The United Nations General Assembly, having supported the initiative of the Founder of Peace and National Unity – Leader of Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan His Excellency Mr Emomali Rahmon, unanimously adopted its Resolution on International Decade of Actions “Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028)” on 21 December 2016.
The idea of launching International Decade of Actions “Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028)”, which was voiced during the 7th World Water Forum of April 2015 by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, is based on the particular importance of water resources as a strategic welfare and the growing importance of this issue in the contemporary world. The main objective of the Decade is to promote the efforts of the International Community in implementation of new international water resources commitments. The climate change, financial crisis, increasing natural disasters, energy and food issues, growth of transmissible diseases, terrorism and extremism, military conflicts in a number of countries and regions of the world, and many other current threats mainly prevented full-fledged achievement of the goals of the previous International Decade “Water for Life (2005-2015)” declared also by the initiative of the Republic of Tajikistan. This is the main reason why the water issues remain as one of the urgent items in the international agenda. Though tangible outcomes are achieved in terms of MDGs on drinking water at the global level, however, other goals indirectly related to water, particularly sanitation, healthcare and other goals were not implemented. According to experts the globe population will reach nine billion by 2050, which will accordingly lead to increased water consumption. Besides, as a consequence of the climate change impact already more than 50 percent of the globe’s population will face the lack of water by that time. In addition, the process of desertification, increasing water-born natural disasters, urbanization and other issues, which have negatively been impacting on water resources and their quality, urge the international community to undertake immediate and realistic measures.
It is worthwhile noting that several effective institutions and mechanisms were established for the implementation of the International Decade of Actions “Water for Life (2005-2015)”, which continuously play an important role in addressing global water issues. One of the effective mechanisms for implementation of the previous Decade was the UN-Water established in 2003. The UN-Water, comprised of 31 members and 38 partners, coordinates the water resources management activities of various UN agencies and other regional and international institutions as well as the civil society and the nongovernmental organizations. One has to outline that the United Nations established a very effective and important Group of Friends of Water in 2009 by the initiative of Tajikistan, which unifies over 100 country members of the Organization. This Group plays a proactive role in discussion and consideration of all water related issues in the UN Agenda. The above-mentioned institutions played an important role in promotion of the rational ways and mechanisms of the “Water for Life” Decade of Actions implementation.
In this regard, we expect that these institutions alongside with international, regional, basin-based and national agencies will proactively promote implementation of the Decade of Actions “Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028). Besides, the above-mentioned Resolution determines other mechanisms of integrated water resources management. For this purpose, we expect the midterm and comprehensive assessment of the Decade to be conducted within the UN GA Sessions. For the new Decade implementation in particular we need to foster the activities of all existing national, regional and international agencies dealing with the water issues, strengthen partnership and coordination of actions to achieve the Decade goals. Besides, to ensure successful implementation of this new Decade, we need to establish and strengthen partnerships and improve mutual understanding at all levels, first and foremost on the issues of financing, exchange in the latest technologies, the best practices on the use and protection of water resources and other water related issues. This issue should be of particular importance in the agenda of regional and international events.
It is well known that from the very beginning of the 21st century to present, thanks to three international initiatives of the Founder of Peace and National Unity – Leader of Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan H.E. Mr Emomali Rahmon Tajikistan has had a strong position at all conferences on global water issues. Now, by proposing a new initiative of the President of Tajikistan, i.e. launching the International Decade of Actions “Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028)”, this process will continue and the urgency of water issues at all levels will draw the attention of the world community. It should be outlined that thanks to the water initiatives of the Leader of Nation Emomali Rahmon the definition of water diplomacy obtained practical importance. This phenomenon proved to the world community that the water diplomacy differs from the classical meaning of diplomacy and requires new mechanisms of negotiations, which would promote successful settlement of conflicts on water management and use of water resources, particularly in transboundary river basins.
This process attaches attention to enhancement of cooperation and regulation of relations, establishing the dialogue on understanding and use of transboundary water resources between the countries of the region, and has been applying the global best practices on resolution of conflicts on water resources management. This trend can promote serious and wide-range cooperation in drafting and enforcement of rational and objective agreements between the countries of various transboundary river basins. Having promoted its global initiatives, Tajikistan supports integrated water resources management at the transboundary river basins for the sake of all countries.
Tajikistan, being a pioneer and active initiator of solution to water issues at the international level, will further remain supporter of effective use of water resources.
Everybody is aware that the International Decade of Actions “Water for Life (2005-2015)”, “International Year of Fresh Water (2003)”, International Year of Water Cooperation (2013), and last but not least the International Decade of Actions “Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028)” are the most important input of the Republic of Tajikistan at the international stage. Particularly thanks to this Initiative, the International Community acknowledged the Founder of Peace and National Unity – Leader of Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr Emomali Rahmon as the initiator of international initiatives on water resources management. The international community supports Tajikistan’s global initiatives on water resources, which plays an important role in improving the image of Tajikistan at the international stage. This is the reason, at present the majority of issues on water resources management are discussed and addressed, and international efforts on everybody’s access to safe drinking water at all levels are planned with involvement and active participation of the Republic of Tajikistan.
Also, bearing in mind the role of the Leader of Nation in promoting the Global Water Agenda, the UN Secretary General and the World Bank President invited the President of Tajikistan H.E. Mr Emomali Rahmon to join the High Level Panel on Water.
The Decade ahead will be a new page in achievement of internationally agreed objectives on sustainable development of water resources.
We will have to develop and implement effective measures at the national, regional and international levels to achieve the new Decade’s objectives. Through cooperation with the countries of the world and improvement of partnership with other stakeholders at various levels, Tajikistan hopes that rational approaches and mechanisms for implementation of the Decade in conjunction with other SDGs would be found out.
Dushanbe became the world capital for discussion of water issues in the process of implementation of Tajikistan’s global initiatives. This city brings together not only heads and representatives of state and government, but also representatives from international and regional organizations, women and children institutions, basin and national water agencies, outstanding world scholars and experts on water resources management. The activities undertaken in this context defined the ways and mechanisms of solution to urgent water related issues and strengthened the dialogue between the decision makers and water users at all levels.
On the other hand, arranging these international conferences and symposia (which were planned by the UN GA Resolutions) made it possible not only to present Tajikistan, its abundant national resources, ancient nation and its global culture to the world community, but also introduced the country and the nation, which is engaged in creation, and lives in peace and stability. Alongside with this, the country made thousands of friends, who accept it as the centre for water diplomacy and formulation of rational ideas and initiatives on solution to global water issues.
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Tajikistan