Kazakh Ecology Minister Meets with UN Secretary-General

ASTANA – Kazakh Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, Zulfiya Suleimenova, discussed Kazakhstan’s plans for sustainable water resources management with the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, at the UN Headquarters in New York on March 24.

Kazakh Ecology Minister Zulfiya Suleimenova with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the UN Headquarters in New York. Photo credit: gov.kz.

The Secretary-General commended Kazakhstan’s efforts, emphasizing the active position taken by the country in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

They also discussed Kazakhstan’s initiative to establish the UN Regional Hub on SDGs in Almaty for the Central Asian countries and Afghanistan.

Suleimenova headed Kazakhstan’s delegation at the 2023 UN Water Conference, held from March 22 to 24 in New York, which is the first global freshwater conference hosted in 50 years.

Speaking at one of the conference’s panel sessions, Suleimenova recalled a touching story of her encounter with a resident of the Aral Sea region.

“I shared what a fisherman told me in the village of Tautubek in the Aral district two years ago. He said ‘Our dream is to have snow and rain, as the arrival of water on the island directly affects the well-being of the people living there,” wrote Suleimenova on her Facebook page.

The Aral Sea, once the fourth largest lake in the world, is considered one of the biggest environmental disasters, with the water level shrinking below 10 percent of its original size.

“This year we tried to deliver as much water as possible to the island. We supplied the Aral with more than one billion cubic meters of water in the first two months of 2023, compared to 800 million cubic meters in the whole of last year,” she added.

In her interview with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on the sidelines of the conference, Suleimenova outlined fundamental principles for the countries to accelerate efforts toward meeting water-related challenges.

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