— The International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea is the only regional organization capable of uniting the efforts of countries to overcome the negative consequences of the drying up of the Aral Sea and improve the environmental, socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea region, - said Deputy Prime Minister of Turkmenistan Annageldy Yazmuradov, speaking at the conference "Central Asia: towards a sustainable future through a strong regional institution" on Tuesday.
The conference takes place on June 5-7 in Dushanbe. On its main day, June 6, the Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister drew the attention of colleagues to the fact that the heads of the IFAS founding states during the 2018 summit in Turkmenbashi expressed their readiness to further improve the organizational structure and legal framework of the Fund in order to create an effective and sustainable institutional mechanism capable of responding to new challenges in a timely manner.
In 2019, the decision of the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development, consisting of the heads of environmental agencies of the countries of the region, adopted a Regional Environmental Protection Program for the Sustainable Development of Central Asia.
The programs of Assistance to the countries of the Aral Sea basin and the Regional Environmental Protection Program for the Sustainable Development of Central Asia are important documents for the period up to 2030, defining the main priorities and frameworks for regional cooperation in the field of water resources, environmental protection and sustainable development of Central Asia.
The programs make it possible to implement joint measures to overcome the consequences of the Aral Sea crisis and stabilize the environmental situation in the region.
Over the past decades, climate change and its consequences for the environment, economy and society have become one of the most pressing global problems. Climate change has led to more frequent and destructive hurricanes, freezing rains, abnormal heat, drought, floods.
Moreover, over the past decade, the number of natural hazards that cause significant damage to human health and the economies of countries has increased. The issue of the impact of climate change on water resources as the most important and most vulnerable sector is particularly acute.
— Despite the complexity of the situation, IFAS and its institutions (the board, the Executive Committee, the Interstate Coordinating Water Management Commission, the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development, and others) are taking all measures to ensure that issues of water distribution, environmental safety, and economic development are resolved on a priority basis, taking into account the interests of each party, - said Yazmuradov.
The further development of the economy and the improvement of the living standards of the population living in the region depend on the strengthening of cooperation between our countries and effective management of water resources.
Currently, the fourth Action Program for Assistance to the Countries of the Aral Sea Basin (PBAM) is being implemented.
A meeting of the heads of the countries of the Central Asian region and a meeting of the Council of the Founding States of the Fund are scheduled for September 14-15 in the capital of Tajikistan, which are expected to make a significant contribution to solving water issues in the region.