Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah left Kabul on Wednesday for Tajikistan where he will attend the Water for Sustainable Development conference, the CEO’s office said in a statement.
According to the statement, Abdullah will deliver a speech at the summit and will also meet with Tajikistan President Imam Ali Rahman, Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda and the Chairman of the Parliament of the Republic of Tajikistan.
In addition, he is expected to meet with the presidents of Turkmenistan and Pakistan.
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. Both sides are also expected to discuss the expansion of bilateral relations, strengthening of security, economic, social, cultural, trade, transit ties and the joint fight against terrorism.
Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak, Telecommunications Minister Shahzad Gul Aryoubi, the deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, the deputy minister of water and energy Mohammad Gul Khulmi, the deputy minister of economy Mohammad Ismail Rahimi and the deputy minister of mines Mir Jawed Sadat have accompanied Abdullah to the summit.
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.
According to reports, nearly 750 million people do not have access to clean drinking water globally whereas 2.5 billion lack access to basic sanitation.
Annually, water disasters cause $60 billion in economic losses while drought and desertification threaten livelihoods of more than 1.2 billion people across the world.
According to estimates given by experts, the world’s population will increase to more than 9 billion by 2050, resulting in a surge in water demand. It is feared that due to the impact of climate change, more than 50 percent of the world’s population will face water scarcity.
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.
The Tajik president, Rahmon, meanwhile launched an initiative during the seventh World Water Forum in South Korea in April 2015. This initiative focused mainly on sustainable development and integrated management of water resources.
In line with this initiative Dushanbe will this week host the summit. The main goal of this month’s conference is to promote efforts aimed at meeting international commitments for water and water-related issues. These commitments also include the development goals contained in the UN Millennium Declaration, particularly cutting by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
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.