Central Asian Network of Academic Societies: role in strengthening regional cooperation

Publication date: 24 November 2023

Almaty, Kazakhstan – Today, the Central Asian Network of Academic Societies (NAS) held a bi-annual meeting at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty. The meeting was organized by USAID1 Central Asia’s Regional Water and Vulnerable Environment Activity (WAVE) in cooperation with the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).


NAS works to build partnerships and networks to improve and elevate the level of instruction and research at Central Asian universities. At today’s meeting, representatives from Central Asian universities and international development programs discussed the problems and prospects of NAS development, shared their experiences on co-operation and identified potential partnership opportunities of educational institutions within the framework of the network. Officials from L.N. Gumilev Eurasian National University (ENU) and the Academy of Public Administration (APA) under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan discussed the results of their student exchange and plans for future cooperation, which include joint research projects, teacher internships, and student Olympiad.

“Cooperation between our universities is a good incentive for advancing our scientific research and an excellent opportunity for our students. This happened thanks to regular meetings and networking within the framework of the NAS," said Alisher Saidmukhtorov, Head of the Department of International Law, APA under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan.


NAS meetings also provide a good opportunity to share innovative educational materials among colleagues and other universities. At today’s meetings, Professor Aigerim Ospanova from ENU shared her excitement about a new undergraduate course entitled, "Water Issues in Central Asia."

"As water will be a crucial issue in Central Asia over the next few decades, this course will play an important role in training a conscious future generation of specialists who will work for the benefit of the region and its water security," said Aigerim Ospanova.


In addition, NAS members discussed the recently-developed Community of Practice (CoP) platform development, which has doubled the number of registered members to 76 since the last meeting. The platform contains a wealth of valuable water-related information in the form of course materials, lectures, videos, and podcasts, among other media. It also provides a place for established and new water professionals to network and knowledge share.

During the meeting the development organizations also shared their experience in strengthening higher education in water sector to ensure climate sustainability and security in Central Asia. Among the presentations, experience of SDC’s CoP4WASH project, European Union (EU) funded Erasmus-project, German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and WAVE activities in the region should be noted.


At the same time, the participants of the meeting shared the results of SDC’s CoP4WASH project and discussed the possible establishment of a CoP for water diplomacy based on the lessons learned and experience of this project.

1.      United States Agency for International Cooperation

Brief reference

The Central Asian Network of Academic Society (NAS) promotes interaction and knowledge exchange between representatives of educational institutions involved in the management of environment, water, land and energy resources in the context of climate change. NAS has been operating since 2013 with the support of development partners such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swiss Agency for Development (SDC), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the European Union (EU), the World Bank (WB), on the platform of the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia.

In addition to regular regional meetings, the NAS is supported by the Community of Practice platform, which is a communication and outreach platform for bringing together representatives of educational institutions, research institutions, government agencies, international organizations, youth and other stakeholders. The platform was created in 2022 by USAID WAVE in collaboration with CAREC on the basis of the Eurasian River Basin Portal (riverbp.net).

CoP4WASH is an SDC project that was implemented in 2022-2023 to develop a Community of Practice and Researchers on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Central Asia.

Additional information: Ludmila KiktenkoEnvironmental Management Programme’s Manager, CAREC, lkiktenko@carececo.org  

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