CEO Abdullah Abdullah met with a number of heads of state in Dushanbe on Wednesday including Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain and Tajikistan’s Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda.
The meetings were held on the sidelines of the Water for Sustainable Development summit which was attended by about 1,000 high-ranking officials and other stakeholders.
Addressing the conference on Wednesday, Abdullah said the lack of potable water is a global challenge that must be addressed as a top priority.
After his speech, Abdullah met with Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain on the sidelines of the meeting and discussed issues, including that of peace.
Hussain told the CEO peace and stability in Afghanistan was a must for regional stability and development and that Pakistan would continue working with Afghanistan to achieve this objective.
According to Daily Pakistan, Hussain said high level contacts between Pakistan and Afghanistan were important and in this regard Pakistan would fully cooperate with Afghanistan.
He also extended an invitation to Abdullah to visit Pakistan, which the CEO accepted.
During his address to delegates meanwhile, Abdullah focused on the issue of water resource management and said the reduction in potable water was a serious challenge worldwide – and especially for developing countries.
He said climate change, increasing population and environment pollution were the main factors that add to water problems.
He told delegates that Afghanistan has been badly affected by water issues which include a shortage of water reservoirs, the melting of snow resources, drought and water pollution.
He also said Afghanistan’s population could double by 2050 and that this would put further pressure on the country.
“We have created a coordination unit at the chief executive office to follow sustainable development,” he said.
He said the Afghan government welcomed any programs and steps towards reducing water related challenges in the region and the world and that Kabul would not hesitate to contribute to efforts and cooperation in this regard.
Other delegates at the conference said political, religious, linguistic and ethnic divisions need to be put aside in order for the world to maintain and manage its water resources properly.
In his keynote address, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon said: “The International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028’ is aimed at implementing water related goals and targets and creates a broad platform for capacity development, building up experience and partnership in this field. The new decade will contribute to a smooth transition to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
He said the demand for water resources around the world is growing at a rapid pace, which, in turn, causes serious tensions between sectors of the economy. “Tough competition for water resources in terms of increasing desperate water shortage can lead to negative repercussions on even individual country,” he said.
“We do believe that the widespread introduction of integrated and nexus approaches in water management opens up new opportunities for the improvement of the existing tools of inter-sectoral and intergovernmental water cooperation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain said competition over water resources needs to be put aside so water can be managed properly.
He also raised the issue of not all of his countrymen having access to clean water.
“This is concerning for us that at least 12 percent of our population don’t have access to clean drinking water while one third of the population are deprived of access to basic health facilities,” he said.
Last year, the World Health Organization stated in a report that some 3 in 10 people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, lack access to safe, readily available water at home, and 6 in 10, or 4.5 billion, lack safely managed sanitation.
The report stated that of the 2.1 billion people who do not have safely managed water, 844 million do not have even a basic drinking water service.
The summit, being held in Dushanbe, aims to shift focus to sustainable development and integrated management of water resources for achieving social, economic and environmental goals.
Organized by the Tajikistan government in cooperation with the United Nations and its partners, Tajikistan hopes to hold the meeting bi-annually to facilitate implementation of the water-for-sustainable-development programs.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on December 21, 2016 entitled “International Decade for Action – Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028”, sponsored by 177 member states of the world body.