International initiative of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan for the protection of glaciers

08.12.2021 14:53

saforat-photo.jpgIn recent years, the negative impact of climate change on environment has noticeably increased and this process is irreversible. The climate of our planet is changing rapidly and this trend is dangerous – the amount of precipitation and the potential of natural hydrometeorological hazards is growing. Many sectors of the economy, natural ecosystems and public health are becoming more vulnerable to adverse weather patterns and the long-term unsustainable trends of climate change.
To promote climate change adaptation and disaster risk management as well as their consequences on sustainable development, Tajikistan joined the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1997 and signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2008. Tajikistan submitted its first national report on climate change in 2002, subsequent reports in 2008, 2014 and 2015, which have contributed to the implementation of the Convention at the national level. Analysis of these reports strengthens the existing priorities of the Republic of Tajikistan for effective development in the field of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and also determines the country's contribution to climate change mitigation.
At the same time, within the framework of the Paris Agreement, Tajikistan has voluntarily committed not to exceed its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80-90 percent of the 1990s level and in recently developed and submitted its updated Nationally Determined Contribution for greenhouse gas emissions to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In order to formulate and implement Tajikistan’s policy for adaptation to climate change, a National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change for the period up to 2030 was adopted in 2019. The adoption of this important document proceeded  from the speech of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Leader of the Nation, Emomali Rahmon, at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-22) in Paris and at the plenary meeting of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, where he noted that, though the share of the Republic of Tajikistan of emissions of greenhouse gases is on a global scale small, however, Tajikistan is one of the most climatic vulnerable countries of the world to climate change impacts. This is primarily because 93% of its territory consists of mountains and such a natural phenomenon as melting of glaciers, the resulting change in the flow of large rivers and their impact on the growth of agricultural production are the chief negative impacts of climate change in the region.
In this regard, the Strategy identifies four key sectors that are both climate-sensitive and development priorities. They are energy, water resources, transport and agriculture. Based on the above, the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy also aims to support economic growth and accelerate the modernization of all sectors of the economy.
Today, Tajikistan attaches great importance to deepening international cooperation to improve the environmental situation, both in the country and in the CIS regions, and, taking into account the factors influencing climate change, Tajikistan currently generates 98% of its electricity from hydropower plants and ranks sixth in the world in terms of the percentage of generation and use of green energy. With the construction of new hydropower facilities, in particular the Rogun hydropower plant with the capacity of 3,600 megawatts, our country will elevate its ranking by two points. At the same time, further development of the hydropower potential of Tajikistan may contribute to a substantial reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and make a worthy contribution to providing the countries of the region with ecologically clean electricity, which is one of the foundations of the development of the «green economy».


With the construction of new hydropower facilities, in particular the Rogun hydropower plant with the capacity of 3,600 megawatts, our country will elevate its ranking by two points[1].
The importance of continuing to develop the sources of renewable energy - hydropower and solar energy - was also stressed by the President of Tajikistan at the United Nations General Assembly debate on October 27, 2021. In the opinion of the Head of Tajik State, the integrated use of these two types of energy will not only increase the production of clean renewable energy, but also contribute to the rational use of the country's water resources:
“Taking into account the efforts of the international community to achieve net zero emissions, we intend to double our clean energy generation capacity by 2050”[2].
Over the years of its independence, Tajikistan, pursuing an “open door” foreign policy, has repeatedly called on the international community for close cooperation to preserve the life of present and future generations. Speaking at high-level international platforms, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan has repeatedly called on the world community to strengthen cooperation on climate change, the consequences of which not only negatively affect the ecosystem and hydrometeorological conditions of our planet, but also cause significant damage to the economies of countries and undermine the efforts to achieve sustainable development. Special attention was paid to the issue of climate change in the Annual Address of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Leader of the Nation, Mr. Emomali Rahmon to Majlisi Oli on January 26, 2021. In particular, it said: “Thanks to the coherent implementation of its foreign policy, Tajikistan has been able to make a meaningful input in addressing various global issues. In this context, Tajikistan is internationally acknowledged as a lead country in addressing a wide range of security, water, environment and climate change issues.”[3]
It is well known that the Republic of Tajikistan is rich in water resources - about 60% of the water resources of Central Asia and, the main source of these waters are the glacial resources of the region. And if in the twentieth century there were more than 14000 glaciers in Tajikistan, the area of which was equal to 8% of the total territory of the country, then, due to the effect of climate change, these glaciers began to melt intensively. Unfortunately, today more than one thousand glaciers of Tajikistan have completely melted. The volume of the mass of the country's glaciers has reduced by almost a third over a relatively short period.
It should be noted that the negative trend of the melting of glaciers leads to the expansion of the volume of water and rise in the sea level. And this, can threaten the life and well-being of hundreds of millions of people on Earth, especially on small islands and coastal areas.  Rising water levels in the seas and oceans, melting glaciers in various parts of the world, the intensity of abnormal weather events such as hurricanes, floods, droughts and storms all threaten the viability of our planet, and its preservation is entirely dependent on the measures taken by humanity to protect the environment.
At the International Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen in 2009, the Leader of Tajikistan, drawing the attention of the world community to the accelerated melting of glaciers in various parts of our land, including the large Fedchenko glacier in Tajikistan, proposed the creation of a special International Fund for Glaciers Preservation. The topic of protection of glaciers is of particular importance for the Republic of Tajikistan, because glaciers are the main source of clean water and their rapid melting, along with an increase in water consumption associated with population growth and economic development will have negative consequences.


At the first online meeting of the High-Level Panel on Water and Climate in March 2021, the Head of the Tajik State once again addressed the international community and took the initiative to declare 2025 as the International Year for the Preservation of Glaciers, and to determine the date of the ‘World Glacier Protection Day’. The President of Tajikistan resumed his proposal in October this year, at the UN High-level debates “Implementation of Climate Actions” and also UNESCO General Conference on Climate Change. The importance of defining a World Glacier Protection Day was emphasized, within the framework of which the world could mobilize efforts and resources for practical steps to preserve glaciers - the main source of fresh water.
         Tajikistan has identified the issue of the impact of climate change as one of the most important priorities within its chairmanship in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and will make every effort to attract the attention of the governments of the countries of the region and the world community to more active actions and urgent measures to combat this problem.
In particular, Tajikistan calls on the world community to unite efforts on the margins of the platform of the International Decade of Action "Water for Sustainable Development" for the period up to 2028 and comprehensively address water issues, energy and food security. At the same time, the International Conference on the Mid-term Review of this Decade, which will be organized by the UN in two years, can play a key role in integrating water and climate problems, contribute to their comprehensive solution to achieve sustainable development.

[1] «Вклад Таджикистана в глобальное потепление минимален». Лидер нации Эмомали Рахмон выступил на дискуссии в Генассамблеи ООН Душанбе, 27.10.2021 /НИАТ «Ховар»/. 





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