Executive Committee of the International Fund
for saving the Aral Sea

Speech by the Chairman of the Executive Committee of  IFAS at a press briefing on the results of the Meeting of the Council of the Heads of the Founding States of IFAS

Dear media representatives,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor for me to inform you about the main results of the meeting of the Council of the Heads of the Founding States of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.

The meeting took place in a significant year for the countries of the region, at the 30th anniversary of IFAS, and we are convinced that the decisions taken by the Heads of States and the tasks they set will give additional impetus to the development of the Fund’s activities and the solution of water, energy and ecological issues in the region.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As a result of the IFAS Summit, four important documents were signed, including the Dushanbe Statement of the Heads of the Founding States of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.

In their statement, the Heads of States noted the key role of water resources for the sustainable development of Central Asia, and emphasized the extreme importance of transboundary water cooperation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

In this context, they reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening regional water cooperation and expressed their readiness to give high priority to water issues in national and regional development strategies and plans.

The leaders of the states in the region especially emphasized the key importance of IFAS as a unique regional institution for ensuring mutually beneficial cooperation between the countries of Central Asia in order to improve the ecological, socio-economic, water and energy situation in the Aral Sea basin.

They expressed their readiness to make every effort to further improve the organizational structure and legal framework of IFAS, as well as strengthening its potential and enhancing its image in the international arena.

The heads of states expressed concern about the worsening Aral ecological disaster and the deteriorating situation due to the impact of climate change, which have a negative impact on the socio-economic and ecological situation throughout the region, and expressed a strong commitment to jointly confront these challenges by taking concrete measures and actions, especially within the framework of the improved IFAS.

In this context, the positive results of large-scale forest reclamation work, conservation of ecosystems and wetlands, restoration of part of the Aral Sea and other measures to reduce the negative impact of the Aral crisis on the environment were noted, and the importance of expanding interaction and coordination in the field of the climate agenda, careful attitude towards natural resources, building a low-carbon economy, introducing resource-saving and “green” technologies.

The parties also noted the importance of universal and equitable access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services and expressed their readiness in these areas.

The Heads of States focus on the importance of developing a comprehensive and mutually beneficial mechanism for water-energy cooperation in ensuring water, energy and food security in Central Asia, as well as the important role of hydropower facilities on interstate watercourses to help resolve these issues, taking into account the interests of all countries in the region.

In this context, the parties advocated the development and implementation of joint projects and programs with the attraction of external investments, especially within the framework of the Action Program for Assistance to the Countries of the Aral Sea Basin (ASBP-4) and the Regional Environmental Programme for Sustainable Development in Central Asia (REP4SD-CA).

The need to take measures for the widespread introduction of advanced information, communication and innovative water-saving technologies, as well as the development of information bases and information exchange for more efficient and rational use of water resources were also noted.

The Heads of the States expressed gratitude to international development partners for their support in solving the problems of the Aral Sea basin and called on them for further cooperation to assist the countries of the region in achieving sustainable development.

The parties also emphasized the importance of regional youth movements and the participation of the younger generation in overcoming modern challenges and threats.

The Heads of the States expressed satisfaction with the adoption of resolutions of the UN General Assembly on the Aral Sea basin and the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and emphasized their commitment to further intensify interaction with the UN system.

In this regard, the importance of the adopted Joint Statement of the Central Asian States at the UN 2023 Water Conference and the commitments adopted within its framework was noted.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As noted above, in addition to the Dushanbe Statement, the summit resulted in the signing of three more decisions by the Heads of the IFAS state-founders.

This is the decision of the Heads of the States on the results of Tajikistan’s chairmanship in IFAS, by which the parties approved the activities of the Fund and its President during Tajikistan’s chairmanship.

The second is a decision on activities to improve the organizational structure and legal framework of IFAS, in which the Heads of the States instructed the Board of the Fund to take measures to speed up this process.

And the third is the decision to elect the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as President of the IFAS for a period of three years from 1 January 2024. Thus, the chairmanship of IFAS will pass to the Republic of Kazakhstan from the beginning of next year, and therefore we wish our Kazakh colleagues success in the implementation of this important mission.

In conclusion, the Parties emphasized that constructive negotiations in Dushanbe made a significant contribution to the further development of traditionally good neighborly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation of the founding states of IFAS.

The Heads of the States highly appreciated the chairmanship of the Republic of Tajikistan in IFAS and noted the successful holding of events to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Fund, as well as the fruitful results of the UN 2023 Water Conference held under the co-chairmanship of the Republic of Tajikistan in March in New York.

The parties expressed gratitude to the President of the Republic of Tajikistan H.E. Emomali Rahmon for the hospitality and high level of organization of the meeting of the Council of Heads of the Founding States of IFAS.

Dear media representatives,

Summing up the results of the Summit, I would like to once again note the effective chairmanship of Tajikistan, which was also emphasized by the Heads of States. Under the chairmanship of Tajikistan, the interest of development partners in the activities of the Fund has significantly increased, cooperation has been established with the UN and other international organizations, and cooperation and interaction among member states has been improved.

During this period, IFAS has significantly strengthened its role and image as an important regional institution for solving complex water and ecological problems.

We are confident that our Kazakh friends will continue this course and give additional impetus to our efforts within this important regional organization.

Thank you for attention!