An article by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan, Sirojiddin MUHRIDDIN, dedicated to the global initiatives of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Emomali Rahmon on glaciers preservation. Newspaper “Jumhuriyat”.
Thanks to the wise and forward – looking policy of the Founder of Peace and National Unity – Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Emomali Rahmon, Tajikistan is acknowledged as proactive, lead and influential country in promoting the global agenda related to water and climate issues. The adoption of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution declaring 2025 as International Year of Glaciers Preservation and March 21 as World Glaciers Day based on Tajikistan’s proposal once again testify to the above-mentioned words.
Glaciers are of significant importance as the main source of water to supply the planet’s population with this natural asset, which is a source of life. In this regard, the accelerated melting of glaciers is one of the most alarming global issues entailing negative consequences. Therefore, the world community appreciated in a timely fashion the initiatives of my Head of State to preserve glaciers and eliminate water shortages, and thereby warned the humanity about serious changes in nature. It was this another initiative of the Tajik Leader – the world-class politician, H.E. Emomali Rahmon to prevent the threat of melting glaciers that prompted the countries of the world to take urgent and important measures.
It should be recalled that as early as in 2009, President of Tajikistan proposed to establish an International Fund for Preservation of Glaciers at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Copenhagen – capital of Denmark as well as at sessions of the General Assembly, and other important regional and international events. To this end, relevant cooperation was established with all partners to promote this initiative.
Accordingly, the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on declaration of 2025 as the International Year of Glaciers’ Preservation adopted on December 14, 2022 at the initiative of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan is very important and a matter of pride for every compatriot of us. Through this Resolution, the United Nations declared both the International Year for Glaciers’ Preservation and World Day of Glaciers, which is one of the most important achievements of Tajikistan’s foreign policy. In addition, in 2025, Dushanbe is scheduled to host a high-level international conference on the preservation of glaciers, which testifies the special position and leadership of Tajikistan in the field of water and climate.
The resolution invites Governments, International organizations and Donors to contribute to the Glaciers Preservation Trust Fund to be coordinated by the UN Secretary General in partnership with relevant agencies of the United Nations system. The main goal of the fund is to encourage the support of countries for a prompt response to the accelerated melting of glaciers and its consequences.
President of the Republic of Tajikistan in his Address to Parliament of Tajikistan (December 23, 2022) marked the adoption of the Resolution, i.e., another initiative of Tajikistan, as a historical event, which is not occasional. Because, this Resolution, for the first time in the history of the UN, proclaimed a dedicated day as the World Day for Glaciers’. Indeed, the world community marks many historical and international days associated with various areas, however, it should be underscored that the recognition of a dedicated World Day for Glaciers’ with the support of 193 countries of the world, at the initiative of a state that is neither a member of the UN Security Council nor has abundant energy and financial resources, not resources for pressure, was not an easy task. This recognition, in fact, is the recognition of the international reputation and high political prestige of the Leader of the Tajiks.
Obviously, the impact on the planet’s water resources is one of the most important aspects of global climate change. It is concerning that drinking water resources as well as their quality are getting scarce every day. Addressing such issues is deemed to be vital in different parts of the world, where water is the basis of socio-economic development. In this context, along with the countless mechanisms associated with response to climate change, it is necessary to put in place similar tools and adequate approaches to prevent the accelerated melting of glaciers and its adverse consequences.
Another important point is that, at the initiative of Tajikistan and partners, for the first time at the COP 27 – the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change a decision was adopted to address the water issues in the climate change agenda as a dedicated issue onwards, and by initiative of the President of Tajikistan the topic of glaciers will be discussed on international platforms. Accordingly, it is worth noting that on December 21, 2020, the United Nations General Assembly’s 75th session adopted its resolution A/RES/75/212 on “UN Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action «Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028», submitted by Tajikistan in co-sponsorship with the absolute majority of UN member states.
Thus, within the implementation of the Resolution, Tajikistan and other countries have been hosting important meetings, conferences and events, in which Tajikistan already enjoys a special status and dignity as an experienced and proactive country and plays lead role in arranging those gatherings. As part of the resolutions adopted by the initiative of Tajikistan, dozens of regional and international facilities have been created in the regions and countries of the world, the main purpose of which is to promote water supply for the population and different sectors of the economy, and to improve water cooperation at all levels – locally, nationally, regionally and globally.
Reports by the UN and its agencies, the World Bank, as well as other international organizations note that the implementation of the resolutions creates the basis and conducive environment to achieve the final goals, i.e., ensure provision of drinking water and environmental sanitation as well as establishment of constructive cooperation among states. Strengthened trust, comprehensive and improved cooperation between the countries of Central Asia on efficient use of the region’s water resources is a vivid example.
It should be noted that there is almost no region in the world currently that does not experience water issues, and according to the analysis this issue will become even more complex unless effective collective measures are taken.
As we indicated earlier, given the importance of the issue of concern and with a view to proactively engaging in promotion of the global water agenda, as well as to ensure a political dialogue platform, the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, in cooperation with the United Nations, is organizing and hosting high-level international conferences. The international community recognized these events as the «Dushanbe Water Process». The Dushanbe high-level events, which are held every two years, provide a timely opportunity to expand partnership, to find reasonable solutions to relevant issues and, most importantly, to build the trust between the states of the world.
