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Lasting only an hour, a cross-border exchange of fire (dubbed by some as the first war of 2014) occurred on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on January 11. The incident near the Vorukh settlement included the use of mortars and grenade launchers, with 8 border guards wounded. Poor relations between the two neighboring states, exacerbated by an ongoing dispute over a partly-demarcated border, triggered the escalation. Both land and water are vital to the economies of the two poorest Central Asian states, and both sides fiercely defend their access to cropland and pastures. (more…)
Thanks to AlertNet for publishing Center for Climate and Security Fellow Svetlana Valieva’s piece on Central Asia, which was posted here on March 28. The article highlights the water-energy-climate change nexus in Central Asia, which has important implications for both regional and global stability.
As the international community observed the UN World Water Day last Friday, March 22, two Central Asian countries were part of important talks at UN Headquarters in New York concerning water-sharing. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have been engaged in a dispute over the building of a reservoir-type Rogun hydroelectric power plant in Tajikistan, which Uzbekistan has contended would disrupt flow to downstream countries, including itself. Uzbekistan, a country never absent from important meetings on water issues, proposed an alternative to the Rogun project involving the construction of smaller hydroelectric plants, which would bypass or avoid changes to the stream-flow regime. These talks bring attention to a broader nexus of water, climate and energy security in Central Asia that is worth watching closely by both regional leaders and the international community. (more…)