Since about 1950, between 14% and 30% of the Tien Shan and Pamir glaciers have melted. This process has accelerated since the early 1970´s with rising temperatures, which can be attributed to the humanly induced climate change. Today’s rate of glacier loss in Central Asia is 0.2–1% per year in volume, which means about 5 km3 of water. Some of the small glaciers (smaller than 0.5 km²) have already totally disappeared. During hot and dry periods glaciers provide up to 70-80% of river run-off in Central Asia.
Climate change scenarios for Central Asia forecast a 1° to 3°C increase in temperature by 2030–50. Future increases in both rainfall variability and extreme weather events make water availability less predictable. Climate change has also altered precipitation patterns. It caused more precipitation in northern parts of Central Asia and less in the south, where most agricultural areas are. But most profound effects of global warming are being observed on glaciers in Central Asia.
Who owns the glaciers in Central Asia and elsewhere? Which responsibilities come with the ownership? Glaciers are in economic terms common pool resources. The term “global, international or national commons” is typically used to indicate the earth’s shared natural resources. The key challenge of the international and national commons is the design of governance structures and management systems capable of addressing the complexity of multiple public and private interests, subject to often-unpredictable changes, ranging from the local to the global level. Glacier melting in Central Asia and its impact on national and trans-boundary water systems represents a challenge, which need to be seen in the context of international and national commons.
Synopsis: The film is about a journey from the high mountains of the Pamirs and the Tian Shan in Central Asia to the Aral Sea. It follows the two big rivers Amu Dary and Syr Darya from its sources through Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to the Northern part of the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan and the southern part in Uzbekistan. It also shows why the Aral Sea has been drying out in large parts over the last 65 years.
The Aral Sea basin includes parts of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Usbekistan. The clip shows where of the waters of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya originate, where they flow to and what problems exist in that part of the world.
So far this clip has been viewed more than 300.000 times.
More cooperation for better results! One country in Central Asia should not benefit on the cost of another, therefore a unified approach for using water resources should ensure sustainable development with a maximum welfare for the people in the region.