UN Secretary-General on Aral Sea, Central Asia’s water resources problem

NEW YORK. KAZINFORM UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres touched on the problem of the Aral Sea and water resources of Central Asia at the UNSC Ministerial meeting on "Building Regional Partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a Model to Link Security and Development", Kazinform correspondent reports.

"First, new efforts are taking place to better manage the water resources that are fundamental to economic development in this region. These resources are coming under unprecedented strain. As I witnessed during my visit [to Central Asia in June 2017], almost 30% of Tajikistan's spectacular glaciers have melted in last ten years alone. The Aral Sea stands as a terrible warning of the consequences of mismanagement," he said.

The diplomat noted that countries must use these ecologic disasters to spur greater cooperation and action.

"Central Asian governments have recently begun to intensify cooperation on water resources through bilateral water commissions and agreements. These developments hold important lessons for Afghanistan, where water-dependent farming and agriculture make up nearly half of the economy," Guterres said.

He recalled that the United Nations is promoting mediation dialogue through the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia. The Center is ready to help to modernize the regional legal frameworks on managing transboundary water resources and is including Afghanistan in its efforts to build capacity in water diplomacy.

"Finding joint approaches to managing shared water resources including mechanisms to resolve disputes builds confidence in bilateral and multilateral relationships. And this can lead, in turn, to greater investment and prosperity for the benefit of all," stressed the UN Secretary-General.



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