11 June 2015
UN Secretary-General pledges to promote ‘common response’ to central Asia’s diverse challenges
Ban Ki-moon is visiting Central Asia ‘to support and promote a common response to the many cross-border challenges the region faces, including environmental issues, water and energy, drug trafficking and trans-boundary crime’. He will visit five countries (Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan), and will emphasise the importance of cooperation and will also touch on key UN priorities, such as ensuring sustainable development and tackling climate change during his visit.
On the post-2015 development agenda, Ban Ki-moon said: ‘Its implementation [of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda] depends on global solidarity through a renewed global partnership … I am heartened that the post-2015 agenda addresses the needs of countries in special situations like this [i.e. central Asia is a land-locked region] … This will be a universal agenda with responsibilities for all countries – developed and developing.’
The Secretary-General said ‘Central Asia is facing a number of serious transnational threats and challenges, such as international terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking as well as issues such as environmental security, climate change and management of transboundary waters.’ On the issue of the sharing and management of trans-boundary water resources in the region, he said: ‘The countries of Central Asia are all interconnected by shared water resources, which also provide essential services such as food and energy. Yet these resources are limited and are expected to come under increased strain in the coming years … So far, no regional solution has emerged for ensuring the mutually beneficial management of water. The UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) is working closely with the countries of the region on a mutually beneficial solution to improving water sharing in the long term. Transboundary water cooperation and integrated water resources management are essential to the region’s long-term development.
On security challenges, such as terrorism, that the region faces Ban Ki-moon said: ‘The Central Asia Joint Action Plan … aims to increase coordination in counter-terrorism efforts. It is the first regional framework designed to address the threat of terrorism through a common approach, based on the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and strengthened international partnership.’