by the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan Sirodjidin Aslov at the Opening ceremony of the side event “Taking Stock of the International Year of Water Cooperation and Advancing the Global Water Agenda Beyond 2015”
(Tuesday, March 11, 2014, UN Headquarters, New York)
Distinguished Ms. Bokova, Director General of UNESCO,
Distinguished Mr. Seth, Director of Division for Sustainable Development, UNDESA,
Distinguished Permanent Representatives to the United Nations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. As it has been noted, the year 2013 was held as the International Year of Water Cooperation. During the Year, in addition to the events held in accordance with the UN GA resolution 67/204, a series of international, regional and national events were organized in support of the International Year of Water Cooperation. Besides, the International Year of Water Cooperation coincided with the first year of the intergovernmental negotiations on the implementation of the decisions adopted by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development “Rio+20”, which currently is entering a new phase. The deliberations of the Open Working Group on sustainable development goals encourages everyone to actively participate in the discussion of the ways, objectives and means for achieving sustainable development. It is encouraging that similarly to the “Rio+20” outcome document, achievement of sustainable management of water resources was in the focus of the deliberations of the Open Working Group.
2. Today we have gathered here not only to take stock of the achievements made during the International Year of Water Cooperation but also to discuss the ways of their reinforcing and enhancing. In this regard, I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to share a few thoughts with you.
3. I would like to start by emphasizing that the International Year of Water Cooperation indeed gave fresh impetus to increasing the awareness of water-related challenges, to expanding knowledge in this field, to the search for new and extra ways of addressing issues of water use and water supply. Alongside with this, the International Year of Water Cooperation provided a new venue for facilitating dialogue and interaction in the search for optimal, mutually advantageous, fair and effective ways of use and conservation of water resources. The International Year of Water Cooperation also contributed to facilitating and enhancing the awareness of nexus between water and other elements of sustainable development. It is known that this year the World Water Day, March 22, will be dedicated to water-energy nexus. Recently, the distinguished President of the UN General Assembly has held thematic debates, the participants of which actively discussed water-energy nexus. In late 2013, in order to efficiently pursue and coordinate water-and-energy policy, the Government of Tajikistan, the country where 98 percent of energy are generated by hydro-power stations, made a decision to merge the Ministry of Energy (Engineering) and Ministry of Water Resources.
4. In my view, another important outcome of the International Year is the awareness that water resources management should be streamlined and expanded based on the principle of co-development. It is hard to imagine that today any individual or society can develop singlehandedly. Our opinion is that this particular principle of co-development will be instrumental for eradicating poverty and inequity, for establishing broad framework for harmonizing interests in water issues on local, national, regional and global levels.
5. Ever-increasing understanding that decisions on water resources must be made on the basis of scientific data can be regarded as an equally important outcome of the Year. Effective mechanisms of scientific exchange, joint observations and research can contribute to enhancing of water cooperation in the interests of deliberate decisions. Such an interaction is especially relevant today when adverse impact of climate change on hydrological cycle and water resources is obvious in many regions of the world.
6. In addition, the International Year of Water Cooperation, to a certain extent, served to the renewal of efforts at the implementation of the International Decade of Action “Water for Life”, 2005-2015, proclaimed by the UNGA resolution 58/217. The Decade aimed at contributing to the implementation of the development goals on water and sanitation is coming to the end. Soon, on March 22, 2015 we will have to assess not only the progress achieved during the implementation of the Decade but also to discuss the problems and shortcomings, by which we were challenged during the Decade. In this context, it will be instrumental to take into account the lessons learned during the Decade and use them while developing goals and objectives of sustainable development of water resources. In this regard, I would like to propose to hold on March 22, 2015 a High-level event for taking stock of the implementation the International Decade of Action “Water for Life”, 2005-2015.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
7. In conclusion, I would like to extend my appreciation to the Permanent Missions of the Steering Committee of the Water Friends Group and to the Secretariat of the UN-Water for the organization of today’s Side event. My special appreciation goes to the esteemed speakers and moderators of the Opening ceremony and two Round Tables.
Thank you for attention.