Abstract. The problems of management and use of water resources in Central Asia, the causes and consequences of their occurrence have long been known in the region and the world community. Unreasonable and irrational use of water has led to the destruction of the Aral Sea, as well as the salinization and waterlogging of more than five million hectares of land, thus giving rise to other socio-economic and environmental problems. On the other hand, current trends in climate change and their impact on water resources, growing water needs associated with population growth and economic development, economic and financial difficulties impeding the implementation of projects, regional threats and other challenges further exacerbate the existing situation in Central Asia.
Аннотация. Проблемы управления и использования водных ресурсов в Центральной Азии, причины и последствия их возникновения давно уже известны в самом регионе и мировому сообществу. Неразумное и нерациональное использование воды привело к гибели Аральского моря, а также засолению и заболачиванию более 5 миллионов гектаров земель, тем самым зарождая другие социально-экономические и экологические проблемы. С другой стороны, современные тенденции изменения климата и их влияние на водные ресурсы, растущие потребности в воде, связанные с ростом населения и развитием экономики, экономические и финансовые трудности, препятствующие реализации проектов, региональные угрозы и другие вызовы ещё более усугубляют существующую ситуацию в странах Центральной Азии.
Ключевые слова: управление водными ресурсами, Центральная Азия, региональное сотрудничество
High population growth rates in Central Asia lead to increased demand for water, including for food, energy and economic growth in general. At the same time, according to experts, due to the impact of climate change, glaciers in Central Asia, which are the main source of food for the region’s rivers, are reducing very rapidly.
It should be noted that Tajikistan, 93 per cent of whose territory consists of mountains, is one of the main sources of water resources in Central Asia with 60 percent of the region’s water resources originating in the glaciers of Tajikistan.
The intensive melting of glaciers as a result of climate change poses a serious threat to the process of ensuring favorable living conditions for the population and the protection of water resources. Suffice it to note that of 14,000 glaciers in Tajikistan that are vital to the entire region, more than 1,000 small glaciers have disappeared in the past 30 years.
The process of accelerated melting of glaciers as a result of increasing air temperature led to an increase in natural disasters and degradation of the aquatic ecosystem. This phenomenon annually causes the destruction of economic facilities and causing significant financial losses to the population of the country.
Water-related disasters damage the country’s economy by hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars each year. Unfortunately, in some cases it leads to death.
It is obvious that no country in the region can solve these problems by individual efforts. Moreover, the countries of the region are largely interconnected by regional infrastructures, including water, energy and transport, without which the solution of many of the above problems is absolutely impossible.
Constructive cooperation based on the principles of equality, mutual respect, mutual trust and support is the key to solving the most difficult issues on the agenda. And we need to move in this direction, using new approaches and appropriate implementation tools.
Signed agreements and established institutions have played an important role in ensuring conflict-free water resources management in the region since independence. At the same time, in the context of a rapidly changing world and the impact of new challenges, in our opinion, the existing institutional and legal framework requires revision and improvement.
Overcoming this situation requires political will and willingness to implement joint long-term measures from the countries of the region, along with huge investments in the water sector and optimization of agricultural irrigation.
The Republic of Tajikistan has repeatedly stated its readiness to cooperate with neighbouring countries on a mutually beneficial and constructive basis. This principled position is laid down in the Concept of development of foreign policy of the Republic of Tajikistan, approved by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan.
Tajikistan is a party to all regional agreements on water, energy and environmental issues and a member of the existing intergovernmental institutions - IFAS and its commissions - ICWC and ICSD within which it actively cooperates with neighbouring countries.
Our country is gradually advancing the issue of improving water cooperation at various levels. This position was a red thread in the international year of fresh water-2003 initiated by President of our Country Emomali Rahmon, the International Decade of “Water for life” Action 20052015, the International Year of Water Cooperation-2013 and the International Decade of “Water for Sustainable Development” Action 2018-2028.
“Deepening water cooperation” is the first point of the Dushanbe Call to Action adopted by the high-level Symposium on the Sixth Sustainable Development Goal and targets of “Achieving universal access to water and sanitation”, adopted on August 10, 2016. The development of regional cooperation is also reflected in almost all the outcome documents of international high-level events held in Tajikistan.
In conclusion, I would like to once again focus your attention on the initiative of Tajikistan - the International Decade “Water for Sustainable Development” 20182028. The development of cooperation and partnership is also one of the main goals of this Decade. I am confident that the countries of the region, as well as the world community, will take advantages and opportunities of this Decade to contribute to the achievement of water-related Sustainable Development Goals, including through further strengthening and development of cooperation and partnership.
The main slogan of Tajikistan’s water policy is and will remain as follows:
“Direct Water in the Direction of Cooperation”!