Prior to independence the Soviet system focused on the geographical boundaries of the Syr Darya Basin and managed the environmental resources according to these boundaries. Hence, the riparian states were tied together through the management of water, energy and food products. After independence, the individual states focused on national interests, and this development led to destabilisation. The Syr Darya Basin shows that national strategies for a natural resource use have created instability. Complex cooperation incorporating water, energy and agriculture is necessary. An issue linkage approach and a wider understanding of common pooled resources can create stability for the whole basin.

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