New York

28 September 2013

Deputy Secretary-General's opening remarks at High-Level Meeting on Central Asia [as prepared for delivery]

I am honoured to chair this meeting.

I thank the countries of Central Asia for their cooperation with, and confidence in, the United Nations.

Only by taking a collaborative approach to the joint challenges of security, development and human rights, can we achieve a sustainable, peaceful future.

This year’s General Debate is highlighting some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

They include the threat of terrorism and extremism, poverty and inequality, climate change and strains on water and other resources – all of which are of special concern to the countries of Central Asia.

The Millennium Development Goals have mobilized global action, and Central Asia has recorded considerable progress in many areas.

The post-2015 sustainable development agenda will build on this platform.

Poverty eradication must be our priority, and sustainable development our guide.  

Our new agenda must be universal and focus on inclusion.

Human rights, the rule of law, and transparent and accountable institutions will be essential.

We must reach those affected by violence and conflict.

We must listen to those on the margins of society.

And we must spread the benefits of economic growth.

All must have access to the opportunities of education, sanitation, health care and decent jobs.

Achieving sustainable development will entail addressing climate change.

Next year the Secretary-General is convening a climate summit to generate action and add momentum to achieving a global, legal climate agreement by 2015.

I encourage you all to attend this most important meeting.

The Secretary-General is also promoting sustainable energy for all -- the thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and environmental stewardship.

Another United Nations priority is water and sanitation.

Earlier this month, I was in Stockholm for World Water Week.

I spoke about the urgent need for action to secure access to adequate sanitation for all.

I also addressed the issue of sharing increasingly scarce water resources equitably among sectors and between countries.

We must cooperate on water to avoid conflict, especially in the face of climate change.

As part of our preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention activities, the United Nations stands ready to help “hydro diplomacy” reach mutually acceptable solutions.  We continue to stand behind the World Bank’s efforts in this area. 

The UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia is an important part of this picture.

The Centre has made valuable contributions towards finding solutions to Central Asia’s challenges, in particular issues related to the sharing of water and energy resources as well as counter-terrorism.

Central Asia is understandably apprehensive about the possible impact of the security and civilian transitions in Afghanistan that are expected to be completed next year.

I want to assure you that the UN will continue to support an environment conducive to peace in Afghanistan, including through technical assistance for next year’s elections.

We will also continue collaborative efforts to tackle the illicit economy and counter the cross-border trade in narcotics and precursors to improve security in Afghanistan and throughout the region.

UNAMA and the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia will also continue to promote regional cooperation on trade, transport, energy and infrastructure.

I thank the Governments of Central Asia for their support across a wide spectrum of opportunities and threats. 

The Secretary-General and I look forward to deepening our partnership in the period ahead.

I now give the floor to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Asia and Head of the UN Regional Centre, Mr. Miroslav Jenca.