The European Union is ready to become a key partner for the countries of Central Asia in finding solutions to problems so that water does not become a cause of conflict and disease.  A delegation of the European Union was in Dushanbe to participate in the Dushanbe Water Conference.

Mr. Virginijus Sinkevicius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, told Asia-Plus about the cooperation between the EU and Tajikistan in addressing the problems of climate change, environmental protection and conservation of water resources.

“Water is a valuable resource – for life, for food, for energy production, for peace and stability. How we manage our scarce water resources will determine our world and the lives of the next generation, said Mr. Sinkevicius.  “I discussed a wide range of topics here in Dushanbe.”

During his visit, Sinkevicius spoke at the Conference, as well as at the Youth and Central Asian forums, and met with representatives of Tajikistan and international experts and partners.  Sinkevicius first of all noted the importance of the Dushanbe conference, as the water problem is deepening all over the world, many regions of the world are facing the problem of water shortage, including Central Asia.

“At this conference, we talked about practical solutions to existing problems in the water sector,” he stressed. “They are associated not only with climate change, but also with human activity - this is the irrational use of water for growing crops, the loss and pollution of water in everyday life, and others.”

Sinkevicius noted that during the sessions of the Forum, experts offered options for practical solutions for the economical use of water and the prevention of its pollution.

“As you know, the Central Asian region is facing such problems as climate change, as a result of which the natural conditions for precipitation, the melting of glaciers, water pollution due to poor sanitation and lack of treatment facilities, overuse and misuse of water resulting in more water being wasted, and other difficulties,” Mr. Sinkevicius said, noting that these problems are inseparable from each other and require an integrated approach to solve.

"Limiting access to water can cause conflict and food shortages," said the EU official.  “The main problem of Central Asia is climate change.  The region is very vulnerable in this regard.  Over the past 30 years, the average temperature has risen by 0.5 degrees.  It doesn’t seem like much, but it makes a huge difference, changing the entire ecosystem and environment, leading to water scarcity.”

According to him, the goal of the European Union is to further deepen ties with the countries of the region on the water and energy issue and become their main partner in order to find common solutions together that will help meet the need of people living in this region for clean water and counteract climate change.

Mr. Virginijus Sinkevicius further noted that one of the problems is that laws and policies in the water sector have not yet been fully implemented.  “Documents have been developed and adopted, at global, regional as well as national levels, but they are not yet fully put in practice.

"Important is the implementation and practical implementation of the ambitions and goals reflected in the documents, which we value first of all," said the EU representative.  “The European Union is ready to become the main partner for the countries of Central Asia in finding solutions to problems so that water does not become a cause of conflict and disease.”