International High-Level Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028 started in Dushanbe

On the initiative of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and in cooperation with the United Nations and other partnersHigh Level International Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028”, aimed at promoting action and policy dialogue on water for sustainable development, started its work on June 20 2018,in “Kokhi Somon”  State Complex, in Dushanbe.

More than1,500 guests from 120 countries, including Heads of State / Government, high-ranking representatives from various ministries are taking part in the event. Leaders and representatives of international and regional organizations such as the UN, OSCE, EU, WB, CSTO, SCO, CIS, IFAS, etc., international financial institutions and development partners, river basin organizations, the civil society and the scientific and technological community, research institutes are participating in the conference/
More than 300 representatives of local and foreign media were accredited to cover the event.

The Founder of Peace and National unity – the Leader of the Nation, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr. Emomali Rahmon opened the conference with his statement.

The opening ceremony was also addressed by the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussein, the Head of the Executive Authority of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah, United Nations Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Zhenmin Liu, Vice President of the World Bank for Europe and Central Asia Cyril Muller, the Chairman of the ECOSOC Maria Chataradova, the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Coordinator of the movement for increased attention to nutrition issues Gerda Verburg, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the President s “UN – Water” mechanism Gilbert Houngbo.

conference will continue its work in plenary sessions and Panels dedicated to various topics:

Deputy Prime Ministers of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and other countries will also deliver statements in the Conference. Ministers from 48 countries, heads of international and regional organizations, international NGOs, research and analytical organizations  will participate and make speeches in plenary session“Mobilizing Action for Sustainable Water Development” and following Panels;

Action Panel 1.1: Drinking Water and Sanitation;

Action Panel 1.2: Integrated Water Resource Management, Water Efficiency and Productivity;

Action Panel 1.3: Water Quality and Ecosystems;

Action Panel 2.1: Capacity Building including improving Knowledge and Education;

Action Panel 2.2: Water-related Communication, Advocacy and Networking;

Action Panel 2.3: Water-related Partnerships for Action;

Action Panel 3.1: Water, Food, Energy and Environment Nexus;

Action Panel 3.2: Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction;

Action Panel 3.3: Water Sustainability in Cities and Human Settlements;

Action Panel 4.1: Financing, Investment and Resilient Infrastructure;

Action Panel 4.2: Transboundary Cooperation and Water Diplomacy;

Action Panel 4.3: Water for Vulnerable People, including Refugees and Migrants;

It is also worth noting that before the conference, various pre-conference events were held:

1: Children’s Water Forum

2: Women Water Forum: Bridging Voices to Actions

3: Water and Science for Sustainable Future

4: Water and Climate Dialogue

Objectives

The main objectives of the Conference are to discuss the ways in which the Member States, the United Nations and its entities, other international and regional organizations, international financial institutions, the private sector, as well as civil society and other stakeholders, can contribute to the Decade in order to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Conference is intended to continue and enrich discussions of the High Level Launch Event of the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028, held on 22 March 2018 in New York.

The Conference also provides a timely and necessary platform for elaborating recommendations in the run up of the next session of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development where, among other issues, the SDG 6 will be discussed. It aims at building on the outcomes of Water for Life Decade (2005-2015), the High Level Panel on Water, the 8th World Water Forum and other major water events, as well as at contributing to their implementation. It also gives an opportunity to discuss the role of Dushanbe Conferences in the implementation of the Water for Sustainable Development Decade.

The Conference will deepen the understanding of the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028, promote integrated water resources management and galvanize action in support of the implementation of the water-related SDGs.

Specifically, the Conference aims to:

– Mobilize efforts of governments, the United Nations, international organizations, civil society organizations, as well as other parties at all levels for the implementation of the Action Plan of the Decade to achieve internationally agreed water-related goals, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;

– Increase attention to the water-related SDGs and targets at all levels, as well as to the interlinkages between different goals and targets;
– Strengthen cooperation and partnership at all levels to achieve water-related SDGs;

– Better understand how water contributes to achieve sustainability and how the lack of sustainability impacts water resources;

– Provide recommendations on the way forward with the implementation of the Water for Sustainable Development Decade and particularly the waterrelated Sustainable Development Goals;

– Discuss the role of the Dushanbe Conferences for the implementation of the Water for Sustainable Development Decade;

– Contribute to the establishment of a framework to regularly monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Water for Sustainable Development Decade, including a mapping of existing partnerships.

Outputs

The Dushanbe Conference is expected to produce three outcome documents, which will be produced by the Conference Secretariat with the support of the International Steering Committee and in consultation with delegations:

1. A declaration of the participants containing the main recommendations that emerged from the Conference for the implementation of the Water for Sustainable Development Decade and other relevant issues;

2. A call for action listing the initiatives and partnerships that the participants proposed during the Conference for the implementation of the Decade and other relevant issues.

3. A Chair’s Summary containing the key messages from the main sessions of the Conference.

Background

Today, the lack of access to a safe drinking water source, basic sanitation and sound hygiene alongside with water scarcity and water pollution constitute one of the major challenges for the international community, in particular for the developing countries. Increasing water-related disasters, climate change, urbanization, population growth, desertification, and drought with the lack of capacity to ensure Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) further exacerbate this situation. To address these interlinked challenges, on 21 December 2016 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Resolution 71/222 to declare the period 2018- 2028 as an International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the following important resolutions initiated by the Republic of Tajikistan:

— The proclamation of 2003 the International Year of Fresh Water (UN General Assembly Resolution of December 20, 2000, 55/196, 55th session);

In September 2000, at the United Nations Millennium Summit, the world leaders committed themselves to halve the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015; moreover, at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002, a goal was set to halve the proportion of people without access to adequate sanitation by the year of 2015.

The International Year of Fresh Water had to mobilize the world to achieve these goals by raising awareness on the problem, creating new ideas and strategies to address it. In this regard, the United Nations planned to conduct a number of activities, the central one was the International Fresh Water Forum (29 August – 1 September 2003, Dushanbe).

— The proclamation of 2005-2015 the International Decade for Action “Water for Life” (UN General Assembly Resolution of December 23, 2003, 58/217, 58th session);

The main goal of the Decade was to promote efforts to fulfill international commitments made on water and water-related issues by the year 2015.

These commitments also included the development goals contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, particularly, to halve the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

Another important goal of the Decade was to develop, by 2015, plans for integrated water resource management and water-use efficiency in rendering assistance to the developing countries.

— The proclamation of 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation (UN General Assembly Resolution of December 20, 2010, 65/154, 65th session)

Taking into account the growing water problems and acknowledging the partnership as a key factor in the solutions of the problems, on 20 December 2010 the UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution 65/154 by consensus initiated by the Republic of Tajikistan. According to the resolution, the year 2013 was declared as the International Year of Water Cooperation.

Cooperation in the field of water resources plays a crucial role in ensuring security, poverty alleviation, achieving social justice and gender equality. Water cooperation is economically profitable and a determining factor for the conservation of water resources and environmental protection.

As an initiator of the “water” resolutions of the UN General Assembly, the Republic of Tajikistan actively promotes the water related issues on the global agenda.
The Global level actions of the country on water are characterized by the desire to attract more attention of the world community to address water issues and improve water cooperation.

— The proclamation of 2018-2028 the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development” (UN General Assembly Resolution of December 21, 2016, 71/222, 71st session)