Dushanbe, 8 June 2022 (TDI): The President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon addressed the opening ceremony of the Second International High-Level Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018 – 2028.”

Following is the text of his speech:

Speech at the opening ceremony of the Second International High-Level Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018 – 2028”

Distinguished Heads of Delegations!
Ladies and gentlemen!
Dear guests!

I warmly welcome your visit to Dushanbe.

Today’s meeting is taking place in accordance with the resolution of the UN General Assembly on a comprehensive medium-term review of the objectives of the Water Decade.

We believe that it will make a significant contribution to linking the chain of regional and global events to the United Nations Water Conference in 2023, which will be held under the auspices of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to note that next year we will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of our joint efforts to promote the United Nations Water Agenda.

Over the past 20 years, we have strengthened our joint efforts in implementing initiatives such as the International Year of Clean Water – 2003, the International Decade for Action “Water for Life, 2005 – 2015” and the International Year of Water Cooperation – 2013.

These global initiatives have facilitated the active cooperation of all stakeholders in the management of water resources and the implementation of projects in the water sector, as well as in the implementation of modern technologies and innovations.

I would like to emphasize the role of our latest initiative – the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” in the implementation of agreed international goals in this area.

We are confident that, thanks to cooperation and the expansion of partnerships in the framework of the Decade, approaches and approaches to achieving the goals of sustainable development related to water resources and sanitation will be found.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the leadership of the United Nations, the relevant structures, in particular the members of the International Consultative Committee on the Dushanbe Water Process and others for their assistance and support in organizing and conducting this Conference.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the member states of the United Nations for their continued support of the initiatives and resolutions proposed by our country over the past two decades.

Ladies and gentlemen!

The international community has not yet taken the necessary measures to mitigate the effects of climate change and adapt to it, and is facing a new threat – the integration of KOVID-19.

Naturally, during this period, all countries of the world have directed all means and opportunities to combat this crisis.

But we must not forget that the issue of water, due to its vital importance, must always remain a priority.

Experts estimate that the world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, which will certainly increase the demand for water many times over.

However, the joint efforts have not yet yielded the desired results, and the following figures, as you know, testify to this:

– about 2 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water;

– more than three and a half billion people do not have access to basic health services and about two and a half billion do not have access to basic hygiene;

– Every year about half a million people die from water-related infectious diseases.

In this regard, it can be said that the process of real implementation of the set goals and objectives in the direction of providing access to drinking water and sanitation is not at the required level.

Such a situation should be of deep concern to us.

With this in mind, the Dushanbe Conference has also focused on the provision of safe drinking water and the interconnectedness of water and health issues.

Dear audience!

Today’s conference will also discuss the close integration of water, the environment and climate change.

Over the past five years, we have witnessed unprecedented global warming, which has caused droughts and other natural disasters, which have had a negative impact on food security and other sectors of the economy of our countries.

A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also highlighted the role of water resources in adapting to climate change and achieving sustainability.

It stressed that the melting of snow and glaciers and permafrost could have a lasting effect and accelerate global warming.

This challenge poses a serious obstacle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in various countries, including Tajikistan, which is a mountainous country with vast water resources, especially glaciers.

For example, as a result of this process, we are witnessing an unprecedented increase in floods, droughts and other natural phenomena related to water.

Unfortunately, our country suffers hundreds of millions of dollars every year as a result of such natural disasters.

Water-related natural disasters often result in deaths and severe damage to vital infrastructure.

Another example of this process is the rapid melting of glaciers.

Over the past few decades, more than a thousand glaciers in Tajikistan have been destroyed.

The world’s largest onshore glacier, Fedchenko, located in our country, has shrunk by 16 cubic kilometers in size and 45 square kilometers in area.

In this regard, the Government of Tajikistan has adopted the State Program for the Study and Protection of Glaciers for the period up to 2030.

In order to follow these processes and take measures to adapt to them, we have established a Center for the Study of Glaciers at the National Academy of Sciences.

We will also strengthen our efforts in this direction at the international level.

A few days ago, we held a regular meeting of the leaders of the Water and Climate Coalition in Dushanbe.

In this context, the Action Plan was approved with significant results.

At the first meeting of the leaders of the Water and Climate Coalition in March last year, we proposed to declare 2025 the International Year of Glacier Protection.

Today, we are working to implement this initiative at all levels, and we hope that it will be fully supported by the international community.

Dear participants of the conference!

As is known, integrated water resources management, including water integration with energy issues, food security, and environmental protection, is one of the key tools in addressing these challenges.

This point is also important for Tajikistan.

About 80 percent of our agricultural production comes from irrigated land.

