Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Water for Life agenda draws governments to high-level international conference

Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, is leading the UAE delegation to the high-level international conference on the implementation of the International Decade for Action,"Water for Life" 2005-2015, that kicked off in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe today.
Bin Fahad said the UAE's participation in the international water conference underscores its active engagement in regional and international efforts to find sustainable solutions to water issues, particularly in countries suffering from acute shortage of water.
The minister noted that despite the progress the world witnessed in the last decade towards Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs), there are still many challenges facing tens of millions of people who do not have access to clean drinking water, and also lack access to basic sanitation.
He added that challenges to water resources, including a marked decrease in per capita share of water in many countries due to natural and man-made factors, were negatively affecting development efforts.
To ensure better management and sustainability of water resources, the minister said the government had employed development options to develop and conserve water resources to address the shortage and meet the soaring demand from people as well as developmental activities. Desalination of sea water, he added, is now covering 41 percent of the local water demand.
He went on to say that the UAE had implemented an agricultural policy aimed at striking maximum balance between water security and food security and introduced the National Water Conservation Strategy which aims to regulate and rationalise water consumption by using modern technology. A set of national standards has also been implemented including the UAE Scheme for Drinking Water.
The UAE Vision 2021 sets strategic indexes to measure water scarcity and progress being made in water management.
Adopted on 23 December 2003 by the United Nations General Assembly, the "International Decade for Action "Water for Life", seeks to promote efforts to fulfil international commitments made regarding water and water-related issues by the year 2015.
These commitments also included the development goals contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, particularly to halve the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Another important goal of the Decade was to develop by 2015 plans for integrated water resource management and water-use efficiency in rendering assistance to developing countries.
Being the initiator of the Decade, the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan has taken up a number of measures at national, regional and global levels for its successful implementation.
The primary objective of the Conference is a comprehensive discussion on issues mean for implementation in the International Decade for Action "Water for Life," 2005-2015, which will later play a crucial role in conducting a comprehensive review of the implementation of the International Decade by raising awareness among the wider international community about its results.
This conference also provides an opportunity to discuss the challenges and gaps in the implementation of the International Decade and on this basis, recommendations will be elaborated for further action to be taken after 2015, including contributing to the development of the Sustainable Development Goals related to water resources.
It is expected that the Conference participants will elaborate upon recommendations and proposals aimed at further strengthening the measures taken at national, regional and international levels to achieve internationally agreed upon water-related goals, including the draft Sustainable Development Goals, based on the comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the International Decade for Action "Water for Life," 2005-2015.
The Conference will promote awareness among the international community about trends in the water sector, mobilizing efforts of governments, UN institutions, international and non-governmental organizations, as well as other stakeholders involved at all levels in finding solutions to water problems.

The outcomes of the Conference will be submitted at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. –End-

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