• July 21, 2024

Speech by President of Tajikistan His Excellency Emomali Rahmon in the opening ceremony of the 3rd Dushanbe Water Action Decade Conference “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018 – 2028”

Dear Excellencies,

Head of delegations,

Ladies and gentlemen!

I welcome all of you to Tajikistan for participation in the 3rd Dushanbe Water Action Decade Conference “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018 – 2028!”

We are satisfied that Tajikistan’s global initiatives, particularly within “Dushanbe Water Process” frameworks, during these two decades, united UN member states and its institutions, international and regional structures, financial institutions, civil society and other stakeholders in order to discuss the global water issues and strive to look for solutions.

In March 2023, the international community witnessed a historic UN Water Conference co-chaired by Tajikistan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which opened a new page in the world water agenda.

The conference caused significant developments in understanding the essence and the importance of water for sustainable development and the need for effective and urgent actions in this vital field.

Thus, we managed to collectively put water on the center of the table of global negotiations on development, and unite the world around this very important topic.

However, it is worth noting that our current actions and initiatives are still not sufficient for us to achieve our set goals to this end, due to modern risks and rising threats becoming relatively fast and effective.

For the last five years, we have consistently been witnessing the hottest years and months on record on our planet.

According to reports, 2023 was recorded as the hottest year as well.

There is a strong possibility that this is not all what has yet to come, and we will witness more record numbers in the next few years.

It is worthy of noting that, year by year, the share of water-related emergencies within the total number of natural disasters and the amount of damages caused from said emergencies is also increasing.

For the last 20 years, this share has increased from 80 to 90 percent and the amount of damages has increased considerably too.

A clear example of this is the current year’s floods in various parts of the world, including Tajikistan, which caused hundreds of millions of dollars in financial damages to the countries’ economies.

If just a few years ago we were talking about quadrupling efforts to achieve the 6th Sustainable Development Goal, today, according to the UN – Water, we now need to instead increase our efforts six times in order to achieve this goal.

In this regard, it is necessary for us to strive for new and effective initiatives along with the fulfillment of our obligations taken under the United Nations Water Conference.

It is for this reason that we decided to follow up the results of the New York Conference and incorporated the new commitments into the core of the Dushanbe Conference’s agenda.

It should be noted that the use of the «Dushanbe Water Process» as a platform to follow up the results of the United Nations Water Conference is one of our commitments under the Water Action Agenda, and we express our readiness to further expand this process.

Ladies and gentlemen!

Tajikistan, despite having abundant fresh water resources, including glaciers, lakes, and rivers, pays particular attention to water-related problems.

This is why the subject of water resources, their rational and sustainable use has been identified as one of the priorities of our state policy.

The support of Tajikistan’s initiatives in the fields of water and climate by the international community, through the adoption of 10 resolutions of the UN General Assembly, manifests the active and key role of our country in promoting the agenda of water and climate at the international level.

In this context, the International Decade of Action «Water for Sustainable Development», which laid a real foundation for the acceleration of actions in the field of water, deserves a special emphasis.

Our country’s activities in promoting the issue of water in the global climate agenda is also another point of attention.

Since the 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) held in Glasgow in 2021, and later in Sharm el Sheikh and Dubai, Tajikistan in cooperation with partner countries and international organizations is actively working to strengthen the issue of water in the Climate Agenda.

We believe that this way we will achieve effective results this year within the framework of the next Climate Summit in Baku.

The «Dushanbe Water Process» will play an important role as a broad and free dialogue venue for various interested parties for comprehensive preparation of the United Nations Water Conference in 2028 in Dushanbe.

The capacities of the platform can also be utilized for preparation of the United Nations Water Conference in 2026.

Dear friends,

We have implemented effective measures to solve the water issues at the national and regional levels.

In particular, we are implementing the «Water Sector Reform Program for 2016-2025» aimed at fully transition to the integrated management of water resources.

The development of the «National Water Strategy until 2040» and the «State Program for Drinking Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment until 2032», as well as the establishment of a unified information system in the water sector, are considered important steps by our country to this end.

Our programs and strategies in this direction also include the subjects related to the improvement of culture, rational and economical use of water, and the introduction of new irrigation technologies.

We are redoubling our efforts to transition to «Green Economy», and water resources play a key role in achieving this goal.

More than 98 percent of Tajikistan’s electricity is produced from country’s hydropower resources.

We have decided to increase this indicator to 100 percent by 2032, that is, to produce electricity entirely by «Green Energy» resources.

