Development of Ili-Balkhash Basin Integrated Management Plan


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Project ID

TACIS Central Asia Action Programme: ...

Project Title

Development of Ile-Balkhash Basin Integrated Management Plan



Focus Areas

Geographic Scope

Lead Organization(s)

Central Asia Regional Environment Centre (CA-REC)

Project Partners



30 June 2005 - 30 December 2007



Project website(s)


CA-REC: Talaibek Makeyev, CA-REC Executive Director | Iskandar Mirkhashimov]], Project Manager;

CA-REC, 40 Orbita-1, Almaty 050043, Kazakhstan.

EC Kazakhstan: Jean Bernard De-Milito,
European Commission in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, 20 A Kazybek Bi St., Almaty 050100, Kazakhstan.



In 2001 CA-REC developed the IBB Sustainable Development Concept. The major goal of the IBB Sustainable Development Concept is to stabilize the social-economic and environmental situation in the region. The Concept is to be implemented by 2010.

Taking into account the fact that the Balkhash Lake situation resembles that of the Aral Sea, the European Union agreed to support the suggestion made by experts and community to introduce an integrated IBB management system, which should take into consideration long-term interest of the community, economics and environment, build on the available basin potential and international experience. Proper management of Balkhash Lake and Ili-river will not only protect current biodiversity and peculiar structure of the lake, prevent further erosion and desertification of the region, but will also provide a foundation for sustainable development of the basin. It is also expected that the project will contribute to the development of the management decentralization process.

Expected Outcomes

The outcomes as described below have been expected from the project activities:

1) The management model for IBB is in place based on the best practices and IBB management models that have resulted from the studies and surveys;

2) Developed network and sustainable ties with the related stakeholders with their involvement for the successful project accomplishment, IBB Plan development and implementation as well as the other project goals.

3) The general public is aware of the project goals and objectives; the necessary information on IBB conditions and development is made available.

4) The proposals in relation with the goals, status, authorities, structure and functions to be assigned to the Basin Management Authority have been agreed upon on the governmental and local level; 5) Realistic and feasible IBB management plan with clearly defined goals, policies, and implementation mechanisms; the agreement is reached between all related stakeholders in respect of the main priorities and focuses of further regional development;

6) The draft basin management partnership agreement as a legal basis for the future activities and IBB development plan implementation;

7) Trained and efficient secretariat with all required technical capabilities and working teams for expertise and technical support of IBB Development Plan.

Achievements: Results and Impact

The achievements as follows have been made for each of the goals:

1. The management model and structure have been elaborated for IBB based on the best practices providing sustainable development of the area and expanding the existing institutional and legal frameworks of resources management. The model is built on the Basin Management Principle providing for administrative, economic and other management methods within the basin irrespective of the existing administrative and territorial subdivision.

2. The sustainable liaison has been built with the government authorities and administrative bodies responsible for the management of natural resources, development of agricultural and industrial complex as well as utility services. The related parties have been involved in the drafting process of IBB Development Plan and the other project goals. The legislative basis was established for the successful project implementation. Governmental Decree No. 163 dated 02.03.2007 adopted the National Program “Ensuring Sustainable Development of Balkhash-Alakol Basin for 2007-2009”. The National Program strengthens the personal responsibility of the ministries, committees and agencies in implementing a set of activities making the basis of the basin’s sustainable development and a the conservation of the natural living environment.

3. The population of Almaty City, Balkhash, Uigur, Koksu and Eskeldy Districts (Almaty Oblast) and Chundzha Village are aware of the project goals and objectives and have access to the information available from magazines, booklets, posters and articles on the environmental conditions of the region and the ways to improve the situation. During the meetings, presentations, public hearings the public was provided with the information concerning the project under development, its goals, objectives and anticipated activities. The topical problems that have been reported by the local people and public at large (deficit of drinking water, low sanitary quality of water, depreciated water supply and sewage system, soil salinization and erosion, epidemiological threats) have been taken into account in the list of social and environmental problems of the area. The most relevant public proposals to address the situation of water supply, sanitary, conservation of soil productivity and forest restoration have been incorporated in the draft IBB Management Plan.

4. The model of basin management authority has been developed in the form of Balkhash-Alakol Basin Corporation National Company. Its objectives, status, authorities, structure and functions have been identified and interlinked to enable further improvement of the mechanism of cross-sector cooperation, coordination and management, establish the necessary organizations and institutions. In accordance with the effective laws a full package of legislative acts and foundation documents have been developed as necessary to put in place the mechanism of IBB management authority.

