Statement by Mr. Keizo Takemi
Representative of the Japanese Delegation
at the Dushanbe International Fresh Water Forum
30 August 2003
Your Excellency, Mr. Emomali Rakhmonov, President of the Republic of Tajikistan,
H.E. Mr. Akil Akilov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan and Chairman of the National Organizing Committee,
H.E. Mr. Kozidavlat Koimdodov, Vice Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan,
Distinguished head of delegations,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to express our sincere appreciation for the earnest and efficient preparation by the Government of Tajikistan for hosting the Dushanbe Fresh Water Forum as well as the adoption of the Resolution on the International Year of Fresh Water, 2003.
H.E. Mr. Rakhmonov, President of the Republic of Tajikistan suggested to proclaim the International Decade of Fresh Water beginning from 2005 in his address at the 3rd World Water Forum held in Japan last March.
The issue of water is affecting various aspects of human life including environment and energy, and Japan, in light of its importance, highly appreciates the President Rakhmonov for these initiatives.
Japan, bearing in mind the importance of water issues in Tajikistan, has been assisting the water related projects of Tajikistan through bilateral grants aids and International Organization.
The management of water resources is of paramount importance for the development of Tajikistan.
Such sectors as the stable energy supply by the hydroelectric power and its export, improvement of sanitation by securing safe water, improvement of productivity of agriculture by improving the irrigation system relate to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) which Tajikistan finalized last year, and Japan, will further explore the possibility of cooperation in the area.
Water was put at the center of priorities to realize sustainable development. Indeed, in Johannesburg last year, water was recognized as a core to realize human life with dignity, and it was recognized in Kyoto last March that each and every household and neighborhood community are the foundation to pursue concrete steps and actions to attain the ultimate goal of sustainable development.
In Evian last June, leaders from the G8 countries including Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi, following on from the 3rd World Water Forum, adopted an Action Plan to help meet the Millennium and Johannesburg goals of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.
This Dushanbe International Fresh Waster Forum indeed is a further important step to bring us forward to build a better world.
In this context, as representative of Japan and on behalf of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto, Former Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Steering Committee of the 3rd World Water Forum, it is a great pleasure for me to make brief remarks, on the 3rd World Water Forum and its Ministerial Conference.
Over 24,000 people from 182 countries and territories participated in the 3rd World Water Forum and forwarded 33 thematic and 5 regional statements and recommendations to the Ministerial Conference.
The Conference, which representatives from 170 countries and territories and 47 intergovernmental and other organizations attended, adopted the action-oriented Ministerial Declaration entitled "Message from the Lake Biwa and Yodo River Basin."
The Portfolio of Water Actions, a compilation of a total of 501 documents on water related actions, planed or undertaken by 43 governments and 18 international organizations, was announced at the conference and it's the concrete guidance for implementation of water actions.
As a reminder, five main pillars of Kyoto Ministerial Conference were; 1) good governance from the grassroots, 2) the Portfolio of Water Actions, 3) financing, 4) civil society and 5) Iraq.
First, good governance from the grassroots.
Water is indispensable for human security. We reaffirmed that in managing water, good governance must be ensured, with a stronger emphasis on household and community-based approaches. It was agreed that capacity-building is important and necessary to this end.
Second, the Portfolio of Water Actions.
In order to promote steady implementation of the plans included in the Portfolio and to further include additional plans, it was agreed to establish a new network of websites to publicize water actions planned and implemented.
I would like to add that as the chair country of this conference, Japan is assuming the responsibility of the management of this network and has already established and tentatively manages this network for the initial stage in cooperation with the relevant international organizations.
In this context, the Government of Japan announced the "Initiative for Japan's ODA (Official Development Assistance) on Water."
This initiative includes the following three salient measures,
first, to establish a scheme of grant aid for water resources development, with ¥16 billion to be awarded in FY 2003,
second, to make available ODA loans to water-related financial needs of developing countries, particularly in their urban areas, with the most concessional conditions ever made which is currently offered at the interest rate of 0.75 percent as a general rule, and,
third, to extend capacity-building technical cooperation to approximately 1000 people over a five-year period beginning in FY 2003 in the fields of water supply and sewage.
It was agreed that all means, both public and private have to be mobilized. But at the same time, it was also agreed that need for protection of the public interest and particularly of the interests of the poor have to be kept in mind, while exploring efficient funding mechanisms.
Fourth, civil society.
Many ministers and heads of international organizations participated in the dialogue together with the participants of the Forum held on the eve of the Ministerial Conference. In order to move water issues forward, they recognized that it was vital for the governments and international organizations to work hand in hand with relevant NGOs.
There were several interventions expressing concerns on possible adverse impact on water issues in Iraq.
As a result, the Chairman of the Ministerial Conference, Mr. Ichiro Fujisaki, stated in his concluding remarks, that "We recognize the importance to help Iraqi people, including refugees, to have access to water and sanitation. Among others, rehabilitation of water facilities may be required. We should make efforts to this end."
I am outraged by the car bomb attack that took place on the U.N. Headquarters in Baghdad on August 19 and killed and injured a large number of people. The Government of Japan strongly condemns this indiscriminate terrorism on U.N. staff, who are working to extend humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Iraq.
I extend my sincere sympathy for those slain in this attack and condolences to the bereaved families, and also pray for quick recovery of the injured.
The Government of Japan will continue to cooperate with the international community for the reconstruction of Iraq.
Bearing these points in mind in Dushanbe, my delegation would like to reiterate the importance of concrete actions to be taken based on what we have all agreed in Johannesburg and Kyoto.
Namely, it is we ourselves who must take actions and should not just expect others to do something.
In a month, TICAD III (Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development) will be held in Tokyo, and the water issue will be one of the main topics. I hope the conference will further enhance international cooperation in this field on the basis of ownership by developing countries and partnership with international society.
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