It is a pleasure to greet this important conference.
The disappearance of the Aral Sea is one of the greatest ecological catastrophes of our lifetime.
I recall the shock I experienced when I visited in 2017.
The effects of the crisis have been disastrous for the environment, the fishing industry, agriculture, and human health.
Climate change is adding further pressure.
Transboundary cooperation is critical.
So are new technologies, new investments and comprehensive strategies.
I welcome the initiative of the Government of Uzbekistan to convene this Conference.
Progress is possible, as we can see in the region.
Along with contributions of the UN Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea Region, we can galvanize action to reduce vulnerability and advance sustainable development.
Please accept my best wishes for a successful gathering.