Tajik lawmakers have approved a draft law on preservation of glaciers, according to Sadoi Mardum newspaper, the mouthpiece of Tajikistan’s parliament (Majlisi Oli).

A regular sitting of the fifth session of the Majlisi Namoyandagon (Tajikistan’s lower chamber of parliament) of the sixth convocation, presided over by it head, Mahmadtoir Zokirzoda, took place on December 6.

Presenting the bill, MP Zoir Rahmonzoda reportedly noted that the law had been developed as part of the president's initiatives on climate change issues and the UN special resolution on declaring 2025 the International Year of Glaciers' Preservation, which was adopted on December 14, 2022.  

The law reportedly defines the legal, economic and institutional frameworks for preservation of glaciers as environmental objects and strategic sources of water resources.   

“The law also regulates public relations in conducting educational and research work, monitoring and preserving glaciers, as well as measures of the country’s public and international policy on preserving glaciers,” Rahmonzoda was cited as saying.    

The law reportedly consists of four chapters. 

The first chapter includes basic concepts, legal foundation and public policy legislative framework and public policy on preservation of glaciers, the main glacier preservation principles, and ownership of glaciers.

The second chapter provides for tasks on state regulation of preservation of glaciers, powers of the government, authorized body, local governments and village self-government bodies on preservation of glaciers, activities in glacier areas, and assessment of the impact of economic and other planned activities on glaciers. 

The third chapter provides for legal basis for organizing and holding research works and monitoring glaciers,  

The fourth chapter includes final provisions, international cooperation on preserving glaciers, liability for failure to comply with the requirements of this law, and the procedure for its implementation.

According to experts, there are more than 13,000 glaciers in Tajikistan.  Their total volume is reportedly 850 cubic kilometers.

They are involved in feeding the main rivers of the country and during the hottest days of summer they give fresh water, which is very necessary not only for Tajikistan, but also for other countries of the Central Asian region.

In recent decades, under the influence of climate change, more than 1,000 glaciers have melted and some large glaciers have shrunk and retreated by kilometers.  Thus, the Vanjyakh (formerly Fedchenko) Glacier has shrunk by more than two cubic kilometers of ice over the past few years, with a total volume of 144 km3.

Scientists argue that the melting of glaciers is virtually irreversible, and the industrial age has only accelerated the process.

It should be noted that a significant part of the water resources of Central Asia is concentrated in Tajikistan. Thus, the melting of glaciers in this country poses a huge threat to the entire region as a whole.