conducted by Committee for Environmental Protection under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, in coordination with Executive Committee of International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, with support from UNDP/GEF project “Enabling activities for preparation of First Biennial Update Report and Fourth National Communication under UNFCCC” 

 

Date/time: 31 March, at 8.30 a.m.

Venue: National Library

Remarks by Dr. (Ms.) Pratibha Mehta,

UNDP Resident Representative

 

Mr.Abdulkodir Mavlodod, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Environmental Protection,

Mr. Sulton Rahimzoda, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (EC IFAS)  

Mr. Farhod Rakhimi, President of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan

 

Distinguished Participants,

Let me begin by expressing deep appreciation to the Government of Tajikistan, in particular Committee for Environmental Protection, Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (EC IFAS), National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, for convening today’s Conference. UNDP is very pleased to support this important discussion on water resources in the Aral Sea basin.

Water is the source of life. But globally it is under threat. Demand for water is increasing but at the same time there is unprecedented levels of erosion, degradation and depletion of water resources due to climate change, increased demographic pressure and pollution.

Water is already a source of conflict within and between countries. For example, taking into account number of watercourses shared by two or more countries, and the fact that about 60 per cent of all aquifers that are transboundary, risks of water disputes, provoking conflict over shared basins, need to be urgently addressed to prevent crises.

The indispensable value of water for sustainable and inclusive development led to the adoption of a specific SDG6 in Agenda 2030,  and we know that without water none of the other SDGs, on health, food security, resilience to climate change or fight to overcome COVID-19 pandemic can be achieved. In other words, water is fundamental for peace and security, Human Rights and development provides the framework for action.

The President of the Republic of Tajikistan has accorded very high priority to water and has also launched many International Water Initiatives. His initiative “International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”” was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly for the period between 2018 and 2028 and Tajikistan has been hosting high level international water conferences in Dushanbe. Tajikistan has prioritized SDG6, and works successfully towards increasing the proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services.

At the same time, Tajikistan is one of the most climate-vulnerable country in the Europe and CIS region and least able to adapt[1]. This is due to the country’s high dependence on agriculture, hence precipitation and water resources. Climate change is expected to add up to current water stress experienced in the agricultural sector of the country; and will exacerbate disproportionate burden on the poorest and the most vulnerable. In fact, climate change presents the single biggest threat to development, and, in the long run, to the existence of humanity. There is no country in the world to avoid climate change impacts, as climate change impacts are affecting water availability and are exacerbating the damages floods and drought cause worldwide.

UNDP has been proud partner of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, in tackling both water and climate change related challenges. In particular, UNDP has been engaged to support implementation of Tajikistan’s Water Sector Reform agenda, focusing on coordination issues in the drinking water related policy development, to ensure systematic and coordinated water governance, institutional strengthening and sustainability. 

Climate change adaptation actions require massive investments into climate change adaptation efforts. UNDP (with generous support of many partners such as Adaptation Fund, Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility, Russian Federation, and UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office), implements several projects and initiatives, to support development of climate policies in Tajikistan, but also to address immediate challenges and longer-term risks posed by climate-induced hazards, and foster climate change adaptation and resilience, focusing on the most vulnerable population in the vulnerable areas and sectors of the country. In our interventions, we utilize the nexus approach between water, land and climate, promoting integrated and innovative sustainable natural resource management options.

It is important to highlight that the very recent High-Level Panel on Water and Climate co-chaired by the President of Tajikistan and President of Hungary (on 3 March 2021) also underscored the importance of integrating the water and climate agendas, ensuring effective climate action for adaptation and resilience and maximizing synergies to achieve SDG 6 (Water and Sanitation) and SDG 13 (Climate Change).

We are convinced that in the current context it is the nexus approach that can lay a strong foundation for addressing many issues and developing green and sustainable economy. That is why, today’s discussion and comprehensive review of water, environment and climate issues is particularly relevant and important, and I’m looking forward to it.

{As part of our joint project with the Agency for Hydrometeorology of the Committee for Environmental Protection, funded by Global Environment Facility, on preparation of the 4th National Communication to UNFCCC, national experts conducted a research on the impacts of climate change on hydrology and glaciation of Zeravshan, Vakhsh and Pyanj rivers, that will be presented today}.

In conclusion, I take this opportunity to express sincere appreciation to the Committee on Environmental Protection, Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (EC IFAS), and National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, for continuous collaboration in addressing sustainable development challenges, positively impacting peoples’ lives, and bringing the country closer to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Thank you very much.

 

 

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