International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Reducing Transboundary Degradation in the Kura-Aras Basin

The Kura-Aras river system is critical to sustainable development of the South Caucasus countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia as well as the two upstream countries - Iran and Turkey. The rivers run into and impact the Caspian Sea, therefore affecting all communities using the Sea.

The Kura – Aras Rivers flow from the Caucasus mountains down to the Caspian Sea.

Between 2005 to 2007, the governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia participated in the preliminary Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) (Russian Version) to identify the main transboundary issues in basin. These issues are: 1. variation and reduction of hydrological flow; 2. deterioration of water quality; 3. ecosystem degradation in the river basin; and, 4. increased flooding and bank erosion.

To address these threats the Full Sized Project will review the preliminary TDA and provide important updates and to fill information gaps. The Project will also support the countries to develop National Integrated Water Resources Management Plans (IWRM Plans) in each country. These National IWRM plans will help each country identify priorities for water use, and strategies for ensuring optimal resource utilization - especially where there are conflicting demands on limited resources. These IWRM plans will be linked with national planning priorities and within the budget planning cycles.

To make these efforts lasting, wide reaching and sustainable, the project plans to focus on key stakeholder capacity-building and public awareness raising activities. These will include trainings on priority IWRM issues across the basin region. These trainings will be developed by national, regional and international experts, and shared with the wider community through our project web page as video training modules. Public awareness raising activities will help people throughout the basin understand sustainable water resource use, why it is important to them and how they can help preserve the beautiful environment we all enjoy.

To help the countries to create standardized measurements for river health the project will implement demonstration projects. These will focus on river flow rates impacted by climate change and developments in the river system, an ecologicial assessment of the rivers, and introduction of biomonitoring – which uses living organisms in the water to gauge river system health.

The updated TDA, the national IWRM Plans, the stakeholder capacity building activities, and the demonstration projects will serve as a strong foundation for the final output – a Strategic Action Programme for the basin. This Programme will serve to harmonize national, and regional, priorities and plans to ensure long term sustainable management of the river basin.

Other (not set)


Asia , Western Asia


Documents & Resources
General information
GEF ID 1375
Project type Full-Size Project
Status closed (Project Completion)
Start Date 30 Jun 2009
End Date 27 Feb 2012
GEF characteristic:
Focal Area International Waters
GEF Allocation to project USD 2,900,000
Total Cost of the project: USD 13,250,000
YES - See results data (1375)
Armenia , Azerbaijan , Georgia , Regional

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Project contacts
Mary M. Matthews Project Coordinator and Chief Technical Advisor
Edgar Pirumyan Head of Department
Herald Leummens Demonstration Project Coordinator
Seth McNayr Project Assistant
Vladimir Mamaev UNDP/GEF Regional Technical Advisor for International Waters for Europe, CIS and Arab States