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Tajik leader delivers statement at 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul.

Tajik leader delivers statement at 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul.

have the honor to declare open our event entitled "Natural Hazards, Unnatural Disasters: Building Resilience throughout the Islamic

I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to extend sincere appreciation to the World Bank, the UN International Strategy on Disaster Reduction and the Observer Mission of OIC to the United Nations for their cooperation and assistance in the organization of this event.

In recent decades, due to global climate change, population growth and development of urbanization, the issue of addressing natural hazards and unnatural disasters has become an urgent concern for the entire international community. There is not a single country in the whole world that, to a certain extent, has not been affected by natural disasters. But among the most vulnerable are those countries that do not have sufficient funds or capacity to prevent them. The purpose of our today's event is to share knowledge and experience in addressing disaster risk reduction and explore common approaches towards strengthening disaster resilience throughout the Islamic world, within the context of the recently launched "Strategy on Management of Disaster Risks and Climate Change Implications in the Islamic World".

In January 2005, 168 Governments, of which 40 OIC member states, adopted a 10-year plan to make the world safer from natural hazards at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction, held in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. That plan, the Hyogo Framework for Action, is a global blueprint for disaster risk reduction efforts during the next decade.

As you might be aware, the OIC member states cover a huge territory inhabited by almost 1, 5 billion people. The OIC countries are located in deserts, in high mountains, in ocean and sea coastal areas, and in the zones that adversely impact the environment, and are subjected to an enormous risk of natural disasters. For this reason, these countries are affected by a whole range of natural disasters, such as tsunami, drought, flooding, earthquakes, land degra

dation, etc. One should note that the rate of the demographic development in the Islamic countries is higher than in other countries of the world. The anthropogenic, unnatural and climate factors, coupled with insufficient natural resources, aggravate the disasters' processes, which the countries are not capable of addressing single-handedly. Natural disasters claim huge number of human lives, cause enormous material damage, disrupt lives of millions of people and bring about considerable economic losses.

My country, 93 percent of the territory of which is covered with mountains, also belongs to the category of countries with high risk of natural disasters. But I am not going to dwell on this issue because today we have among us the Chair of the Tajikistan Committee on Emergency Situations and Civil Defense, General Khaibullo Latipov, who will brief us of the situation in the Tajikistan areas affected by natural disasters.

I myself used to deal with the issues on preventing natural disasters. Given my experience, I would like briefly dwell on a specific ecological problem, which I have dealt with for more than ten years. This is degradation of the Aral Sea, which has enormous socio-economic and environmental impact on the entire Central Asian region. The Aral Sea disaster is the result of irrational use of water and land resources in the Aral Sea basin, and belongs to the category of unnatural man-made disasters. The World Bank, UN, European Union, Islamic Bank of Development, Asian Development Bank and 3

other international institutions actively assist in getting implemented those projects and programs in the Central Asian states that are aimed at mitigation of impact of the crisis in the Aral Sea basin. The Aral Sea crisis can serve as an example that demonstrates the need and importance of regional and international cooperation in natural disasters prevention.

In 2010,OIC Member States were severely affected by disasters. Of the list of top 10 disasters with the highest death counts, are Pakistan and Indonesia, according to statistics from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED)

I would like to express once again my words of sympathy and solidarity to our Pakistani brothers. Last year Pakistan experienced the horrors of unprecedented flooding. The UN and OIC promptly responded to the situation.

I would also like to welcome the high-ranking representatives of the World Bank and the Islamic Bank of Development, who are participating today in our event, and are going to share with us their experience in assisting and implementing various national and regional programs and projects aimed at prevention of natural disasters.

I am grateful to HRH Prince Turki Bin Nasser Bin Abdul Aziz Al Seoud, President of Meteorology and Environment , Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Chair of the Executive Bureau of Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers for the participation in our event and consent to share further plans of OIC with regard to the implementation of "Strategy on Management of Disaster Risks and Climate Change Implications in the Islamic World" adopted at the 4th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers that was held in Tunisia on 5-6 October, 2010 under his chairmanship.

Now it is my pleasure to give the floor to HRH Prince Turki Bin Nasser Bin Abdul Aziz Al Seoud.

You have the floor, Your Royal Highness.

I thank HRH Prince Turki Bin Nasser Bin Abdul Aziz Al Seoud for his statement.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy to introduce to you the moderator of our event Mrs. Margaretta Wahlstrom.

Mrs. Margaretta Wahlstrom is Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the implementation of the Hydro Framework for Action and the United Nations' Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Mrs. Margaretta Wahlstrom has a career spanning of more than 30 years in international disaster response and humanitarian work, during which she has held wide range of posts in the humanitarian and international sphere and has either worked in or undertaken missions to more than 100 countries , including many across the Middle East and North Africa, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and Latin America.

I am confident that her rich experience in this area will help us today to make relevant conclusions and recommendations, which will be forwarded to OIC, UN, WB and other international organizations and will further assist the countries in their implementation of projects and programs for prevention of natural disasters and protection of the population from various kinds of disasters.

 

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