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   UNDP-GEF Kura II: Advancing IWRM Across the Kura River Basin

Water Supply and Demand Management Consultation Meeting, Azerbaijan

27 November 2017

Third National Project Advisory Group Meeting

Baku, Azerbaijan

11 September 2018

Dr. Mary Matthews Chief Technical Advisor and Regional Project Corordinator of the Kura II Project, presents at the IDEA event

Baku, Azerbaijan

5 February 2019

H.E. Minister Mr. Babayev has visited River Restoration site in Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan

21 December 2018

Azerbaijan National Project Advisory Group

25 February 2019

Kura II Project has held its next National Project Advisory Group (NPAG) meeting in Azerbaijan on 25 February 2019. The NPAG members are from the various water stakeholders in Azerbaijan - Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Ministry of Emergency Situation, Azersu JSC, Amelioration JSC as well as Baku State University and other institutions are represented in the NPAG.

The progress and upcoming activities of the Kura II project  and the recent changes and updates in the water resources management of Azerbaijan was among the discussed meeting points.

Dr. Mary Matthews, who has about 20 years of  professional experience on environmental assessments and management, has talked about the water conservation on 5 February 2019. Participants of the session get an opportunity to learn the true value of water and how to conserve it.

The presentation was followed with the heated discussion about the ways of efficient water use by the households.

H.E. The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Mr. Mukhtar Babayev has visited the UNDP GEF Kura II Project's stress reduction site – The Baby Hajigabul Lake, while he has held public meetings with citizens in Hajigabul on December 21 2018.  

Elchin Mammadov, National Project Coordinator and Hajar Huseynova, Regional Project Analyst of the Kura II Project met the Minister at the site and briefed him about the steps regarding the restoration of Baby Hajigabul Lake. It has been informed that for the treatment of raw sewage discharges into the baby Hajigabul Lake from residential houses it is planned to build constructed wetland. The constructed wetland playing biofilter role, is going to treat organic and household waste to the Lake. Such facility will be built in Azerbaijan for the first time by the Kura II Project. The site was viewed by Mr. Babayev and two Deputy Ministers Mr. Firdovsi Aliyev and Mr. Rauf Hajiyev and other MENR colleagues. Elchin Mammadov has informed that the site was selected and surveyed by the entire Kura II team over the last year with the support provided by the Regional Ecology Office of MENR in Shirvan.

H.E. Mr. Babayev asked about the technical specifications of the engineering facility, the entire process of the removal of suspended solid substances and treatment process and he was briefed that the treatment process will be consisted of the several stages (mechanical and biological) and the entire infrastructure will be built to that end. The local reed bushes might be used for the wastewater purification. It was noted that the treatment facility will be serving for about 100-200 houses.

The design of the constructed wetland will be drafted by the Kura II Project International River Ecology Expert and further will be shared with the ministry. The local company will be selected for the construction of this facility.

Additionally, Kura II Project's awareness raising campaign and landscaping activities has been highlighted by the Kura II Team. The Minister Babayev highly appreciated all efforts done by the Kura II Project and wished good luck.

The Third Azerbaijan National Project Advisory Group Meeting was held at the PCU office of the Kura River II project on 11 September 2018. The main discussion was about the formulation of the two international and five national working groups, their objectives and expected deliverables. The representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Ministry of Emergency Situations, Parliament, Amelioration and Water Economy JSC, AZERSU JSC, Baku State University, IDEA, EUWI+ project and EU twinning project attended the meeting. The discussions were around the recent changes in the water sector and updated from the other EU projects dealing with the environmental issues in Azerbaijan.

The Water Supply and Demand Management Consultation Meeting was held at the PCU office of the Kura River II project on 27 November 2017.

The main objectives of the meeting were to discuss the availability of Ground Waters (GW) and Surface Waters (SW) in the Kura river basin and the challenges related to rational water use in the municipal and agricultural sectors and the estimated annual volume of water losses in Azerbaijan.

The representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Department of Hydromet, Department of Environmental Monitoring, State Agency of Water Resources of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Parliament, Amelioration and Water Economy JSC, AZERSU JSC and Baku State University and the EUWI+ project and the ENI SEIS-II East project attended the meeting.

The meeting took note of the presentation on international best practices on sustainable management of water resources to encourage more efficient use of water in different sectors provided by the International Consultant on Water Supply and Demand Management, Dr. Hubert Lohr.

