The Executive Committee of the Internatıonal Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFSAS) convened Friday in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedov and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev attended the Council of Heads of States-founders of the IFSAS meeting hosted by Tajik President Imamali Rahman.
Rahman highlighted extensive efforts undertaken by the IFSAS and associated organizations to enhance water, environmental and socioeconomic conditions in the Aral Sea basin.
“The rapid melting of glaciers, escalating natural disasters, floods, droughts, and landslides pose grave threats. These challenges necessitate a unified approach,” he said.
Mirziyoyev expressed concerns about issues arising from glacier melting, natural disasters, rapid population growth, urbanization and industrialization in the region.
Mirziyoyev said Central Asia’s water and environmental challenges would intensify in the near future.
The demand for water resources in certain parts of Central Asia is projected to triple by 2040, potentially causing economic damage equivalent to 11% of the gross regional product, he said.
Tokayev said regional temperatures are rising significantly, faster than the global average.
“Central Asia’s security is imperiled by global climate change, impending water shortages, and irrigation water deficits,” he said.
Berdimuhamedov stressed the significance of fostering collaborative opportunities with international financial institutions to address myriad issues in the Aral Sea region.
It was decided that Kazakhstan would assume the presidency of the Council starting in 2024.
The IFSAS was established in 1993 by the heads of the Central Asian states to overcome the ecological crisis and improve the socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea basin.
The Council of Heads of States-founders of IFAS is the highest body of States-Founders and includes the Heads of State of Central Asia.
The meeting of the Heads of State is held at least once every three years.