Abdullah said Afghanistan’s average temperature will increase considerably over the next 30 years, along with a population increase.
Addressing delegates, he said: “Afghanistan will experience an increase of approximately 1.5 degrees Celsius in mean temperature and a doubling of population by 2050,” Abdullah said.
“In contrast, pessimistic scenario shows extreme warming across the country of approximately 3 degrees Celsius within the next 32 years. This highlights the pressing need to build resilience and support communities towards adaptation of course effective management of water.”
Participants at the high-level Water for Sustainable Development conference in Dushanbe 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, who is also attending the summit, said competition over water resources need 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.
A Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) report, Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and Sustainable Development Goal baselines, presented the first global assessment of “safely managed” drinking water and sanitation services.
The overriding conclusion in the report was that too many people still lack access, particularly in rural areas, to clean drinking water.
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.
This includes 263 million people who have to spend over 30 minutes per trip collecting water from sources outside the home, and 159 million who still drink untreated water from surface water sources, such as streams or lakes.
Earlier in the day, Abdullah’s office said in a statement that the CEO would also meet with Tajikistan President Imam Ali Rahman, Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda and the Chairman of the Parliament of the Republic of Tajikistan.
Abdullah’s office said an agreement on cooperation in the telecommunications field, a memorandum of understanding on mining and a joint declaration between the officials of Afghanistan and the Tajikistan will be signed at the conference and that both sides are also expected to discuss the expansion of bilateral relations, strengthening of security, economic, social, cultural, trade, and transit ties and the joint fight against terrorism.
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.
It is expected that more than 1,000 guests from 100 countries, including heads of state and government, heads and high-ranking representatives of foreign policy and other relevant ministries will take part in the event. Leaders and representatives of international and regional organizations, international financial institutions and development partners, river basin organizations, civil society members and the scientific and technological community, as well as research institutes will also participate in the conference.