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International Conference on Water Related Disaster Reduction

Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan, 27-28 June 2008

On the initiative of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan His Excellency Emomali Rahmon, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 58/217 dated 23 December 2003, which declared the International Decade of Action “Water for Life”, 2005-2015.

To support the achievement of the goals of the Water for Life Decade, the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan will hold the "International Conference on Water Related Disaster Reduction" on June 27-29 2008 in Dushanbe. This Conference will advance the realization of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, which aims to protect countries and communities from various disasters. The Conference will also implement recommendations of the First Asia-Pacific Water Forum held in Beppu, Japan in December 2007.

Background on conference topic

Water related disaster losses have increased with global consequences. The situation is aggravated by population growth and global climate change constituting an increasing threat to economies, population and sustainable development.

Tajikistan, as most of the countries of the world, is aware of the necessity of integrating efforts on reduction of disaster risks into the policy, plans and programs of sustainable development with the support of bilateral, regional and global cooperation, by forging partnerships. This approach is at the centre of the Millennium Declaration, the Hyogo Framework for Action, Ithe nternational Decade for Action «Water for Life», 2005-2015, declared by the United Nations General Assembly on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan His Excellency Mr. Emomali Rahmon, and the President of the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea.

In view of increasing concern about disasters, the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan has taken a decision to organize an International Conference on Water related Disaster Reduction. This Conference is aimed at mobilizing efforts of governments, UN organizations, international and regional organizations, private sector and civil society for the prevention of and preparedness for natural disasters, as well as assistance in raising public awareness, promoting best experience and facilitating cooperation. It is expected that the results of the 1st Asia-Pacific Water Summit, which includes the priority theme «Water Disaster Management», will be widely discussed at this conference.

In the last 10 years the international community has paid great attention to questions of disaster influence reduction. Nevertheless, in many regions of the world disaster prevention and preparedness are still unsatisfactory.

Reaction mechanisms are focused only on the elimination of the consequences of disasters. The urgent actions on preventing the negative influence and mitigating the consequences of disasters are necessary. The importance of this question has been recognized at the international, regional, national and local levels in the last years and articulated in a number of framework agreements and documents. In particular, in the Millennium Declaration the Heads of states expressed their concern about the increasing number of disasters and their grave consequences. Governments expressed and declared their determination to cooperate actively on disasters risk reduction.

The Hyogo Framework for Action, 2005-2015 for strengthening security of the countries and communities from disasters was accepted at the World Disaster Reduction Conference in Kobe, Japan. The Hyogo Framework for Action coincides with the International Decade for Actions “Water for Life”, aiming at reducing the number of human victims, as well as social, economic and ecological damage for communities and countries caused by disasters during the next ten years.

With the purpose of mobilizing and joining the efforts of governments and the institutions of the United Nations, regional bodies, private sector and civil society in constructing sustainable societies through preventing and preparing for disasters, the Economic and Social Council and UN General Assembly accepted the International Disaster Reduction Strategy in the year 2000. Taking into account the importance of this, the question of reducing the influence of water related disasters was included in the Concept of a new regional partnership network - Asia-Pacific Water Forum - as one of the main priority themes.

The Central Asian region, fragile to seismic and geographical conditions, more than other regions is subject to disasters. Though the Central Asian region is not directly facing hazards from the oceans, however it is subject to more than 20 various types of dangerous natural phenomena, including earthquakes, high waters, landslides, collapses, avalanches and flooding caused by the break of glacial lakes. Any of these threats - especially their combination - can cause deaths of thousands of people and leave millions without a roof over the heads and means of subsistence. These disasters also destroy infrastructure, cause faults with delivery of foodstuffs and other major goods, poison rivers and cause long-term damage to health and water supply. The damage frequently has regional character though accidents are locally limited. Besides large scale human victims, disasters can potentially influence rates of development of regional economies.

As water related disasters and anthropogenous accidents and catastrophes cause significant damage to the economy, human well-being and political stability, prevention and preparedness shall be at the core of the efforts. Many of these threats have regional character and consequently cooperation in the field of preparation, prevention and reactions gives an opportunity to join efforts for concrete practical actions at local, national, regional and international levels.

An overall objective to hold the International Conference on Water Related Disaster Reduction is to increase the awareness of the population, propagate best experiences, as well as stimulate activition of Heads of states on the promotion of cooperation in the field of readiness and prevention of water related disaster influence.

Main topics of the Conference:

  1. Disaster reduction and implementation of the Millennium Development Goals;
  2. Glaciers melting under global warming;
  3. Cooperation, coordination and disaster management;
  4. Disasters in the basins of the Aral Sea;
  5. Desertification issues;
  6. Monitoring of breakdown lakes;
  7. Dams, disasters, and the use of water energy resources
  8. Flood control and management;
  9. Capacity building of the national and regional organizations on disasters management;
  10. Public participation in reducing water related disasters;
  11. IWRM as a tool in reducing natural disasters' impact;

Expected results

  • Raising public awareness about water related disasters and measures taken in their prevention and easing their aftermath.
  • Promoting the mobilization of the efforts of governments, UN bodies, regional structures, the private sector and civil society on building stable societies through the formation of a culture of prevention of and preparedness for disasters.
  • Involving greater number of partners in implementing the goals of the International Decade of Action "Water for Life" and the Hyogo Framework for Action
  • Consolidating cooperation and partnership on national, regional and international levels in reducing disasters and their consequences.
  • It is expected that the resolutions of the first Asia-Pacific Water Summit, main theme of which is “Water Related Disasters Management” would be widely discussed during the Conference in Dushanbe.

Dushanbe Declaration