On September 15, 2023, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov, as part of a working visit to the Republic of Tajikistan, took part in the Summit of the heads of state of the founders of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS).
The summit meeting, held in the year of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of IFAS, was also attended by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and, as an observer, the First Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic Adylbek Kasymaliev .
Addressing the participants of the Summit, the Head of Turkmen State expressed deep gratitude to the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and noted that the current meeting on hospitable Tajik soil is evidence of the high level of relations and mutual desire to jointly and solidly solve the problems of the region.
The current event for our countries as founders of IFAS is especially symbolic, since this year we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Fund, the head of Turkmenistan emphasized, congratulating everyone on this significant date. As noted, over the past years, IFAS has become an important regional platform for dialogue and cooperation in order to solve environmental and socio-economic problems caused by the drying up of the Aral Sea.
Addressing the participants of the Summit, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted that Turkmenistan always emphasizes at international forums that the Aral problem has gone far beyond the region and has become a truly global problem requiring the same global response. Our country backs up its initiatives with concrete actions, both at the national level and on the world stage.
As President Serdar Berdimuhamedov stated, Turkmenistan will continue to advocate for the implementation of specific initiatives of the founding countries of IFAS aimed at enhancing regional interaction and forming systemic mechanisms for cooperation in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development in the Central Asian region.
In this regard, it is proposed to intensify work to improve the legal framework of the Fund and determine the goals and objectives of further work. It is necessary to conduct this process taking into account the interests of all the founding states of IFAS and on the basis of the fundamental principles and norms of international law, the President of Turkmenistan emphasized.
In this context, the conviction was expressed that resolving a set of issues directly related to the Aral issue, as part of the regional environmental agenda, requires deepening international partnership, further promotion of constructive initiatives, and active involvement of specialized UN structures.
We need to create opportunities for more dynamic interaction of the Fund with international financial institutions and donors to implement projects and programs related to solving a wide range of issues that currently exist in the Aral Sea basin,” the head of state emphasized, noting that the Aral problem, like the entire environment Central Asia must take its proper place in the international ranking of environmental priorities.
It was emphasized that efforts here should be targeted and focused on ensuring the rights and legitimate interests of millions of our citizens, solving economic and social problems for decades to come.
As noted, as an important step in developing a strategic approach to environmental issues in the region, Turkmenistan proposes to establish a specialized structure - the Regional Center for Technologies Related to Climate Change in Central Asia, which would work substantively and systematically in cooperation with the UN across the entire spectrum of the environmental agenda in the region.
The President of Turkmenistan, noting that the issue of accelerating the process of development and adoption by our countries of international documents aimed at the conservation and rational use of water resources in Central Asia is relevant, voiced a proposal to intensify joint diplomatic efforts in this direction.
In his speech, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov also placed special emphasis on the fact that Turkmenistan, together with the Central Asian countries, pays great attention to promoting “water diplomacy” in the region. As is known, for these purposes, our country, during its chairmanship of IFAS, initiated the development of the Central Asian Water Strategy, which would enshrine the basic principles and rules of political and diplomatic interaction between our states on water issues, based on mutual respect, equal partnership and taking into account the interests of all countries of the region.
According to the head of Turkmenistan, the Central Asian Water Strategy in the future could become the basis for the development of the UN Global Water Strategy.
We also propose to consider the issue of modernizing the Regional Action Plan for Environmental Protection of Central Asia, adopted within the framework of the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development of IFAS, in order to include the main provisions of this Plan as an environmental component in the new Action Program to assist the countries of the Aral Sea basin, – President Serdar Berdimuhamedov emphasized.
At the end of his speech, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov expressed confidence that this meeting will give positive impetus to the promotion of common interests and noted that Turkmenistan is ready to do everything necessary for this.
During the meeting, its participants summed up the results of the joint work done recently, discussed new, specific directions for further five-sided interaction, as well as possible forms of partnership between IFAS and authoritative international structures, primarily the UN.
As the Summit participants noted, water resources play a key role for the sustainable development of Central Asia, and trans boundary water cooperation is an essential component of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring peace, stability and prosperity in the region. In this context, a general willingness was expressed to give priority to water issues in national and regional strategies and to strengthen multilateral cooperation in this important area.
Particular attention was also paid to further improving the organizational structure and legal framework of IFAS, strengthening its potential and improving its image in the international arena.
The results of a substantive discussion of a wide range of issues to solve the problems of the Aral Sea basin were reflected in the adopted Dushanbe statement by the heads of state of the founders of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.
Also signed were the Decision of the Heads of Founding States of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea on the results of the chairmanship of the Republic of Tajikistan in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, the Decision of the Heads of Founding States of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea on activities to improve the organizational structure and legal framework of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and the Decision of the Heads of the founding states of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea on the election of the President of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.