Turning Tajikistan into a «Green Country» by 2037 is our other aim.

In this context, along with the full use of renewable energy, we have adopted the «Program for Greening the Country’s Nature until 2040» according to which more than two billion trees should be planted by then.

At the same time, we pay special attention to cross-border cooperation on water issues.

In this regard, I reiterate my country’s readiness to further strengthening of regional cooperation in Central Asia and to solve the pressing water issues through a constructive dialogue.

Dear audience,

Today’s world is under the influence of severe crises.

In recent years, in addition to common threats, including climate change, unfortunately, we are witnessing new threats and dangers that require double the attention of the world community, including the pressing issues of water.

The negative impacts of climate change on water resources, primarily on water sources and drinking water, are clear examples.

We shall not forget that water is the very source of life, and there is no life without it.

Water is the life of man and all living creatures in nature.

Water is not just a resource for drinking; it plays a key role in power generation, food production, industrial development, environmental sustainability and other aspects of human life.

In New York, we held five constructive interactive dialogues related to the importance of water in ensuring health, sustainable development, resilience to climate change, developing cooperation, and further steps within the Decade of Water for Sustainable Development; we achieved significant results.

In order to strengthen these achievements and to continue constructive dialogues, we developed the program of the Dushanbe Conference in accordance with the program of the UN 2023 Water Conference.

To this end, we called on the co-chairing countries of the New York dialogues to take the lead in discussing relevant topics.

I avail myself of this opportunity to express my gratitude to these parties for their cooperation in conducting dialogues of the Dushanbe Conference.

At the same time, I would like to express my gratitude to all the partners who contributed to holding gatherings and side events of the Conference.

Yesterday you witnessed the Dushanbe Water Festival.

We try to transfer every water gathering in Dushanbe into a festival, because water as a source of life deserves proper care and respect.

We should use it wisely and sparingly, and not take it for granted, and protect it for future generations to come.

I am sure that the results of today’s Conference will make a valuable contribution to solving the problems related to water and climate.

We hope that the important messages from interactive dialogues, conferences, and side events will play an important role in the implementation process of the commitments under the Water Action Agenda of the New York Conference, as well as in adopting new commitments and actions.

Effectively, as we see it, 2024 can be a year of high tribute to water resources.

Dushanbe Conference, Bali Water Forum, Summit of the Future in New York, World Water Weeks in Singapore, Cairo, and Stockholm, as one single chain, can contribute to this process.

In this context, we expect that the topic of water will be incorporated on the agenda of other world events, especially the conferences of the parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Azerbaijan, and the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Colombia.

All these gatherings, in turn, can lay a good foundation for the successful and fruitful holding of the United Nations Water Conferences in 2026 and 2028 and overall for the effective implementation of the International Decade of Action «Water for Sustainable Development».

Dear audience,

I would like to draw your attention to another day-to-day issue, namely the problem of glaciers, which are one of the main sources of fresh water.

Along with the unprecedented increase in the demand for water, which is related to the increase in population and economic development, the rapid melting of glaciers and the reduction of their resources have caused deep concern for the international community.

This process can be clearly observed in the Republic of Tajikistan.

Over the past few decades, 1,000 of the 13,000 glaciers of our country, which are the main source of formation of up to 60% of Central Asia’s water resources, have completely melted.

As Tajikistan is not an industrialized country, its share in the total amount of greenhouse waste is insignificant.

It is for this reason that our initiative to declare 2025 as the «International Year of Glacier Preservation» has received full support, and in accordance with the relevant resolution of the General Assembly, starting next year, March 21st will be celebrated annually as «World Day of Glaciers».

In this regard, I would like to mention that Tajikistan, being one of the pioneers, made its financial contribution to the activation of the «International Special Fund for Glaciers Preservation».

We invite partner countries and international organizations to make their contribution to strengthening the financial capacities of this fund.

As per abovementioned resolution, next year, Tajikistan will host a major international conference on glaciers preservation.

We would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to participate and contribute to it.

I would also like to mention that in order to further strengthen this important issue, together with our partners, we have decided to draft a resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations on the declaration of the Decade of Polar Sciences and Gglaciology.

I believe that this initiative of ours will gain the full support from the members of the UN.

Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude to the United Nations and its institutions, all international and financial organizations, members of the International Advisory Committee to the «Dushanbe Water Process» and all our partners for their help and support in organizing and holding today’s conference.

I wish you all, dear participants of the conference, success and a pleasant stay in the capital of Tajikistan!

Thank you for your attention!

Embassy

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