Post-2015 agenda must include goal on water resources, Tajik Premier tells UN

Oqil Oqilov, Prime Minister of Tajikistan. UN Photo/Sarah Fretwell

25 September 2013 – As world leaders this week discuss anti-poverty goals and a new sustainable development agenda at United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Prime Minister of Tajikistan today highlighted the importance of water resources and water cooperation.

In his speech to the 68th General Assembly high-level debate, Prime Minister Oqil Oqilov said that “water is at the core of sustainable development as it is closely linked to number of key global challenges.”

Currently, some 770 million people worldwide lack access to an improved water source and 2.5 billion lack access to basic sanitation, Mr. Oqilov recalled.

As part of its efforts to tackle these issues, the UN has declared 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation, recognizing that cooperation is essential to strike a balance between the different needs and priorities and share the precious resource equitably, using water as an instrument of peace.

The Tajik capital of Dushanbe hosted last month a high-level international conference on water cooperation. At that time, the Government of Tajikistan put forward an initiative to develop a post-2015 global water vision which could serve as “the road map” for the implementation of a water-related sustainable development goal.

Such a goal would have to take into consideration universal access to drinking water, integrated water resource management, efficient use of water, adequate financing and investment in water-economy facilities and infrastructure, and mutually-accepted mechanisms on gathering and disseminating water-related information and date.

In his statement today, Mr. Oqilov also noted the importance of reliance and sustainable access to energy for Tajikistan, particularly hydropower.

Turning to the wider Central Asian region, the Prime Minister reiterated Tajikistan’s support for efforts taken by the Government of Afghanistan and the international community to address the challenges of the transition period, reconciliation and post-conflict rehabilitation in the country.

“Socio-economic development is the key to achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan,” he stressed to the scores of heads of State and Government and other high-level officials in attendance to present their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance.

Mr. Oqilov also announced in his speech that Tajikistan has decided to try for a seat on the UN Human Rights Committee for the period of 2015-2017. The General Debate concludes on 1 October.

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