UNESCO’s Director-General attends International High-Level Conference on Water Cooperation in Dushanbe

On 20 August 2013, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, His Excellency Mr Emomali Rahmon, participated at the opening ceremony of the International High-Level Conference on Water Cooperation. The Dushanbe High-Level International Conference on Water Cooperation, organized by the Government of Tajikistan on 20 and 21 August, comes as a contribution from Tajikistan to the implementation of Resolution 67/204 of the UN General Assembly concerning the implementation of the International Year of Water Cooperation (IYWC).

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, speaking at the opening ceremony of the International High-Level Conference on Water Cooperation, Tajikistan, August 2013.»In a world where 300 transboundary lakes and river basins cover nearly half the land surface and account for 60 percent of global freshwater flow – cooperation is not a matter of choice, it is an imperative«, stated the Director-General during her keynote speech delivered at the opening session. Ms Bokova also recalled that the sustainable water is essential to reaching all of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and it must lie at the heart of the new global sustainable development agenda that we set to follow.

»The experience shows that the objectives of the sustainable development can be achieved only if the effective mechanisms and concrete plans are set for their implementation«, said the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, His Excellency Mr Emomali Rahmon during his opening speech. In that context the President suggested that the Conference should consider and discuss perspectives of the elaboration of the global water vision for Post-2015.

On the same day, the Director-General delivered a keynote speech at the High Level Panel on Water Cooperation for Human Development within the Conference. This panel discussion focused on how water cooperation can be used to eradicate poverty, create social equity, achieve gender equality and further human development. The panel also explored the different paths towards water and sanitation cooperation, including transboundary coordination mechanisms, national campaigns, sub-national multi-stakeholder forums and alternative platforms led by civil society.

»There can be no development without water, and no sustainable human development without sustainable water management. Cooperation is essential to all our efforts to eradicate poverty, deepen social equity, and promote gender equality«, said the Director-General during her speech delivered on the occasion of the High Panel.

Mr John Ashe, President of the 68th UN General Assembly, Mr. Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (on behalf of the UN Secretary-General), Ms Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand, Mr. Zhantoro Satybaldiyev, Prime Ministe of Kyrgyzstan, Mr Alberto Antonio Clementino Vakvina, Prime Minister of Mozambique, Ms Rebeca Grynspan, UNDP Associate Administrator and UN Under-Secretary-General, Mr Benedito Braga, President of the World Water Council, Ms Alice Bouman-Dentener, President of the Women for Water Partnership also delivered speeches at the opening session.