On 26 February 2013, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Executive Secretary Sven Alkalaj and the First Deputy Minister of Melioration and Water Resources of Tajikistan, Sulton Rahimov, discussed cooperation on projects and activities related to water and environment in Tajikistan. They also discussed cooperation on water at the global level in the context of the International Year of Water Cooperation (2013).
“Transboundary water cooperation and sound international legal frameworks to support it were the key messages UNECE was promoting for the International Year of Water Cooperation”, Mr. Alkalaj said. In the pan-European region, the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes had provided an efficient framework for transboundary water cooperation over the past two decades. Moreover, following the entry into force on 6 February 2013 of amendments to the Convention, the Water Convention had become a global instrument that could guide and support transboundary water cooperation worldwide. “The global opening of the Convention for accession will also be important for Central Asian countries”, the Executive Secretary noted, “as it allows the Convention to apply in their relations with non-UNECE countries”.
Mr. Rahimov invited UNECE to play a prominent role in a High-level International Conference on Water Cooperation to be held in Dushanbe in August 2013. To effectively address the current and emerging freshwater problems, it was important to initiate coordinated and long-term actions to unite the efforts undertaken by Governments, international and regional organizations, business communities, scholars, and civil society. “The International Conference in Dushanbe will be a milestone for strengthening such mutual understanding, developing a dialogue and cooperation towards further progress in transboundary water cooperation”, Mr. Rahimov concluded.
The First Deputy Minister welcomed the support UNECE provided to water sector reform in Tajikistan through the National Policy Dialogue on Integrated Water Resources Management. The Government also appreciated UNECE activities to develop environmental and hydrological cooperation between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, as well as to strengthen the legal frameworks for dam safety.
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Regional Adviser on Environment
Note for editors:
In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation (A/RES/65/154). The resolution encourages all Member States, the United Nations system and all other actors to take advantage of the Year to promote actions at all levels, aimed at the achievement of the internationally agreed water-related goals contained in Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, the United Nations Millennium Declaration and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. For further information please visit http://www.unwater.org/watercooperation2013.html.
The UNECE Water Convention is currently the only international legal framework in force governing the management of transboundary water resources. In the past 21 years since its adoption, the implementation of the Convention has led to a significant improvement in transboundary water management in the UNECE region, making it the most advanced in this respect worldwide. Building on the successes achieved, Parties amended the Convention in 2003 to open it up to non-UNECE countries. As of 8 November 2012, the number of ratifications needed for the entry into force of the amendments was reached. At the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties, Parties adopted a decision on simplifying the procedure for the accession of non-UNECE countries to the Convention. Any future request for accession by any member of the United Nations will be considered as approved by the Meeting of the Parties, once the amendments to articles 25 and 26 to the Convention enter into force for all the Parties that adopted them in 2003. For further information please visit http://www.unece.org/env/water/
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