The national experts provided the detailed information on legal, regulatory, organizational structure, existing monitoring networks and available assessments regarding efficient water use in the municipal and agricultural sectors.

It was recommended that the roadmap will be developed to provide guidance on short-term, mid-term and long-term actions, which are necessary to pave the way for rational water use in Azerbaijan as follows:

·     Water resources inventory as knowledge base for follow-up activities including data requirements needed for a comprehensive inventory.

·     Establishment of causal-chains. Cause-effect relationships have been developed during the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and will be concretised with the focus of rational water use.

·     Hydrological and economic assessment of losses in the agricultural and municipal water supply.  

·     A concept for assessing groundwater recharge in order to generate a groundwater recharge map

·     Introduction of GIS

·     Establishment of standards for time series to allow for efficient use and exchange of data

·     Introduction of modelling

Coordination Meeting for Water Projects Implemented in Azerbaijan funded by International Donors

23 November 2017

The Coordination meeting for water projects implemented in Azerbaijan funded by international donors was held at the premises of the PCU of the UNDP-GEF Kura River II project in Baku, Azerbaijan on November 23, 2017. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, ENI SEIS-II Project, EU-Water Initiative Plus Project and the Kura project team.

The main objectives of the coordination meeting were to inform the participants about the ongoing activities of the UNDP-GEF Kura River II project, the EU Water Initiative+ project and the ENI SEIS-II project on Sharing Environment Information currently being implemented in Azerbaijan to build synergy and  avoid overlapping of activities of parallel ongoing projects on water (EU Water Initiative Plus and UNDP GEF Kura II).

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Rashad Allahverdiyev, the National Focal Point of the Kura River II Project in Azerbaijan who welcomed the meeting participants on behalf of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan and informed about the necessity of coordination of the on-going activities related to management of water resources and development of water supply and sanitation systems; as well as the synergies between projects in the areas concerned, implemented in Azerbaijan with support from international financial organizations (UNDP-GEF and the EU).

Dr. Mary Matthews, CTA and Regional Project Coordinator provided information update on the implementation of the UNDP-GEF Kura II “Advancing Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) across the Kura river basin through implementation of the transboundary agreed actions and national plans” project.  

Mr. Nihat Zal, Project Manager of the ENE SEIS-II East Project informed the meeting that as part of the European Union's regional cooperation efforts with the Eastern Partnership (EaP) framework, the European Environment Agency (EEA) started implementing phase II of the SEIS project in 2016. The project covers all six EaP countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) and will be carried out over four (2017-2020) years. The project aims to help the countries in defining and putting in practice solutions that would enable compliance with regional/international commitments related to environmental reporting. This includes better management and use environmental information to support a regular process of environmental assessment and evidence-based decision-making.

At national level, the project is coordinated by two National Focal Points (NFP), representing the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and the State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan respectively.

The production of regionally comparable water indicators in accordance with EEA and UNECE implementations, with focus on indicators on water quantity (Renewable freshwater resources; Freshwater abstraction; Total water use; Household water use per capita; Water supply industry and population connected to water supply industry), and on water quality (BOD and concentration of ammonium in rivers; Nutrients in freshwater); Supporting the further development of national water portals/water information systems in line with the SEIS principles, including hands-on training to look into aspects related to online data management (data preparation, data collection, QA and QC and data dissemination) and procedures for manual and predefined quality checks and assurance.

Ms. Tatiana Efimova, Project Manager, presented the outcomes of cooperation on water management and national priorities to address challenges in the area of transboundary river basin management as identified by the EU WFD on behalf of the EUWI+ project team funded by the EU. It was noted that specific country-based capacity assessments was conducted in the inception phase of the project, resulting in the design of specific training plans.

River Restoration Consultation Meeting

13 November 2017

The second River Restoration Consultation Meeting was held at the PCU Office in Baku, Azerbaijan on 13 November 2017. The meeting was attended by representatives of Department of Environmental Monitoring of MENR, Department of Hydrometeorology of MENR, Azersu JSC, Amelioration and Water Economy JSC, BSU, EUWI+ project, ENI SEIS-II project, international consultant on the river restoration and the Kura II project team.

The meeting was chaired by Dr. Mary Matthews, Chief Technical Advisor and Regional Project Coordinator of the Kura II Project, who briefed the meeting on the main objectives and expectations of the second meeting on River Restoration in Azerbaijan.

