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PRESIDENT of the 64th Session
United Nations General Assembly

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At the Closing of the High-Level Interactive Dialogue on Water - The International Decade for Action, " Water for Life", 2005-2015

New York, 22 March 2010

As we conclude this High Level Interactive Dialogue on Water, I would like to thank the entire membership and all other stakeholders for their strong and active participation in the discussions. My special appreciation goes to the panelists, who with their experience and expertise, have contributed immensely to the success of today’s event. I would also like to thank our colleagues from Nairobi for sharing important perspectives with us this morning. Let me say that all the interventions will be reflected in a detailed Chairman’s summary which will be issued in the next few days. My special thanks to all those countries and major groups that have submitted their statements and presentations. All of these important inputs, along with the summary, will be posted on the website of this event.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, our discussions today reaffirmed the following points:

1.      Water is central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Access to water for drinking and productive activities, as well as access to sanitation services, is a prerequisite for lifting people out of poverty, for promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality and increasing maternal health. Statistics show that much more needs to be done to meet the goals and to fulfill our promises to the people of the world.

2.      Managing water resources sustainably is vital to achieve economic growth and safeguard ecosystems.

3.      Water-related climate change impacts are already evident as more severe and frequent droughts and floods conditions are experienced. Improving the water resource management systems will help countries to adapt to the challenges of climate change. Managing increased variability of water resources requires additional natural and constructed water storage.

4.      History shows that cooperation, not conflict, is the most common response to transboundary water management issues. Past experiences confirm that it is possible for parties with divergent interests to use a common resource in a cooperative spirit.

5.      The global challenge that we are facing must be addressed through global responsibility – from local to national, regional and international levels. We need to engage Governments, the private sector, NGOs and international organizations and all stakeholders to strengthen existing partnerships and create new partnerships where needed.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, we need concerted and sustained action for full and timely implementation of the internationally agreed water related goals. I strongly believe that this High Level Dialogue will put the water issue back on top of our international agenda and that the General Assembly will lead our collective efforts by continuing to provide the political momentum to this endeavour.      

A detailed summary of today’s High Level Dialogue will form an important input for the High Level International Conference in Dushanbe in June and the MDG Review Summit in September, as well as other processes.

Let me conclude by again expressing our thanks to all Member States, the Deputy Secretary General, the Prime Minister of Tajikistan, as well as the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, through UN-Water, the Friends of the United Nations, Civil Society and Private Sector, among other stakeholders, for their support and active contribution. My appreciation also to the conference management services and the interpreters who have worked tirelessly for the success of this meeting.

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