UN Secretary-General Stresses Importance of Climate Issues in Finding Aral Sea Solutions

© UN28 April 2009: In a message delivered by Miroslav Jenca, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the summit of member States of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, which took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on 28 April 2009. Noting that the Aral Sea has shrunk by 70% in recent decades, he stated that climate variability poses a further challenge in this region where water resources are particularly vulnerable.

He underlined the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea's ideal position in facilitating the development of mutually beneficial and durable solutions among Central Asian countries, stressing the need for any discussion on this issue to recognize the growing threat of climate change. He called for the new climate change agreement to be negotiated in December in Copenhagen to be “ambitious, fair and effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Ban added that it should also: assist countries to adapt to climate change by facilitating the development and transfer of technology; and unlock the investments and innovation needed for a sustainable future. He highlighted the need for leadership to “seal the deal” and encouraged the Fund's member States to actively participate in this process. [UN press release] [The statement] [International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea website]