This document represents the collective expertise of a diverse group of individuals concerned with ecosystem degradation, and the continuing loss of the services provided by these ecosystems. Attention is given to aquatic ecosystems because of water`s fundamental role as the `blood` of ecosystem structure and functions, and an engine of economic production.

The concept of ecosystem services has received significant attention since the appearance of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment(MA). Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems.

The surface of our planet is mainly water, yet usable water is in short supply. In some parts of Africa people have to walk several kilometres a day to get water, and they are the lucky ones. There, and in Asia, the prospect of conflicts over water is increasing. A particular example is the scheme to bring more water into Turkmenistan and its capital city, Ashgabat.

The Aral Sea in Central Asia was the fourth-largest lake on the planet in 1960. By 2007 it had shrunk to 10 percent of its original size. Widespread, wasteful irrigation of the deserts along the Amu and Syr rivers, which feed the Aral, cut the freshwater inflow to a trickle. Nevertheless, a dam built in 2005 has helped the northernmost lake expand quickly and drop substantially in salinity.

This report gives an overview of major environmental and socio-economic challenges that the Aral Sea region is facing, threats to the sustainable management of lake basin, major measures supported by the governments and international donor organizations aimed to address these critical environmental problems, and lessons learned from the environmental cooperation to date.


Cancer in the region of the Aral Sea linked to its drying up

the Aral Sea, formerly the world's fourth-largest inland sea with an area of 65,000 sq km may not die after all ( Down To Earth, Vol 4, No 12). Kazakh fisherfolk believe that a 16-km-

This publication focusses on the Aral Sea crisis - the result of economic processes set in motion by the planners of the erstwhile Soviet Union in the 1950s. It is one of the biggest ecological disasters, second only to Chernobyl, leading to a total collapse of the socio-economic life of the people.

"Forgive us, Aral. Please come back." These words written in chalk, on a ship sftKk in a sandy wasteland, which was once the bustling shore of the world"s fourth largest lake, the Aral Sea, tell a graphic tale of the human toll caused by am of the w

A woman with a mission. ORAL ATANVFAZOVA, at 39, finds herself in the midst of a salvage operation aimed at providing succour to the teeming massess In the disease afflicted areas of the Aral Sea basin. Starting with being an obstetrician and gyn