The four-semester master's course in "Integrated Water Management" is currently being established at the Kazakh-German University in Almaty in cooperation with the interdisciplinary Berlin Centre for Caspian Region Studies (BC CARE) and the physical geography division of FU Berlin's Department of Geographic Sciences. The course objective is the education of qualified young leaders with inter- and transdisciplinary competence regarding crossborder water resource management in the Central Asian region. The project is supported by funds supplied by the German Federal Foreign Office.
What is it about water?
Life without water is impossible. The availability of water is a vital necessity for the existence of human, animal and plant life on our planet. It is an irreplaceable resource. A sustainable water management shapes not only the state and function of eco-systems but also the development capabilities of socio-economic and political systems. Preventing conflicts about the use of natural water resources is therefore one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Central Asia is rich in water resources, but these are unevenly distributed within and among the countries of the region. The demand for water in particular time periods, regions and economic sectors is very diverse. This creates competing interests in water utilization, which result in political, economic and social conflicts that endanger the stable development of Central Asia. The current international water crisis in Central Asia mainly stems from the lack of sustainable concepts of "water governance".
About the cooperation between FU Berlin and KGU Almaty
In 2007, the Federal Government of Germany initiated a qualitatively new partnership between the EU and the Central Asian states. The essence of this partnership is cooperation in the fields of resource utilization and environmental protection. In 2008, Germany introduced the “Water Initiative for Central Asia” as part of the so called “Berlin Process”. Through this, Germany has committed itself to assisting the Central Asian states in finding sustainable solutions to transboundary conflicts caused by the water issue. In addition, it has confirmed its support for the application of modern technologies for efficient water supply and use in the region. Establishing a master's course in “Integrated Water Management” at the Kazakh-German University (KGU) in cooperation with the Freie Universität Berlin (FU) is a key element of the German commitment.