Afghanistan's CEO Abdullah Abdullah met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday on the sidelines of the high-level International Decade for Action "Water for Life" conference in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
In a statement issued by the UN, the Secretary-General congratulated Abdullah on the realization of the transition processes in Afghanistan but underscored the need to implement a range of reforms, including the rule of law and electoral issues.
Ban and Abdullah also reportedly discussed the development of a comprehensive plan of action to counter violent extremism and they exchanged views on Afghanistan's relationships with neighboring countries.
The Secretary-General asked for Afghanistan's support in adopting and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – which are a proposed set of targets relating to future international development. They are to replace the UN's Millennium Development Goals once they expire at the end of 2015.
Abdullah also addressed the conference-goers on Tuesday and spoke on Afghanistan's unique position in terms of water resources.
He said that Afghanistan is in this position both as a source, a transit point, a corridor and an estuary of water and that in line with this the government wants to use its position to maximize the usage of water at home and in the region.
He said: "We want to use our geography, resource capacity, and regional as well as international obligations to maximize usage of water for human, agricultural, power generation and other purposes under clearly mandated and legally binding regimes both at home as well as in the neighborhood."
Abdullah told the audience that over three decades of political instability and conflict have eroded Afghan infrastructure, capacities and resource management abilities. "But we have made significant strides in order to catch up with national development objectives as part of overall reconstruction strategies adopted over the past 13 years with the generous help of many friends in the international community, including all our neighbors."
On this note, he thanked all countries and international organizations present at the conference for their contributions and assistance to Afghanistan since 2001.
Abdullah, who has been on an official visit to Tajikstan, also thanked his host, President Emomali Rahmon for his leadership on the critical and timely issue of Water for Life, and water sustainability.
He said that Tajikistan had initiated the process of Water for Life more than a decade ago at the United Nations, and today the country had brought all parties together to look back at the collective achievements, lessons learnt, best practices, remaining challenges, and the way forward.
Among the dignitaries attending the conference is United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. His central Asia trip will cover five countries in as many days. They are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
Ahead of his departure for the region he said his aim was to support and promote a common response to many cross-border challenges central Asia faces – from environmental degradation to drug trafficking and water scarcity.