Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his support for the World Bank’s efforts to help Tajikistan address its energy challenges, and its decision to continue with the independent, technical assessment of the proposed Roghun hydropower project.
“He believes that the results of this assessment would provide informed guidance to the decision-making process on the project. That, in turn, should entail constructive dialogue on water and energy issues between the riparian States in Central Asia,” a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said.
According to the World Bank, the studies are designed to assess the proposed project’s technical soundness, economic viability and compliance with all relevant environmental and social safeguards, all of which would be prerequisites for consideration of any further involvement by the Bank. The assessment is reportedly due to be completed in the first half of 2013.
Located on the Vakhsh River in the country’s south, the Rogun project has reportedly caused some regional tensions. According to media reports, Uzbekistan has opposed construction on the basis that it will negatively impact the region’s environment, as well as adversely impact its agricultural sector.
“The Secretary-General takes this opportunity to encourage all Central Asia countries to engage actively in the search for a mutually acceptable agreement on management of water resources in the region in line with international law,” the statement added.
The UN chief also encouraged all stakeholders to avail themselves of the support offered by his Special Representative for Central Asia, Miroslav Jenca, and the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA).
Set up in 2007 and headed by Mr. Jenca, the Centre works to help the five governments in the region – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – to increase their capacities to peacefully prevent conflict, facilitate dialogue and respond to cross-border threats and challenges such as terrorism, drug trafficking and environmental degradation.