The World Water Day is globally celebrated on 22 March. It aims at raising awareness of more than 2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about valuing water and taking action to tackle the global water crisis.
Switzerland has been supporting the water sector of the Kyrgyz Republic for 16 years. It focuses its support on integrated water resource management: from the source to the service provision, to a water user both for drinking water and for irrigation. In particular, Switzerland, jointly with the World Bank, has worked on supporting the authorities in implementation of the Water Code: more than 480 irrigation water user associations could increase efficiency of irrigation water services. The overall budget of this support amounts to USD 13 million.
Switzerland also supported the cooperation between the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Kazakhstan in the transboundary river basins such as Chu and Talas, where water accountability has been improved thanks to automation of water use data generation and transmission. And last but not least, Switzerland granted EUR 50 million to improve urban water supply and sanitation systems jointly with EBRD and the EU, thus providing safe drinking water to more than 1,5 million citizens in Kirghizstan.
A core focus of the World Water Day is to support the achievement of UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. In its message delivered on the occasion of World Water Day, Ignazio Cassis, Swiss Federal Councilor, said: “Switzerland is strongly committed to achieving progress on SDG 6. We call for putting water at the heart of government policies. Without water, there is no development, no peace, no life.”
Water is a common property and through its various uses, such as drinking, sanitation and irrigation, water is critical for life. Considering the importance of the issue, Switzerland remains committed and continue supporting reforms in the water sector of Kyrgyzstan to ensure the provision of quality water services for all.