5. A realistic and feasible IBB integrated management plan has been developed with clearly stated goals, policies and implementation mechanisms. The plan’s activities are based on the long-term and mid-term development plans of Kazakhstan and administrative units making parts of the project area. The international, national and oblast-level target programs have been clarified as well as the sectoral programs, both ongoing and anticipated in the basin. The main areas and activities of the Plan have been incorporated in the National Program “Ensuring Sustainable Development of Balkhash-Alakol Basin for 2007-2009” via MEP and FHC thus enabling the Government to start implementing the priority remedial activities in the basin before the end of the EU/TACIS project.

6. The draft international Agreement has been developed on the complex water resources management in Ile-Blkhash Basin. The document is a legal and institutional basis of cooperation between three countries (Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan) containing the basin. The draft Agreement will develop international relationships between Kazakhstan, China and Kyrgyzstan focused on the cooperation in the field of use and protection of transboundary rivers and will ensure the observance of economic and political interests of Kazakhstan located in lower section of the basin and fully dependent on the activities performed in the upstream areas. The relevance and high legal level of the draft agreement is proven by the openions provided by MFA, MoA, MEP as well as the other ministries and agencies.

7. The necessary logistics conditions in CAREC building have been provided for the Secretariat to support the Government’s actions focused on the promotion of IBB Development Plan and the draft International Agreement on the Complex Management of IBB Water Resources. The project provided training for the local specialists in field of GIS, environmental laws and landscape management. The project also provided training for the technical secretary (English-speaking) in handling the project paper work. All materials and project databases have been sent to the Secretariat. The goals set to the project have been achieved and the outcomes meet the project goal.

Lessons for Replication

The project has built the enabling conditions for further actions of the Government represented by the ministries related, primarily MEP, MoA, MEBP, to ensure IBB sustainable development. Since 2007 Government has been implementing the National Program “Ensuring Sustainable Development of Balkhash-Alakol Basin for 2007-2009” incorporating over 40 projects focused on the stabilization of environmental and economic situation in the project area. The projects are supported by the budget allocations as well as the EC funds (46% total budget). There are many ongoing projects. The Program Focal Point is represented by the Vice Prime Minister – the Minister of Economy and Budget Planning. In December 2007 the Minister of Environmental Protection presented a progress report on the Program to the Prime Minister.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Environmental Protection will continue the promotion of the International Agreement on Complex IBB Water Resources Management due to its top priority for Kazakhstan.

In 2006-2007 the Government of Kazakhstan adopted a number of programs, which plans of activities, were developed with involvement of the project experts. The proposals were to include the activities focused on the surface waters quality and quantity monitoring; reduction of water pollution levels; conservation of IBB ecosystems; development of legislative base and expansion of the existing institutional frameworks in the field natural resources management, development of international cooperation for the protection and use of trans-boundary water courses.

In particular, The Program of Conservation and Rational Use of Water Resources, Fauna and Development of the Network of Specially Protected Areas till 2010 (ПП No.914 dated 08.10.2007) makes it aim to conserve and rationally use water resources, fauna and develop the network of specially protected natural areas. The program objectives include the rational and complex use of water resources; development of water bodies monitoring system and raising the efficiency of state control over the use of water bodies. The Program is assumed to reduce specific consumption of water in the irrigated land farming by 7% as well as install water meters at 5% water intake facilities. The Programs of water sector are supported by KZT7733 million allocated by the budget. MoA is the Program Focal Point. Governmental Decree No. 162 dated 19 February 2008 approved the program “Environmental Protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2008-2010”, which goal is to stabilize the environmental quality and improve the environmental requirements of the use of nature. The CAREC proposals incorporated in the Program include the actions as listed below:

  • To ensure the environmental monitoring of Balkhash Basin
  • To reduce technogenic ecosystem pollution of lake Balkhash induced by the nature users in the Northern Pre-Balkhash Area
  • To assess the water resources conditions, surface water quality of Ile-Balkhash Basin and the potential consequences of anticipated increase in water consumption from the Ile River basin in China
  • To organize with China the joint research and study the materials available from both parties on rate setting of water consumption, water discharge, water resources quality, water-saving technologies, water use optimization.

The total budget to be allocated for the Program amounts to KZT35816 million. MEP is the Program Focal Point.

At the national level the concurrent activities included the development of Water Resources and Water Use Integrated Management National Plan (WRIM) for Kazakhstan. The project was implemented by UNDP country office in 2005 – 2007 for the Government of Kazakhstan and the authorized agency for water resources management, Water Resources Committee, MoA. The project provided for the work on the national and basin levels.

Taking in account the duration time of said programs, the activities and amount of budget allocations, the works under this project implemented under EU financial support will be followed up at the end of the grantor’s funding (ЕU). It needs to be noted that the development and implementation of the ecosystem approach to the nature use policy as have been done under this project will be replicated in the other basins.


See also


IBB Sustainable Development Concept

External Resources


 CA-REC ili-Balkhash Result Buklet Eng.pdf

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