The main issues discussed at the consultation meeting were the following:

1) Overview of the international best practices on river restoration projects and planning process by the International Consultant on River Ecology and River Restoration

2) Proposals on the most suitable sites in Azerbaijan for conducting river restoration activities based on the recommendations of the working group on the River Restoration

3) Recommended Strategy and Approaches to be used for the Kura River basin Restoration projects in Azerbaijan based on the results of the field trip

4) Brief information on the field trip to survey the suitable sites for the River Restoration projects in Azerbaijan          

5) Final recommendations of the meeting on the selection of the suitable sites for the implementation of the River Restoration project in the Kura River Basin

The meeting took note about the main environmental challenges of the Kura River Basin in Azerbaijan and the necessity for the restoration of the natural conditions and functioning of the Kura River for biodiversity conservation, recreation, flood management and landscape development. The meeting participants discussed issues to be addressed in the strategy and approaches to planning and management of river ecosystems and clarified a number of aspects regarding the implementation of the restoration of the Kura River in pilot areas.    

The main recommendation of the meeting was to organize the field trip to survey the suitable sites along the Kura River aimed at the identification of the main pressures on the river basin ecosystem and defining the strategy and approaches to be used for the holding of river rehabilitation activities in Azerbaijan as follows:

1)     Hajigabul Lake in Shirvan city and its surrounding areas    

2)     Sabirabad city (the confluence of the Kura and Araz Rivers)

3)     Shamkirchay Water Reservoir and the downstream  of  Shamkirchay River in the Shamkir region

4)     Varvara Water Reservoir/Dam and its downstream area and Hunting Farm of MENR

5)     Alijanchay River in the Oguz region

6)      Zayamchay River in the Tovuz city

The Second PAG meeting of the UNDP-GEF Kura River II Project

26 October 2017

The second PAG meeting of the UNDP-GEF Kura II Project was held on 26 October 2017 at the Kura II PCU office. Representatives of Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, State Agency for Water Resources of Ministry of Emergency Situations, Republican Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology of Ministry of Health, State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan Amelioration and Water Economy JSC, AZERSU JSC and BSU attended the PAG-II meeting.

The meeting objectives were to provide updates on the UNDP-GEF Kura River Project since the PAG-I meeting as follows:

·     Summary of the Environmental Flows Meeting

·     Summary of the field trip to survey Shamkirchay and Alijanchay rivers with a view of the implementation of the pilot project on determination of Eflows and river restoration

·     Summary of the Regional Water Indicators Meeting in Tbilisi and next steps

·     Summary of the River Restoration Meeting and next steps

·     Summary of the Regional Hot-Spots Meeting and next steps

·     Brief update on international experts: recruitment status, roles and scheduled missions by Mr. Ahmed Elseoud

·     Update on the visits of International Experts on Environmental Water Economics and Laboratory Quality Management to Baku, Azerbaijan

·     Plans related to the UNDP-GEF Kura II IWRM Academy in January, 2018 and E Flow Training for November 23-24, 2017 in Baku

·     Discussion on proposed agenda items for the First Regional PAG Meeting, Baku, Azerbaijan, January, 2018.

Dr. Matthews, Chief Technical Advisor and Regional Project Coordinator informed the meeting participants that over the period of January and May 2018 a total of 12 trainings workshops will be held for representatives of MENR and other stakeholders from water sector covering the following topics:

1)     Pollution Emission Inventory

2)     On Implementation of EUWFD

3)     Water Economy

4)     Standard Operation on Laboratory Accreditation ISO 17025

5)     Academy IWRM for rising decision-makers and the students for next 5-10 years

In addition, it was emphasized that in the course of the Regional PAG meeting to be convened in Azerbaijan in the year 2018 the discussions will be focuses on Regional Water Quality Indicators, Situation related to Ground Aquifers, Pollution Abatement Plan and Hotspots Reports.

Minutes of Hotspots meeting in the Kura River basin in Azerbaijan

The meeting was held on 27 September 2017 at the PCU of the UNDP-GEF Kura II Project. Representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and Ministry of Emergency Situation, SWRA, “Azersu” JSC, Amelioration JSC, BSU, Parliament and EU-Twinning Project and the project team attended the Meeting.

The main discussion topics were the hotsports over the Kura River Basin and the possible actions can be done by the project to support the activities in this direction.

