President of the Republic of Tajikistan

Speech at the High-Level Meeting on the Implementation of the Water-Related Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda

19.03.2021 09:05, Dushanbe city

Excellency Chairman,
Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to express my profound gratitude to Mr. Chairperson for the invitation and the opportunity to outline my thoughts at this High-Level Meeting.

Today's meeting, which is being held as a part of the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development’, is indeed very important for Tajikistan and the world community as a whole.

At the time we have initiated to declare this Decade, our main goal was to start early actions to promote implementation of the water-related Sustainable Development Goals.

Nowadays this goal gained even greater importance given the modern challenges and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our lives.

It has to be noted that 29 percent of the world’s population still does not have access to safe drinking water and 55 percent face lack of access to basic sanitation services.

In the current context, many UN member states, particularly developing and least developed countries will obviously face difficulties in timely implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Beyond doubt, this state of affairs dictates to urge further strengthen cooperation in order to accelerate coordinated actions for achieving 2030 Agenda’s water-related goals.

Mr. Chairman!

Tajikistan has made significant efforts to promote water issues on the global development agenda over the past two decades.

The UN General Assembly, at the initiative of Tajikistan, adopted by consensus eight resolutions on water issues, which testifies the importance and timeliness of this agenda.

Today, we can confidently claim that Tajikistan's initiatives on water issues have remarkably contributed to strengthening and promoting specific actions for achieving Sustainable Development Goals, including those related to water resources.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to reiterate Tajikistan's commitment to further advance water agenda, particularly prevention of such modern threat as the climate change at all levels.

We have recently had the first Meeting of the newly established High Level Panel on Water and Climate, which Tajikistan is a member of.

During this Meeting we proposed to declare 2025 as the International Year of Glaciers Preservation and to determine the date of the World Glacier Day.

This initiative will undoubtedly draw the attention of the international community to the linkage between the water and climate issues.

We voice a hope that the UN member states and our partners will support this proposal.

The accelerated melting of ice on the water surface and on land, which may lead to unpredictable consequences in the near future, is the main driver of our initiative.

The rapid melting of glaciers in Tajikistan, where our country accounts for about 60 percent of the water resources of Central Asia, is the vivid example of this process.

Today, more than 1,000 small and medium glaciers of Tajikistan have completely melted and the total volume of glaciers has decreased almost by three times.

This state of affairs certainly affects negatively not only Tajikistan but also other countries in the region.

In this context, Tajikistan has included climate change topics into the agenda of its presidency at the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.

In view of the impact of this process on water resources, we will make every effort possible within the Fund to further strengthen regional cooperation in this area.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Tajikistan has undertaken a number of important actions for transformation of its water sector.

Thus, in order to improve the water system and align it with the current requirements, we have adopted and have been implementing our Ten-Year Water Reform Program to 2025.

As part of this reform, we endorsed our revised Water Code based on an integrated water resources management principles in 2020, and concurrently created river basin organizations.

In this process, we have also enacted our Law on Drinking Water Supply and Waste Water Disposal, which enshrines the rights to drinking water as a priority.

It is obvious that the reform process cannot be successful without appropriate financing and investment.

This implies not only for Tajikistan, but also for other developing and least developed countries.

In this regard, support of these processes by donor countries and development partners is essential, especially in financing and development of water infrastructure.

Mr. Chairman!

Indeed, it would be impossible to achieve Sustainable Development Goals without bringing together all stakeholders, particularly in the face of influence of modern challenges.

We are convinced that the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” creates a favorable platform for collective actions and the world community would want to use this platform to the maximum possible.

We do hope that our joint efforts will provide an opportunity to present tangible outcomes at the UN Conference on Comprehensive Mid-Term Review of the Goals of this decade in 2023.

This forum is the first UN Conference at this level since the time of Mar Del Plata High-Level Water Conference in 1977.

Tajikistan as a co-chair of this Conference, is strongly eager to cooperate with all parties on the process to effectively arrange this important international event.

In this connection, we will host a High-Level International Conference on the review of the Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” in 2022 in Dushanbe and harbor aspirations that it will make a worthy contribution to the preparatory process for the Conference in 2023.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that only coordinated actions by all countries would enable us to achieve significant results towards achieving the SDG 6 and other water-related goals.

In this context, coherent cooperation through even respect of the interests of all parties and significant increase of financing of infrastructure is an important factor of success in this process.

I thank you!

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