Much of the literature on the political economy of trans-boundary water and energy in Central Asia covers common ground on the following issues:
- Historical factors in the region and the legacy on water allocation of Soviet Rule – although there is some variation in opinion over the extent to which Soviet-era water and energy allocations have contributed to instability, conflict and environmental degradation.
- The various mechanisms and institutions that exist to facilitate regional cooperation – There appears to be some consensus that national leaders only play lip service to regional agreements and that political-will is lacking. Much of the literature here also suggests that international actors should act in a manner that reinforces regional cooperation
- Local and community level organisations, such as Water Users Organisations (WAU), which need to be involved and included in the formation of regional water and energy policy.
- The potential for conflict in the region arising from disputes over different water and energy needs between upstream and downstream countries – There are a number of papers devoted to issues of water, conflict and security.
- Although not strictly within the scope of this report, a number of papers highlight the potentially destabilising effects of development in Afghanistan on water allocations in Central Asia.
The literature suggests that the region is perceived to be strategically and geopolitically important by a number of external actors. The contemporary role of the US, Russia and China in region is briefly referred to in some of the articles presented here, but detailed analysis on their role, influence and impact was not found during the research period for this report.