It is obvious that our country achieved its positive reputation and firm position in the international arena as a result of the implementation of the wise and good-neighborliness policy pursued by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Emomali Rahmon. The world community now recognized that the Leader of the Tajik Nation is the initiator of six great undertakings: «International Year of Fresh Water» (2003), International Decade for Action «Water for Life» (2005-2015), «The International Year of Water Cooperation» (2013) International Decade for Action «Water for Sustainable Development» (2018-2028), International Year of Glaciers’ Preservation (2025) and the proclamation of 21 March as World Day for Glaciers’. Each of these initiatives is implemented globally as vital to humanity.
It should be noted that in 2021, the World Meteorological Organization and the «UN – Water» mechanism created a High-level Panel on Water and Climate «Water and Climate Leaders». The objective of the panel is to promote the integration of water and climate issues into the global development agenda. The Leader of the Nation, H.E. Emomali Rahmon, based on his worthy contribution to the promotion of weather and climate issues on the world agenda, was one of the first invited for membership in the Panel.
This year, the UN Headquarters in New York, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands will co-chair the UN Conference on the Mid-Term Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028” on March 22-24. This is the second global conference of this kind to be held after the first UN Water Conference (Argentina) in 1977.
In this regard, as early as in April 2021, a working group of experts from Tajikistan, the Netherlands, UN DESA and UN-Water was created, which meets regularly. In this process, several relevant documents, including the Conference concept, roadmap, media strategy, policy statements, and other papers were developed, which contribute to the preparation to the conference and work with various stakeholders.
In addition, the Tajikistani Working Group, jointly with the relevant ministries and agencies of the country, as well as the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, developed draft interactive conference topics, stakeholders engagement plan, voluntary commitments in the field of water, draft mid-term report on the implementation of the objectives of the international water decade and other documents and background papers relevant to the agenda of the Conference. Tajikistan, jointly with the Netherlands, hosted several special sessions in the framework of international events to present and promote this Conference. The World Water Week (Stockholm, August 2021), the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) (Glasgow, November 2021), Group of Friends of Water meeting (New York, October 2021), the UN – Water Meeting (Geneva, October 2021), 9th World Water Forum (Senegal, March 2022), 4th Asia Pacific Water Summit (April 2022), Second Dushanbe Water Decade Conference (June 2022), 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (Egypt, November 2022) are among those international events.
As part of the preparations to the Conference, the Global Marathon with the participation of the famous Australian runner Mina Guli began, which will last from March 22, 2022 to March 22, 2023. In total, 200 marathons conducted in different regions and countries around the world are expected to attract more than 200 million people and commitments from 200 private companies to implement water action. Mina Guli also held such a marathon in our country as part of the second Conference on the Water Decade in Dushanbe (6-9 June 2022). The results of the international marathon will be presented to the audience through photographs and videos at a special exhibition to be held as part of the UN 2023 Conference in New York.
The UN-2023 Water Conference, along with other water-related issues, is expected to focus more on sustainable development and the integrated water resources management to achieve socio-economic and environmental goals, to ensure implementation and promotion of relevant programmes and projects, as well as to strengthen cooperation, partnership at all levels to promote the achievement of water related objectives and targets, including those highlighted in 2030 UN Agenda on Sustainable Development.
We remain hopeful that the summit will become an important historic event in the process of implementation of the objectives of the International Decade for Action «Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028». All these efforts are made given the high expectations of the world community from this historic summit, and our country, through comprehensive preparations, is making every effort to make this conference a success. In this regard, Tajikistan and the Netherlands, as co-organizers of this Summit, to make the Conference successful, to boost the visibility and mobilize more funding for the water sector, call on the UN Member States and other stakeholders to proactively participate in the conference and voice out their voluntary commitments to accelerate action to achieve the water-related objectives.
It should be noted that, in addition to plenary and interactive sessions with participation of heads of delegation, as well as within the framework of the conference, more than 200 side events will be organized exclusively at the UN Headquarters, more than 200 other events will be held outside the organization or online on conference days.
At the same time, it should be noted that the 2025 Conference, the wrap-up event, is aimed at achieving the goals and implementing the Resolution on Glaciers. Therefore, we will make efforts to host several important events and exhibitions in cooperation with partners in different countries and regions.
The results of these activities will help to summarize specific proposals for the development of the programme and draft documents to be adopted at the Conference. We believe that this conference will approve a strategy, road map and other important international documents for the implementation of the necessary joint measures to address the issues of preventing the rapid melting of glaciers, protecting glaciers and their effective use at the global and regional level as the main sources of clean drinking water.
We also need to establish cooperation with international institutions to monitor the state of glaciers in Tajikistan and the region, including through satellite images and modern technologies. We already started such a cooperation with UNESCO, and we will make every effort to involve international research centers, stakeholders and donors in the implementation of this initiative.
It is my firm belief that with guidance and under the leadership of the Leader of the Nation as the initiator of these resolutions, Tajikistan will successfully implement all its creative steps to achieve maximum level of success possible. /// nCa, 23 February 2023
Originally published by: Newspaper “Jumhuriyat”, No. 26 (24637), January 31, 2023
Sirojiddin MUHRIDDIN, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan