Statement by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Mr. Emomali Rahmon at the World Climate Conference - 3

Geneva, September 3, 2009

 

 

Excellency Chairman, Your Highness, Your Excellencies, distinguished participants of the Conference, dear ladies and gentlemen,

 

climate change is one of the most critical environmental problems, which affect almost all aspects of life on our planet. It is known that the main cause of ongoing climate changes is the increase in greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Only for the past few decades global emissions of greenhouse gases have increased by 70%, and the concentration of one of the major gases - carbon dioxide has been increased by almost one and a half times. The main source of greenhouse gas emissions is energy, due to the basic needs of the world community for energy are met by burning fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal). This, in turn, accompanies by emission of billion tons of greenhouse gases, which increased concentrations in the atmosphere lead to global climate change.

 

It is particularly disturbing that the current situation has a tendency of development. Experts are concerned that climate change will eventually hamstring all efforts on combating poverty. Thus, according to the data of the 2007 UN Human Development Report, as a result of the global warming about 332 million people, living in coastal areas, will become environmental refugees, and 1.8 billion people of the globe will face lack of access to potable water.

 

Tajikistan, with its complicated geographical conditions, is one of the most vulnerable countries of the Eurasian continent towards ongoing climate change. Over the past 60 years the average annual temperature has risen up 1оС, number of days with heavy rainfall has increased, natural meteorological phenomenon have frequented, followed by considerable economic losses, which, in turn, dramatically reduce capacity of the country in achieving sustainable development.

 

I would like to note that among of more than 200 countries Tajikistan is at 150th place for the specific share of the carbon dioxide emission – it is in a group of countries with the lowest volume of greenhouse gas emissions. In Tajikistan greenhouse gas emissions per person are by an order less than the world average value; and we are the country with the lowest volume of emissions in the Central Asia. This is explained, mainly, by the use of hydropower. Over 95% of energy in the country is produced by hydro power plants, which, unlike thermal power plants, are not sources of harmful emissions. Alongside with this, it should be mentioned that a majority part of emissions lie on the share of the most economically developed countries, but it negatively affects all the people of the planet. In this circumstance, the issue of victim compensations should be also risen. 

 

Distinguished participants of the conference, as you know, climate change has serious adverse effects on human health, environment, agriculture, transport infrastructure and other components of sustainable development. However, the key in this regard is the impact on water resources that are most vulnerable to ongoing climate changes.

 

The problem is particularly acute in the Central Asia, where water is not only the basis of socio-economic development, but the most important element of national and regional security. Results of some studies show that in the period from 1956 to 1990 the glacial resources of Central Asia have declined by more than three times and continue to reduce. According to the modest estimates, the glaciers of Tajikistan, being the main source of the rivers of the Central Asian region, in XXth century have lost more than a third of their volume. If current tendency will be kept, it is estimated that in Tajikistan thousands glaciers will disappear.

 

Taking into account the essential socio-economic importance of water resources, it is necessary already today to take urgent measures to preserve the glaciers and snowfields of the region, conduct joint researches, monitor the impact of climate change on glaciers, and warn the international community on these processes.

 

History of the Central Asia knows what the connivance has resulted in use of the natural resources. Predetermining the actual destruction of the Aral Sea, we shall not allow the disappearance of glaciers, which are the source of life in Central Asia. In this regard, we believe that need has matured to establish the International Fund for Glacier Saving (preservation), which would consolidate efforts of countries of the region and the international community in this strategically important sector.

 

The situation in Central Asia is worsened by the population growth and intensive economic development of countries in the region, which, according to some estimates, it will lead to increased water consumption of 15-20% by 2030.

 

This trend will certainly raise a serious concern. Significant reduction of emissions to the atmosphere would be promoted by giving a higher priority to renewable energy sources instead of fuel components, which are major sources of air pollution. In this regard the hydro-resources are more preferred, which our region is rich of. Only in Tajikistan, the annual potential hydropower resources are 527 billion kw/h, which exceeds the current needs of all countries of the Central Asian region in three times. This potential is currently used for 5-6% only. Hydropower, in addition to providing clean and cheap electricity, is also important in view of sustainable use of the natural resources in the distant future, when oil and gas reserves, which are intensively used by some countries in the region for electricity generation, will be exhausted.

 

In terms of climate change also importance is given to the rational use of land and water resources. This, mainly, relates to irrigated agriculture, consuming the considerable part (90%) of water resources in the region. It has to be emphasized that over the past 20 years the area of irrigated lands in the Central Asia has been increased from 3 to 9 million hectares. Therefore, in today's growing water shortage in the region the priority should be given to the development and application of new melioration regimes, increasing the efficiency of irrigation systems and optimization of agricultural crops.

 

Dear ladies and gentlemen, Tajikistan gives special importance to settlement of water problems at the global level. As a country initiator of two important water resolutions of the UN General Assembly - the Declaration on the International Year of Freshwater (2003) and the International Decade for Action «Water for Life» (2005-2015), we are very interested in the successful implementation of the goals of this decade. For this purposes, the Government of Tajikistan will organize the International Water Forum in Dushanbe in June 2010. The purpose of this event is to review progress on achievement of goals decade, as well as formulate concrete proposals for successful implementation of tasks in its second half.

 

Climate change, as one of the key factors in the further development of water processes, will be one of the main themes of the coming Forum. We are inviting all interested parties and, first of all, the organizations, participating in the mechanism of «UN-Water» for cooperation in preparation and conducting this important event at a high level.

 

Thank you for your attention!