At the same time, more than 98% of electricity in our country is generated by hydropower plants.

Tajikistan ranks sixth in the world in the production of environmentally friendly electricity.

In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to the role of water in the production of “green energy” from renewable sources.¬†There is a lot of debate around this topic today.

However, last year’s report by the World Hydropower Association confirmed that strengthening the sector, while ensuring economic growth, could also play a key role in adapting to the effects of climate change.

Currently, the world is planning and building hydropower plants with a total capacity of 600 gigawatts, in addition, there is a need for more than 600 gigawatts.

The Republic of Tajikistan, which has abundant hydropower resources, can make a valuable contribution in this direction.

The total hydropower potential of our country is 527 billion kilowatt-hours (KWh) per year, of which we have mastered only 3-4 percent.

Today we are continuing the construction of Rogun HPP with a total capacity of 17 billion kilowatt-hours (kW).

The construction of this facility is an outstanding example of our efforts in this direction.

This plant, along with the production of environmentally friendly and affordable energy, will also make a significant contribution to the sustainable management of water resources, reducing the risk of floods and droughts, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Today, Tajikistan is one of the world’s leading countries in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

It should be noted that most of Rogun’s electricity is exported to countries in need of energy in the region, which contributes to the economic and social development of these countries.

At the same time, Rogun and other hydropower plants in Tajikistan will make a significant contribution to strengthening cross-border cooperation, which is one of the world’s most important issues.

We are paying close attention to this issue, as cross-border cooperation, especially in the Central and South Asian region in the field of water and energy, plays a key role in addressing many issues.

Tajikistan, on the territory of which 60% of Central Asia’s water resources are formed, always wants to use them effectively for the benefit of all countries in the region.

That is why we give priority to the development of cross-border cooperation under our chairmanship in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.

Just a few days ago, together with our close neighbor, the Republic of Uzbekistan, we launched a joint project to build two hydropower plants in Tajikistan with a total capacity of 320 megawatts (MW), which is a good example of the above.

Ladies and gentlemen!

Another important point that should be of interest to us is the issue of funding.

According to the World Bank, the annual demand for universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation alone is about $ 114 billion.

In addition, the annual requirement for the implementation of the goals of the Paris Agreement in the field of climate is almost seven trillion dollars.

It is obvious that developing and least developed countries do not have such financial opportunities.

Therefore, without the help of developed countries, financial institutions and the private sector will face many challenges in achieving development goals.

Expanding public-private partnerships is one of the key ways in this regard, which will create new opportunities for attracting additional investment in the water sector and its infrastructure.

At the same time, there is a need for international cooperation and partnership, including with other development partners and sectors outside the water sector, the use of modern technologies, innovation and new scientific and technological research.

These measures are among the factors that can effectively address water issues.

Civil society, especially women and youth, indigenous peoples, and local communities, can also make a valuable contribution to this process.

That is why these issues are also included in the agenda of the Dushanbe Conference.

We expect that specific recommendations and messages will be developed based on them.

In order to attract attention and raise public awareness, we have also enriched the conference program by holding part of the Global Marathon in Tajikistan and the Dushanbe Water Festival, and you have witnessed a real water holiday in our country.

Dear audience!

As mentioned above, the Dushanbe Conference has a key role to play in the preparations for the 2023 United Nations Water Conference.

In this regard, the Dushanbe Conference aims to coordinate and consolidate the results of other international events, including the Bonn Dialogue, the 9th World Water Forum, the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit in conjunction with the upcoming events – the United Nations Conference on the oceans and the 27th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Climate Change and other regional and international events serve this important international gathering.

Tajikistan and the Netherlands, as co-chairs of the 2023 Conference in cooperation with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the United Nations-UN mechanism, are in the process of preparing for this conference to work closely with member states, relevant UN agencies, and other stakeholders. established.

We believe that this Conference, which will be held by the United Nations after almost 50 years, should become a historic event not only in terms of time but also with its effective results.

The year 2023 is also important in terms of the mid-term revision of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the assessment of the implementation of the Water Decade for Sustainable Development in the first phase will accelerate and stimulate efforts to achieve the Sustainable Water Development Goals.

Tajikistan, as co-chair of this important international event, expresses its readiness to cooperate with all member states and other stakeholders.

In this regard, together with the Kingdom of the Netherlands and partners from the United Nations, we will make every effort to make this event a success.

I am confident that the participants of today’s conference will also consistently use this opportunity to facilitate this process and to develop specific messages for the 2023 Conference.

I wish all of you, dear participants of the conference, success and good luck, and I hope that your visit to Tajikistan will be memorable.

Thank you for your attention!

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