STATEMENT BY H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Saikal
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
at the High-level event to launch the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development” (2018–2028)
(Check against delivery)
23 March 2018
At the outset, I would like to thank H.E. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the General Assembly, for convening this important meeting. I also take this opportunity to commend the leadership of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan for working on this issue and bringing it to the General Assembly’s attention. My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered by Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and Paraguay on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries. I would now like to deliver few remarks in my national capacity.
Water is the lifeblood of people all over the world, encompassing all aspects of human life on earth. We warmly welcome the adoption of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018–2028, as safe water and adequate sanitation for all, elements at the core of Sustainable Development Goal 6, will be indispensable to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
I would like to highlight a few key points:
- In Landlocked Developing Countries and countries prone to droughts the importance of water can hardly be overstated. We consider effective water management as key for eradication of poverty, agricultural and industrial development, energy production, and the creation of healthy ecosystems. Furthermore, climate change, the increased frequency of floods and droughts, and conflict are disrupting water management systems. Through this second International Decade for Action we can ensure these pressing issues are properly and fully addressed.
- For Afghanistan, data collection efforts related to water sources and water availability, the provision of technical support and expertise in water management practices, and reinvigorated and strengthened water diplomacy are some of the most important aspects for this International Decade for Action to be a success. In this regard, the sustained and intensified support of the international community is needed more than ever. These efforts need to be underlined by increased investments for activities targeted at developing facilities for providing access to fresh water and sanitation and strengthening national and regional water management systems.
- It is crucial to analyze in detail the nexus between rapid urbanization and water management. In many cities in developing countries, the provision of water services is heavily under stress because of the rapidly rising demand for water, and Afghanistan is no exception. This phenomenon leads in many instances to water scarcity and shortages in the provision of water-related services. It is fundamental to implement an integrated approach to urban water management in line with the Habitat III New Urban Agenda.
In conclusion, let me reassure you of my Government’s commitment to make this International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018–2028 a successful initiative. My Delegation stands ready to make the best use of this opportunity to achieve SDG6 and bring us closer to realizing the vision outlined in the 2030 Agenda.
I thank you.