimal decisions and compromises that render to implement the projects.