The Contribution of Transboundary Water Cooperation to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

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Distinguished participants,

The issue of water policy is one of priorities of the Kyrgyzstan's foreign policy.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Kyrgyzstan despite of being the zone of water resources generation has the least level access to water resources per capita. Currently 40% of the country's population is not provided with drinking water on acceptable level. In this regard the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic is implementing the Taza Suu (means “clean water”) project which is aimed to provide villages of our country with clean and drinking water.

We are stemming from the position that the Goal 7 of sustainable development “Affordable and Clean Energy” must be equally implemented in context of the 2030 Agenda. Nevertheless, we have to admit that the current practice of water resources management in Central-Asian region does not correspond our interests.

Having substantial amounts of fresh water Kyrgyzstan, in framework of the current relations, doesn't receive adequate economic compensation for collection and preservation of water resources which are important not only for the region but for sustaining global balance.

That's why Kyrgyzstan stands for building a long-term mutually beneficial cooperation in water and energy sphere on the basis of energy resources exchange. Such scheme would let to strengthening of the regional integration as well as decrease the amount of greenhouse gases' emission which is very important for sustainable development of our region.

The Kyrgyz party is convinced the today's Central Asia has a substantial potential for the transition to clean energy consumption. The realization of hydropower stations' building projects ins Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will fully provide the demands of Central-Asian countries for energy and create favorable conditions for sustainable development of our region. Also the hydropower sector is a promising dimension for cooperation. For example, in framework of the 2017 Memorandum public bodies of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have been studying the issue of cooperative realization of the Kambarata Hydropower Station-1 which show the development of the regional cooperation in sphere water use.

The other successful example of bilateral cooperation in mutually beneficial usage of water resources in Central Asia is the cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan on basin of Chu and Talas rivers. In framework of this cooperation the countries compensate expenses for expoitation and technical maintenance of water structures with interstate status and other coordinated actions which are proportional to received amount of water on the principle of equity participation.

I would like to underline that Kyrgyz Republic consistently advocate development and implementation of mutually beneficial and sustainable economic mechanisms of cooperation development in water and energy sphere in the region. In this regard it is very important to improve the regional cooperation in framework of the Agreement between the Governments of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on exploitation of water and energy resources of the Amudarya river basin dated 17 March 1998 which establish a compensation mechanism of water and energy resources usage. On the initiative of the Kyrgyz party the meeting of experts from Central-Asian countries on issue of the reanimation of the above-mentioned Agreement took place in Bishkek on 28-29 May 2018.    

I would like to mention that the activity of regional organizations on water use issues in Central Asia must be kept with the interests and demands of all upstream and downstream countries. If this principle is not observed in the organizations' activity, it means that they must be reformed in order to fit the realities of the present days. In this context Kyrgyzstan stands for full-format reform of the International Fund of Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS).

To this end in June 2018 the Kyrgyz party in cooperation with the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia arranged the meeting of experts from Central Asia on the issue of IFAS reform in June 2018. In framework of the meeting a good exchange of views took place. In this regard we consider that the work in this dimension must continue. 

Kyrgyz Republic conduct active and consistent policy aimed at promotion of sustainable development. It is well-known that large uranium tailings in Kyrgyzstan and other countries of Central Asia are situated too close to rivers and water sources.  The region's rivers pollution with highly toxic wastes, in case of possible emergency situations around tailings, could lead to large-scale ecologic and humanitarian disasters which lead to negative influence on life and health of millions of people, as well as on social and economic development of all states of the region. Understanding the risk, we mustn't let this happen.

In this regard Kyrgyz Republic offer to accept a new resolution with a call for further international support to settle problems of uranium legacy in Central Asia. The Kyrgyz Party holds the opinion that active international and regional cooperation in settlement of the uranium tailings problem will promote further sustainable development.

In conclusion I would like to mention that Kyrgyzstan reaffirm its commitment and readiness for dialogue and active interaction in order to promote mutually beneficial cooperation in the issue of integrated use of water and energy resources in Central Asia by taking into consideration interests and needs of the region's countries.

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