The High-Level International Conference on the implementation of the International Decade for Action «Water for Life», 2005 -2015 is completed.
As you know, this conference was held in accordance with the General Assembly Resolution 69/215 of 14 December 2014 on the International Decade for Action «Water for Life», and further efforts to achieve sustainable development of water resources. The Government of Tajikistan has organized the conference in close cooperation with the United Nations and other development partners.
The main objective of the Conference was a comprehensive discussion of the implementation of the International Decade for Action «Water for Life», as well as of the results achieved within the Decade and the difficulties and gaps in the implementation of the International Decade and bringing the results to a wider international community.
This conference also provided an opportunity to discuss further actions on water issues for the period after 2015, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the adoption of which is expected in September this year in New York.
The conference was attended by representatives from more than 100 countries and 80 international and regional organizations. In total, about 1,900 dignitaries and politicians, scientists and experts from different regions of the world, representing governments, various UN institutions, international and regional organizations, financial institutions, academic institutions, civil society and private sector discussed the most pressing water problems of the rapidly changing world within two days of the conference.
In the framework of the conference there were organized two Plenary Sessions, two High-Level Panels to discuss the results of the Decade and six High-Level Round Tables on further actions related to water issues for the period after 2015, four Pre-conference events with participation of various interested groups, including children and women, nine side events on various aspects of water problems, an International Exhibition «Water for Life», an Exhibition of children’s drawings and an International Photo Exhibition «Voices of the Decade «Water for Life», cultural activities, presentations and other events.
At the Opening Ceremony of the Conference Mr. Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan highlighted the key aspects of the worsening water problems as well as a vision for their solutions in his speech. There are also have been raised the problems associated with the management, use and protection of water resources in Tajikistan. The President also noted the need to strengthen the results achieved within the «Water for Life” Decade and to mobilize efforts to achieve sustainable development of water resources, including water-related Sustainable Development Goals, and proposed to declare a new decade «Water for Sustainable Development».
The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon noted the need to further consolidate the efforts of the international community in solving water problems. He expressed confidence that the Dushanbe conference will be another positive step in this direction. The Prime Ministers of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Gabon, the Deputy Prime Ministers of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan also made speeches to the participants of the conference.
The statements by the distinguished President and UN Secretary-General and other senior officials have set a particular tone in the discussions held in the conference.
The head of about 50 official delegations made statements and presentations at the plenary sessions of the conference.
The main discussions took place in the framework of two High-Level Panels on the results of the International Decade for Action «Water for Life» in terms of regional perspectives, progress and achievements, lessons learned and best practices, and six High-Level Round Tables devoted to further actions after 2015 on the following themes:
1. Water and Sanitation;
2. Water-Energy-Food-Environment Nexus;
3. Global challenges from a water perspective;
4. Financing and Governance;
5. Water Cooperation as Catalyst to Achieve Water Related Goals;
6. Strengthening an Integrated Approach Towards Water Related SDGs
More than 70 reports of the international and regional experts, which reflected almost all aspects of water problems were presented to the participants of the conference.
The discussions and debates around these reports and presentations covered all regions of the world at all levels.
Four Pre-conference events were organized within the conference — Children Water Forum, Women Water Forum, Water Forum of mountainous countries and Water Forum of the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. In addition, nine side events organized by various international organizations attracted a special interest of participants. These events have created an additional platform for a broader discussion of the various issues related to water, and priority topics.
An important event of the conference was the International Exhibition «Water for Life», where 25 international, regional and national organizations exhibited their works. This event showed the presence of the huge potential that needs to be wider used to address critical water issues. The exhibition of drawings drawn by children of Tajikistan was very impressive. This is a water world through the eyes of children. It is amazing how our children feel the depth of water problems and their drawings admonishes us -the adults to take more consolidated efforts to address these problems. The International Photo Exhibition «Voices of the Decade «Water for Life» showed the worsening water problems throughout the world, and particularly in the countries of the African continent.
The conference was widely covered by you — the distinguished representatives of the media. Thanks to your efforts, millions of people, both in Tajikistan and abroad, have been able to observe the work of this important international event, obtain the necessary information, be aware of ongoing developments in the water world, and, to some extent, be part of it.
The Dushanbe Declaration has become an outcome of the conference, reflecting the key points of the discussions and a number of important conclusions and recommendations. In particular, the document stresses the importance of the decade and progress achieved, including the role of the Decade in promoting efforts to achieve water related goals, and calls all stakeholders at all levels for more coordinated actions for the 2015 Development Agenda. In this regard, the document addresses various aspects of management, use and protection of water resources in the context of drinking water and sanitation, food, energy, environmental sustainability and, in general, sustainable development.
The Dushanbe Declaration also calls on members-states and other stakeholders to promote green development, take measures to achieve resilience to the impacts of global challenges, increase funding and improve management, strengthen water cooperation, particularly across borders, as well as take other concrete steps to address the growing water problems.
The Conference also supported the new initiative of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan on the announcement of a new International Decade «Water for Sustainable Development», aimed at strengthening the results achieved in the framework of the Decade «Water for Life» and to create a mechanism to facilitate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals related to water.
The Government of Tajikistan will submit the Dushanbe Declaration to the UN General Assembly at its 70th session.
Summing up the work of the conference, I can say that it was successful, largely due to the collaborative and coordinated efforts of all participants and significant contribution of a noble objective of the International Decade for Action «Water for life».