Rio +20: The Director-General meets with the President of Tajikistan
On 21 June, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova met with the President of Tajikistan, Mr. Emomali Rahmon.
Their discussions focused on issues relating to access to water, integrated water resources management and water cooperation, with particular reference to the International Year of Water Cooperation declared by the United Nations General Assembly on the initiative of Tajikistan. “Tajikistan is proud to have led this process” said the President, noting also that UNESCO has been very supportive.
President Emomali Rahmon detailed the water-related regional issues, providing also a historical perspective. He highlighted the need for a unified strategy for water resources management in the Aral Sea basin, in addition to national policies implemented by each State in Central Asia. He called for concrete actions in the field of water and sanitation to achieve sustainable development and, in this respect, mentioned his offer to use Lake Sarez towards providing drinking water to the region. President Rahmon also informed the Director-General about plans to establish a glacier research and monitoring center in Tajikistan and invited UNESCO to be a partner in this effort. The Director-General indicated UNESCO’s readiness to assist and to make available its expertise and experience, including through the Central Asian Regional Glaciological Centre established under the auspices of UNESCO in Kazakhstan.
The Director-General commended President Emomali Rahmon for his country’s initiative that led to the declaration of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation, noting that the subject matter is also relevant to the discussions and the agreements at Rio+20. “UNESCO acknowledges and appreciates Tajik leadership in water issues”. The Director-General updated the President about the state of preparations for the Year and thanked him for his offer to hold the final Conference of the Year in Dushanbe in late 2013. She reaffirmed UNESCO’s commitment to make the Year a success through appropriate steps to support Member States in its implementation at all levels.
Finally, both leaders agreed to cooperate on transboundary water issues, in particular through the UNESCO PCCP (From Potential Conflict to Cooperation Potential) and ISARM (Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management) programmes.
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