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Population: 16500000
Central Asia

Role in the Aral Sea Crisis

Of the five major riparians in the Aral Sea Crisis, Kazakhstan stands apart from the others. It borders the Northern Aral Sea, and is in large part responsible for the impressive revival that the area has seen in recent years.

Kazakhstan is very different from the other riparians in many ways. On the Human Development Index, it is ranked in the top tier (“High Human Development”), while the other four countries rank toward the middle of the second tier.[1] Under 6% of their population lives below the poverty line, an extremely low rate, compared to the other four countries. Kazakhstan was the first of the former Soviet states to repay their IMF debt, and they did it seven years early.[2] They are a part of the UN’s Human Rights Council, and rank higher than their neighbors on the Global Competitiveness Report.[3] They are responsible for about 60% of the total GDP of Central Asia.[4]

Kazakhstan has significant oil, gas, and mineral resources, which has strengthened the nation's ties to the West, via investment. The country has also enjoyed relative political stability throughout its independence. While some have voiced concerns over the sustainability of these factors, they seem to have set Kazakhstan apart from other former Soviet states.[5] It has also taken the most drastic action in terms of rehabilitating the Aral Sea in recent years.

Agriculture consumes about 75% of the water supply in Kazakhstan. Groundwater is not evenly distributed, but they try to make use of the Caspian Sea and the state has constructed reservoirs. Drinking water from decentralized sources is on the rise, as older infrastructure has not been able to keep up with demands.[6][7]

The Aral Sea Crisis has taken a toll on the land in Kazakhstan, as it has in the other areas that used to depend so much on its water. The soil is, in many places, too saline, and the air is polluted.[8] Kazakhstan has taken by far the most serious action in the last decade to help. Beginning in July of 2003, with funding from the World Bank, they undertook the task of rehabilitating the Syr Darya and the Northern Aral Sea.[9] The main component of this rehabilitation effort was the Kok-Aral Dam, but the work along the Syr Darya has been shown to be key as well. The Northern Sea has made immense visible progress in the last decade. While their efforts have not improved the state of the Southern Aral Sea, and left it as a problem for other countries, the revitalized Northern Sea and Syr Darya should prove beneficial to many other parties.

  1. ^ Human Development Reports, UNDP. 2013. 2013 Human Development Report. Accessed July 24, 2013. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR2013_EN_Summary.pdf
  2. ^ globalEDGE, Michigan State University, Broad College of Business. Kazakhstan: Economy. Accessed July 29, 2013. https://globaledge.msu.edu/countries/kazakhstan/economy
  3. ^ World Economic Forum. 2011. The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 Accessed July 24, 2013. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2010-11.pdf
  4. ^ Zarakhovich, Yuri. 2006. Kazakhstan Comes On Strong. Time Magazine. Accessed July 24, 2013. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1539999,00.html.
  5. ^ Aquastat, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. General summary for the countries of the Former Soviet Union. Accessed July 24, 2013. http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/regions/fussr/index8.stm
  6. ^ UNDP Kazakhstan. “Water Resources of Kazakhstan in the New Millennium.” Accessed July 24, 2013. http://www.undp.kz/library_of_publications/files/2496-23904.pdf
  7. ^ Aquastat, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2012. “Kazakhstan.” Accessed July 24, 2013. http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/countries_regions/KAZ/index.stm
  8. ^ Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook: Kazakhstan. Accessed July 24, 2013. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/kz.html
  9. ^ Earth Observatory, NASA. 2003. Aral Sea: Image of the Day August 25, 2003. Accessed July 25, 2013. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=3730

Case Studies Related to Kazakhstan[edit]

Articles linked to Kazakhstan[edit]

Riparians Water Features

Projects and Initiatives Agreements and Treaties

Agreement includes riparian- Agreement between the Government of Kazakhstan and the Government of People's Republic of China on management and protection of transboundary rivers, Agreement includes riparian- Agreement between the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the government of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the use of water and energy resources of the Sry Darya Basin, Agreement includes riparian- Agreement on the status of the International Aral Sea Fund and its organizations