The issues of sustainable development and environmental protection should be among priority items on the UN Agenda. Their solution is definitely a priority for Kazakhstan, which has been affected by such man-made and natural disasters as the dying Aral Sea and the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing ground. Humanitarian, social and economic implications of these and other disasters continue to have a negative effect on the sustainable development not only of Kazakhstan but of the entire Central Asian region. In this context, Kazakhstan calls for a closer international cooperation in the solution of problems involving the efforts to deal with the effects of these and other natural and man-made disasters.
We highly commend the international community, including the United Nations and its specialized agencies and programmes for their efforts to assist our country in addressing the effects of environmental disasters in the area of the Aral Sea and in the Semipalatinsk region. The Government of Kazakhstan has been allocating funds to address social and economic problems of those regions.
Despite the efforts undertaken by the Government of Kazakhstan the severity of the problems in this region has thus far outweighed the efforts to solve them.
United Nations General Assembly adopted 5 resolutions entitled "International cooperation and coordination for the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan" (52/169M, 53/1H, 55/44, 57/101, A/c.2/60/l.4/Rev.1), which call on the international community to assist the Government of Kazakhstan in its efforts to overcome these problems.
Economic growth of Kazakhstan during the last 5 years has made it possible for the Government to allocate and disburse more resources for rehabilitation of the Semipalatinsk region.
In 2005, the Government of Kazakhstan launched a program on the "Complex Solution of the Former Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site Problems for 2005-2007." The Government of Kazakhstan will provide more than 4.7bln. тенге (37 mln. US$ million) from the state budget to finance this programme.
The main goal of this programme is to improve the ecologic, economic, medical and social factors affecting the living standards of population in the region. The new programme on Semipalatinsk shows commitment of the Government of Kazakhstan to the rehabilitation of the region.
We strongly believe that with assistance and in partnership with other Member States of the United Nations, this commitment could serve to produce better results than what has been achieved thus far.
Related statements: General Assembly, October 2005
No country in the world is protected from destructive effects of natural disasters. In this regard, Kazakhstan believes that the United Nations should assume a leadership role in the establishment of a global, comprehensive and needs-oriented system of early warning of all threats that would encompass all countries and region.
The World Conference on Disaster Reduction, held in Kobe (2005), has played an important role in arriving to a common understanding by the international community of the problems involving disaster reduction.
We believe that it is essential to assist countries in their efforts to confront natural disasters through an exchange of experience and expertise and close cooperation and coordination of activities among governments, the United Nations system and other international, regional and nongovernmental organizations.
Adoption by the General Assembly the Resolution on upgrading the Central Emergency Revolving Fund into a Central Emergency Response Fund was a crucial step in response of the international community to cope with the consequences of natural disasters. Establishment of the Fund will allow the United Nations to launch relief operations in the early days of a crisis and what is important to ensure more equitable distribution of relief.
We believe that the United Nations should continue to play a leading role in coordination relief operations and working with the entire international community in raising funds for such operations.
The Government of Kazakhstan recognizes the need to strengthen multilateral cooperation in the field of emergency relief operations and made voluntary contribution to the Central Emergency Response Fund.
Related statements: General Assembly, January 2005
The International Decade for Action "Water for Life" has been launched in 2005.
The issue of access to water resources has acquired an overarching importance for Kazakhstan in the development of the framework of its cooperation with the United Nations and donor countries on the implementation of the concept of sustainable development, based on the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. An access by the population to pure freshwater is a priority task of the Government of Kazakhstan. The country has adopted a "Potable Water" programme for the period of 2002 - 2012 with the Government allocating some $ 900 million for its implementation.
Kazakhstan supports the efforts to develop, put in place and improve mechanisms of cooperation and collaboration involving transborder watercourses. We believe that the existing environmental conventions on international watercourses and lakes could become a foundation of such cooperation.
Related statements: CSD -13, April 2005