Case Study of the Aral Sea Water and Environmental Management Project : an independent evaluation of the World Bank's support of regional programs


This review discusses the dire conditions of the Aral Sea which has seen its surface area declined by two-thirds since 1960. The Aral Sea Water and Environmental Management Project was designed to help the countries in the area solve the environmental crises. This project's objectives are: 1) To stabilize the environment of the Aral Sea Basin; 2) To rehabilitate the disaster area around the sea; 3) To improve the management of the international waters of the Aral Sea Basin; and 4) To build the capacity of institutions at the regional and national level to advance the program's aims. The Bank played a central role in mobilizing the support for the project. The report points out that the regional program received support from several donors, but was hindered by weak coordination, especially in financial management and in sharing information and experiences among the riparian countries. The political leadership of the five riparian states gave the program full support but did not allocate financial contributions to support regional activities.