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UNECE and Water Sector Reform in Tajikistan

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GENEVA (UNECE press release) – At a meeting of the Steering Committee of the National Policy Dialogue on Integrated Water Resources Management (NPD IWRM) in Tajikistan, held on 25 May in Dushanbe, it was decided to finalize a Water Sector Reform Strategy for irrigation, drainage and drinking water in Tajikistan in October 2012.

Following the adoption of the Strategy it will be necessary to revise the Water Code, and it was agreed at the Steering Committee meeting to establish a task force on legal issues to that end. A session of the meeting was also devoted to the challenges Tajikistan faces in providing safe drinking water, in particular in rural areas. On-going efforts to remedy the situation were reviewed, and a new project funded by the Norwegian Government for the establishment of targets under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)/World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO-Euro) Protocol on Water and Health was launched during the meeting.

The meeting was opened by the Minister of Land Reclamation and Water Resources of Tajikistan, Rahmat Bobokalonov, the Ambassador and Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Tajikistan, Eduard Auer, and by Bo Libert, the UNECE Regional Adviser on Environment. More than 60 representatives of national authorities, international organizations and other development partners and stakeholders took part in the meeting. Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation of Kyrgyzstan and of the Ministry of Water Economy of Turkmenistan were also present to share their experience in the framework of the NPD IWRM in their respective countries.

NPD IWRM and on Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) are the main operational instrument of the European Union Water Initiative (EUWI) component for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The EUWI was launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (2002). UNECE is the strategic partner to support the policy dialogue process on IWRM, whereas the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is the strategic partner for WSS and financial aspects of IWRM. National Policy Dialogues are under way in the following countries of the region: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.

The UNECE/WHO-Euro Protocol on Water and Health to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) is the first international agreement adopted specifically to ensure, by linking water management and health issues, the adequate supply of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. Twenty-five States are parties to the Protocol, which entered into force on 4 August 2005.

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