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close this bookCentral Eurasian Water Crisis: Caspian, Aral, and Dead Seas (UNU, 1998, 203 pages)
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View the documentNote to the reader from the UNU
View the documentForeword
close this folder1. Perspectives on water environment management
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close this folderPart I: introduction
close this folder2. Central Eurasian water perspectives and arid land studies
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View the documentInternational cooperation for peaceful water management in critical areas
close this folder3. Major environmental problems in world lakes
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View the documentDeclining water levels
View the documentRapid siltation
View the documentAcidification
View the documentThe progress of eutrophication
View the documentContamination with man-made toxics
View the documentThe collapse of aquatic ecosystems
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close this folderPart II: The Aral Sea
close this folder4. Creeping environmental problems in the Aral Sea basin
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentIntroduction to the notion of creeping environmental problems
View the documentCharacteristics of CEPs
View the documentCEPs and the Aral region
View the documentConcluding comments and a call for research
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close this folder5. the Aral Sea and socio-economic development
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe technical system of cotton monoculture
View the documentThe cotton swindle
View the documentEnvironmental problems and human health
View the documentThe problem of pesticide pollution
View the documentThe environment of the Aral Sea and international cooperation
View the documentThe future of Central Asia
View the documentRecommendations
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View the document6. Satellite image maps of the Aral Sea and Central Asia
close this folder7. Voices from the region
View the documentA word on Aral
View the documentThe role of academic research in solving the ecological problems of the Aral Sea region
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View the documentIranian strategies in Central Asia
close this folderPart III: The Caspian Sea
close this folder8. Environmental policy-making for sustainable development of the Caspian Sea area
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentMorphometry and the principal hydrological features
View the documentThe water balance and water-level variations
View the documentThe economic impacts on the Caspian states of the water-level variations
View the documentOther development issues requiring international cooperation
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close this folder9. Iranian perspectives on the Caspian Sea and Central Asia
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentIran's northern geopolitical interests
View the documentThe issue of lake Hamun and the Hirmand River
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close this folderPart IV: The Dead Sea
close this folder10. Principles for confidence-building measures in the Jordan River watershed
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentBackground
View the documentHydrography
View the documentInternational water rights law
View the documentCooperative watershed development
View the documentTechnological and management alternatives for the future
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close this folder11. Alternative strategies in the inter-state regional development of the Jordan Rift Valley
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentCanal schemes for co-generation
View the documentThe Peace Drainage Canal scheme and eco-political decision-making
View the documentThe Aqaba hybrid scheme
View the documentTechno-political assessment of the Peace Drainage Canal and the Med/Red-Dead Sea canal
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close this folderPart V: International organizations and inland seas
close this folder12. The role of international organizations in the integrated management of international water bodies: The activities of the UNU, UNEP, and the World Bank in the Middle East
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View the documentInternational water bodies require integrated management
View the documentThe need for international efforts and a role for international organizations
View the documentThe UNU: Accomplishments to promote sound management of international waters
View the documentAssistance given by UNEP and the World Bank to the Aral Sea programme
View the documentProgramme for the Caspian Sea basin as an international effort
View the documentConclusions
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View the documentContributors
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Foreword

Bo Kjellén

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, created a new awareness of the fundamental problems of sustainable development. The Conference agreed on a broad programme of action leading into the twenty-first century - Agenda 21. Through the joint efforts of governments, non-governmental organizations, and the scientific community, we have all begun to realize that global environmental problems in the long term may threaten human survival. We need to tackle them urgently, and the responses have to be on a global scale -this is an essential challenge for the United Nations system in the decades to come.

Among these problems of global significance, the issue of the world's water resources warrants special attention. This was recognized by the main follow-up body to Rio, the Commission on Sustainable Development, which decided to carry out a comprehensive water assessment, to be considered by the UN General Assembly in 1997. Several agencies are involved in this work, and the Stockholm Environment Institute plays a key role. The international community needs to focus on water for political, economic, and social reasons. First of all, water is the strategic factor in ensuring long-term food security for the growing world population. My involvement in the work on the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, signed in 1994, has made me acutely aware of the fact that almost 1 billion of the world's population today live in drylands, in fragile ecosystems, sensitive to human activities and to the hazards of climatic factors. Second, experience has shown that there are essential elements of foreign policy and security policy linked to water. Some people maintain that water will become a more serious cause for conflict than oil in the future. Be that as it may, it is clear that shared water resources can lead to a downward spiral of conflict and war - but it is also obvious that the need for cooperation and perceived mutual interests can lead to an upward spiral of consultation and joint action.

For these varied reasons, I feel particularly honoured and pleased to preface this book. It sets a number of particularly important problems of inland seas with shared water resources in a broad perspective, presented by eminent scientists focused on the Aral Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Dead Sea. I have myself had the opportunity to be involved in the efforts to face the situation in the Aral Sea basin, a problem of a man-made desert, which is clearly of global significance. The disappearing Aral Sea is a major environmental and human disaster to which nobody can remain indifferent. The specific studies on inland seas in this book will no doubt help all of us -and in particular the governments concerned - to find practical and practicable solutions that will really benefit the hard-hit people living in these regions.

But we also know that national and international action is difficult in a world with many pressures and conflicts of interest. This book gives us the opportunity to benefit from an expert overview of issues and possible solutions in some of the most serious problem regions of the world. We can compare, see similarities and differences, link political, economic, social, and technical factors, and improve understanding as a basis for action. It is indeed an essential role for the United Nations University.