River Restoration Consultation Meeting

The River Restoration Consultation Meeting took place at the PCU of the UNDP-GEF Kura II Project office on 14 September 2017. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Azerbaijan Amelioration and Water Economy JSC, “Azersu” JSC and Baku State University (BSU) and the Gyzyl-Aghach State Nature Reserve of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan.       

The objective of the meeting was to provide the baseline information on the ecological status of the Kura River Basin and to discuss the proposed river restoration sites in Azerbaijan and approaches to be used for the River Restoration activities based on the shared objectives. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Mary Matthews.  As a result of the meeting the participants of the meeting agreed upon the suggested criteria for the site selection and expressed willingness to start the implementation of the project.

Environmental Flow Methodology Consultation Meeting

As a part of Kura II Project work plan an Environmental Flow Methodology Consultation Meeting took place on 8 September 2017 at Project's PCU Office, Baku, Azerbaijan.The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the environmental flow methodologies used in Azerbaijan and define recommendations for the selection of the appropriate methodology for the assessment of the environmental flow and a road map for the application of the suitable methodology to be implemented within the framework of the UNDP-GEF Kura II project in one of the selected sub basins. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, “Azersu” JSC, Amelioration and Water Economy JSC, Parliament, Baku State University (BSU). The meeting was chaired by Mr. Rashad Allahverdiyev, National Focal Point to the UNDP-GEF Kura River II Project. Ahmed A. Elseoud, Senior Capacity Building Expert UNDP/GEF Kura II project & Dr. Mary M. Matthews, Kura II CTA were the facilitators of the meeting.

Dr. Mary Matthews, Chief Technical Advisor and Regional Project Corordinator of the Kura II Project, presents at the ADA University

Baku, Azerbaijan

16 March 2019

Ms. Hajar Huseynova, Regional Project Analyst of the Kura II Project, presented at the ADA University

Baku, Azerbaijan

30 March 2019

Ms. Hajar Huseynova, Regional Project Analyst of the Kura II Project has lectured at the two classes of the Environmental Sciences course at ADA University on 30 March 2019. In her presentation, Hajar has talked about the water distribution on the Earth, available fresh water resources, challenges associated with the limited fresh water resources and various water resources management styles.

The Environmental Sciences course is attended by the undergraduate students of the univeristy. The students were from the programs such as Public Admisnitration, Economics, Business Administration, International Studies, Computer Sciences and Information Technologies.

The lecture have been followed by the heated disucssion about the various approaches to the weater resources management and awareness raising in order to achieve responsible citizenship on all levels.

UNDP-GEF Kura II Project Junior Experts, Ms. Aysel Kamilli and Mr. Ahmadiya Sarkarov have been teaching at the Baku State University

Baku, Azerbaijan

27 March - 23 April 2019

UNDP-GEF Kura II Junior Experts, Ms. Aysel Kamilli and Mr. Ahmadiya Sarkarov have been teaching at the undergraduate level Hydrology and Biology program of the Baku State University (BSU) as of 27 March 2019. Both Aysel and Ahmadiya are IWRM program students at the BSU, which has been established during the first phase of this project.

Prior to the one month teaching program, the Junior Experts have joined the Training of Trainers (ToT) conducted by Stakeholder Engagement Expert, Dr. Jeanene Mitchell and Regional Project Analyst Ms. Hajar Huseynova. Ahmadiya and Aysel have been trained to present the water resources management issue to the non-hydrological experts within the ToT program.

Ahmadiya and Aysel successfully completed their teaching program on 23 April 2019.


Output 3.1. Rational Water Use in Agriculture Sector in Azerbaijan Kick off Meeting

Baku, Azerbaijan

5 April 2019

On 5 April 2019, The UNDP-GEF Kura II Project had a kick off meeting for the project output 3.1. Rational Water Use in Agriculture Sector in Azerbaijan. The purpose of this demonstration project is to introduce water effective technologies into the agriculture fields of both countries.

The project will be implemented in Jafarkhan village of Saatly in Azerbaijan. Cotton and fruit trees will be planted within the scope of this demo project. Both cotton and fruit trees will be divided in two fields; half of the field will be irrigated with the traditional way and the other half with the drip irrigation system. All the characteristics will be measured before and after the process and include the cost benefir analysis.

The selected local firm has already started the cleanup works in the irrigation channels and prepared the land for the planned purposes. In this meeting the firm representatives have introduced their plan the UNDP-GEF Kura II Project team and National Focal Point Ms. Aynur Aliyeva.