Dushanbe, Tajikistan – On 20 and 21 June 2018 the Government of Tajikistan, in cooperation with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN-Water and other partners, organized a High-level International Conference on the international decade for action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028. Main objective of the Conference was to discuss ways for Member States, relevant UN bodies, specialized agencies, regional commissions and other organizations of the UN system to contribute to the Decade as part of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and SDG6 (Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all).
Today, lack of access to a safe drinking water source, basic sanitation and sound hygiene alongside with water scarcity and water pollution constitute one of the major challenges for the international community, in particular for the developing countries. Increasing water-related disasters, climate change, urbanization, population growth, desertification, and drought with the lack of capacity to ensure integrated water resource management further exacerbate this situation.
H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of Afghanistan, led the Afghan Delegation to the Conference. On 20 June, H.E. Dr. Abdullah addressed the plenary meeting of the Conference. In his address, he stressed that lack of access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, coupled with water scarcity and water pollution, constitute major challenges for the international community, in particular for developing and least developed countries. He highlighted that the Water Action Decade is a great opportunity to enhance positive momentum by raising awareness, sharing best-practices and promoting cooperation, as well as supporting the pursue of initiatives and activities leading to positive and concrete impacts at the national and local levels.
H.E. Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations in New York, also took part in the International Conference and chaired the Action Panel on “Capacity Building including Improving Knowledge & Education”, organized on 20 June in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme. The Action Panel saw the participation of, among others, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, academia and the civil society. The Action Panel recognized that capacity, knowledge and education are central to making progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and in the achievement of SDG6. Furthermore, members of the Panel stressed the importance of mobilizing international support for closing capacity gaps in developing countries, countries in transition and fragile states challenged with post-conflict reconstruction, as well as the central role that public-private partnerships and South-South cooperation can play in this context. H.E. Ambassador Saikal moderated interventions from different keynote speakers and panelists during the session.