If the Aral Sea disaster is the result of Soviet-era irrigation policy, the author demonstrates that the shift from domestic to international law since 1991 has little improved the situation, and may even have made matters worse. J. Mackay notably shows that the 2002 Dushanbe Declaration did nothing for preventing the exacerbation of the current situation in the basin. The only major exception is a recent World Bank grant to Kazakhstan to build a dyke permanently dividing the sea in two, entailing a substantial rise in sea levels, a reduction of salinity, and increased fish production. At the same time, the author underlines that this is a unilateral action of the Kazakhstani government, with little if any regional involvement. J. Mackay also highlights Kyrgyzstan’s controversial water law, and the refusal to pay from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, for concluding on the overall degradation of the situation since the independences, and to the fact that water has rapidly led to security issues.

The Redaction
CER: II-7.4.A-626