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State Minister for Foreign Affairs calls for appreciating ‘water’ in broader frame for shared prosperity

11Dhaka, 10 June 2015 :

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam, MP, called upon the international community to look at the ‘water’ issue through a broader prism to address the issues of trans-boundary water management, technology transfer, green economy and water governance.

‘We shall have to move beyond the existing limits of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). This is critical for our collaboration in development and transfer of technology. For countries like Bangladesh, access to critical technology most often limits us in arranging crucial life-saving options for people at the bottom’ said the State Minister yesterday, while speaking at the inaugural session of the High Level International Conference on the Implementation of the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’, 2005-2015 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.  As mandated by a UN resolution in 2003 initiated by Tajikistan, the period of 2005-2015 was declared as International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’.

With the overarching objective and aim of ‘taking stock of what has been achieved so far and outline perspectives beyond 2015 including water related SDGs’ the Conference generated great interest among member states. A large number of high-level delegations from over 100 countries/international organizations including Heads of States, Heads of Governments, Ministers, Ambassadors, Senior officials, and representatives of international agencies and non-government organizations attended the conference.

The President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon inaugurated the conference. The opening session was addressed by UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon, Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah, Prime Minister of Kyrgiz Republic Temir Sariev, Prime Minister of Gabon Daniel Ona Ondo and Administrator of the UNDP Helen Clark, among others.

Shahriar Alam, in his statement, highlighted that water issues needs to be addressed from a broader perspective by incorporating other interlinked and cross cutting sectors. For this, he urged for collaboration in terms of support beyond ODA which include technology transfer. He further stressed trans-boundary river management, green economy, water governance challenges, human security vis-à-vis water, and adaptation vis-à-vis climate change impact on water.
‘In the last decade, the world addressed the challenges of food security and energy security. But, little did we focus on the linkages with water security. We did not recognize its linkages with attainment of human security’ said the State Minister.
He mentioned that water security is increasingly challenged in the face of booming population, unplanned and rapid urbanization, pollution, over-extraction of groundwater, climate change and water-related disasters.
On the sidelines of the Conference, the Minister held a bilateral meeting with the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Tajikistan and invited the Chairman to lead a Tajik business delegation to Bangladesh to explore business and investment opportunities.

The State Minister arrived in Dushanbe on 8 June to attend the High Level Conference.  Earlier on the first day of his stay in Dushanbe, he called on the Foreign Minister and the Minister for Economic Development and Trade of Republic of Tajikistan where he stressed joint study of the prospects of trade relation between the two countries.