Speech by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Leader of the Nation His Excellency Emomali Rahmon
at the High-Level Panel Meeting on Water and Climate
02.11.2021, Dushanbe city
Distinguished members of the High-Level Panel,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank the World Meteorological Organization for organizing today's meeting.
As you know, water and climate are inextricably linked, as climate change affects our lives and our economy mainly through water resources.
Our glaciers are melting rapidly. To date, more than 1,000 of Tajikistan's 14,000 glaciers have completely melted.
Over the past few decades, the total volume of glaciers in our country, which make up more than 60% of the water resources of the Central Asian region, has decreased by almost a third.
At the first meeting of the High-Level Panel, I gave examples of glacier melting in Tajikistan and other parts of the world.
Given the serious consequences of continuing this process, we previously proposed proclaiming 2025 as the International Year for Glaciers Preservation and setting a date for World Glaciers Day. I have also previously called for the creation of the International Fund for Glaciers Preservation.
The Republic of Tajikistan is actively promoting these initiatives at different levels, and we do strongly believe that the members of the Water and Climate Coalition will also give their support.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 2018, we together laid a solid foundation for the advancement of the Dushanbe Water Process in the framework of the International Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018 – 2028”.
Within the framework of this event, participants actively deliberated on various aspects of water agenda on the way towards sustainable development.
Next year, under Dushanbe Water Process, we intend to host the International Conference on Water Decade in cooperation with the UN and other partner countries.
This time, the Conference will review the issues of the link between water resources and climate.
The Dushanbe Conference will be pivotal in the preparatory process for the United Nations Conference on the Mid-Term Review of the Implementation of the Water Decade in 2023 in New York, co-chaired by Tajikistan and the Netherlands.
Tajikistan will make every effort to ensure that the link between water and climate is also clearly expressed in the agenda of the UN Conference.
In recent decades, we have more often seen a significant change in the climate cycle in our region.
Our winters have become colder and longer, and our summers have become hotter and drier.
In this regard, the region is experiencing a significant increase in the demand for electricity and water resources.
In addition, the hydrological cycle is changing, which leads to changes in river flow in the region, both in volume and in time.
At the same time, the existing capacities in the region, both in terms of generating electricity and regulating water resources are not able to address the growing needs of the population and the economy.
For example, last summer, Tajikistan was forced to temporarily suspend electricity export to neighboring countries.
At the same time, countries in the region experienced water shortages at the height of the irrigation season.
The early, cold and long winter of that year brought us new challenges.
The region has faced a severe drought that year, which has caused massive livestock deaths and crop losses in some countries in the region.
That is why, under our chairmanship in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, we give an utmost attention to the agenda of the climate change impact.
In this context, we intend to continue our efforts to draw the attention of the countries of the region and the international community to more actions and take urgent measures to address climate change and eliminate its impact.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are convinced, that in today's conditions, it is the nexus approach that can lay a solid ground to addressing daily challenges, develop “green economy” and facilitate sustainable development.
We reaffirm our commitment to this process and make added efforts to ensure that an integrated approach to addressing water and climate challenges is prioritized.
I am confident that our High-Level Panel will make a worthy contribution to this process for the further consolidation of the efforts of the international community and particularly of political leaders, for more actions and taking adequate measures.
I wish you every success and good luck along the way!
Thank you for your attention!