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Speech by President Emomali Rahmon at the Opening Ceremony of the UN Conference on Midterm Comprehensive Review of Implementation of the UN Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation

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Speech by President Emomali Rahmon at the Opening Ceremony of the UN Conference on Midterm Comprehensive Review of Implementation of the UN Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation
22.03.2023, United States

Distingushed heads of state and delegation,
Excellency Secretary General,
Excellency President of UN General Assembly,
Distinguished participants,

I would like to welcome you to this important milestone event and offer my sincere gratitude for your proactive engagements in the process of preparation to this gathering.

It is quite symbolic that this conference is coinciding with the World Water Day and the International Navruz Holiday. May I extend my sincere congratulations to all of you on this occasion.

It is worth noting that Tajikistan has been leading water-related issues on the global development agenda for more than two decades.

At our initiative, the United Nations General Assembly adopted 9 resolutions on water issues and their implementation laid a strong foundation in achieving coordinated global water goals.

Indeed, the UN member states and agencies, including members of the Friends of Water Group played an important role in promoting these global objectives.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As you are aware, water resources are currently deeply affected by various threats and challenges, which indeed negatively impact all aspects of public life, particularly the food security, generation of green power, and nature sustainability. In this context, the climate change is also at the centre of our attention as a factor affecting drinking water resources. The rapid melting of glaciers, both in the Arctic and Antarctic, and in the continental parts of the planet, is a clear testimony to this phenomenon. On the other hand, the accelerated growth of the world’s population also increases the demand for water respectively.

Due to these two factors, during the last five decades, the water availability per capita indicator declined by almost 2,5 times globally, and by more than four times in some regions of the globe, including Central Asia.

Moreover, the climate change has also led to an unprecedented increase in water-born natural disasters. We all witnessed last year unprecedented droughts and floods, which with their large scale and unexpected geographical coverage once again proved the close linkage between the water and climate.

Tajikistan also suffers a significant financial and human losses from water-born natural disasters every year, which seriously hinder our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Still 2 billion people of the planet lack safe drinking water and 3.6 billion lack safe sanitation respectively. Almost half a million people die from water-related infectious diseases every year.

Unfortunately, these and other facts and figures indicate that the actions by the international community to address the existing issues is not sufficient. With this in mind, in the process of preparation for the Conference, together with the Kingdom of the Netherlands and our partners from the United Nations, we focused on commitments to accelerate actions to achieve the water-related development goals.

In this regard, at the Second Dushanbe Conference on the Decade of Water, which played a key role in preparing for today’s Conference, we presented the Water Action Agenda.

Distinguished participants,

We will further strive through integrated efforts to address the water and climate issues within the United Nations, including during implementation of the International Year of Glaciers’ Preservation, which was proclaimed by the UN GA at the initiative of Tajikistan in December of the last year. In this context, we will host a high-level international conference on glaciers’ preservation in Dushanbe in 2025.

Tajikistan, where 60% of water in Central Asia is formed, during its presidency of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, will continue its efforts to deepen and expand cross-border water cooperation in Central Asia.

At the national level, we will make every effort possible to fully complete the water reform by 2025 and introduce the integrated water resources management system nationwide.

We are developing Tajikistan’s National Water Strategy in line with the current standards and requirements. We are developing a targeted national program to ensure the access of the country’s entire population to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2030 and we are determined to double the funding in this area gradually.

Tajikistan generates 98 % of its electricity in hydropower plants, while it so far is able to use 5% of its hydropower resources only. Therefore, we are determined to double the capacity of our hydropower plants by 2050 and make a decent contribution to the development of green economy.

It is worth mentioning that now Tajikistan ranks sixth in the world in terms of the share of electricity generated from renewable water resources, i.e. generation of “green energy”.

Distinguished friends,

Today’s conference should be recorded in the history for promoting the clear understanding of the sphere’s challenges and exploring effective and executive solutions.

We need to make joint efforts to achieve specific results and follow up the agreements reached with a view to decently meeting the expectations of the international community.

With this in mind and with a view to monitoring the implementation of our commitments constantly, I would like to propose to arrange the next United Nations Water Conference in Tajikistan at the end of the Decade of Action in 2028.

In order to fulfill these actions and commitments, especially the Water Action Agenda, I propose to widely use the Dushanbe Water Process as a monitoring platform.

It is my firm belief that our collective efforts and new commitments and actions within the today’s Conference and their implementation will come to fruition.

Dear friends,

Water is the main source of life. Tajikistan is a country with abundant resources of drinking water. We brought some water from Sarez Lake, which is located at an altitude of 3500 meters in the mountains of Tajikistan. Sarez, in fact, as a rare example of pure water resources originating from the glaciers and snow-covered peaks of my country, can provide the people of the Central Asian region with high-quality drinking water for many years.

The United Nations Secretary General Mr. Guterres visited this lake during his trip to Tajikistan and I assume there are other participants in this Conference today, who also visit this lake and glaciers of Tajikistan.

We are all aware that the drinking water sources are depleting every year under the influence of climate change and other global processes. For example, 1000 of 14,000 glaciers in Tajikistan have completely melted in the last few decades.

Therefore, I would like to propose to develop and implement specific national, regional and international programs for the preservation and effective use of all water sources. Pursuing this initiative is, indeed, consistent with our commitments in the implementation of the Global Climate Agenda and requires fruitful cooperation with all partners.

Accordingly, reliable modern mechanisms for water supply and effective management of water-related issues should be developed and implemented. I hope that we will achieve the agreed international goals related to water with collective efforts.

I thank you for your attention and wish all of us success in today’s conference!




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