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“The Tajik Golden Heritage” book

Tajikistan, feel the friendship

Tajikistan Nature

Tajikistan: Statement 2009 UN Climate Change Summit


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Greetings from the Land of a Thousand Lakes to the Rooftop of the World!

By Muzaffardjon Khudoikulov*

Water has been the defining element on the route from my homeland Tajikistan to my current place of residence, Finland. I have been living in Finland for several years now, but I have grown up by the river Karatog, where I learned to respect the power of water and its importance to the wellbeing of people. Water does not only give life to everything that we see around us, it also enables us to improve our lives in many ways. 

Finland’s national landscape is of forests and lakes. There are 187 888 lakes in Finland and 68% of the land is forest. Finland is situated by the Baltic Sea and it has large ground water reserves. As everyone who has ever been in Tajikistan knows, our national landscape is that of mountains and rivers. The highest mountains that feed most rivers of Central Asia, beautiful canyons, hot valleys with subtropical climate where cotton fields change into grape vines and apricot gardens. Tajikistan is all that. A local saying summarizes the vital importance of water: it is not land but water that grows crops. In the past peasants used to say: "Do not ask me how much land I have, better ask me how much water I have". Tajikistan controls 55, 4 % of water in Central Asia.

Today over 950 rivers, multiple glaciers, reservoirs, dams, lakes and hydropower facilities provide wellbeing for the people of Tajikistan. Thus it is very important to support our President Emomali Rahmon and the Government of the Republic in their aspiration to use the potential of water for economic development of the state and to increase of wellbeing of the nation. It is also important to achieve energy independence in an environmentally friendly (eco-friendly) way, building hydroelectric power plants such as Sangtuda -1, Sangtuda -2, Rogun and Shurob. In one of his speeches the Minister of Foreign Affairs Hamrokhon Zarifi said: Just in Panj River, which is the main inflow of Amudarya, it is economically reasonable to build 14 hydro stations, ranging from 300 Mw to 4000 Mw, with energy generation capacity of 86,3 bln. Kw hour annually.

In other words Tajikistan could export hydro energy to its neighboring states and thus receive a great deal of money in its budget for economic and social progress of the state. Tajikistan has gigantic water reserves and it is the leader of Central Asia in governing water resources and in production, transmission and export of electricity. There are significant electricity shortages especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan and their need of energy is on the increase. Importing electricity is becoming more important in their strategies of socio-economic growth and strengthening of wellbeing of their inhabitants. That way, the actualization of hydro energetic projects of Tajikistan will enable growth of wellbeing not only in the country itself but also in the neighboring countries of Central Asia, Pakistan and especially the socio-economic awakening of Afghanistan. The realization of CASA-1000 project and CASAREM (Central Asia/South Asia Regional Electricity Market) programme with the use of hydro energetic potentials of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will no doubt strengthen and deepen economic ties and political stability in one of the crucial geopolitical regions of the world.

As I have learned here in Finland water can be useful not only in production of electricity. There are several companies here that sell Finnish spring water all over the world. Beautiful scenery can also be a valuable resource in developing tourism. The population of Finland is 5, 3 million. Only in 2010 5, 7 million tourists visited the country and brought in 1, 6 billion Euros. One of most important economic potentials of Finland, as well as that of Tajikistan, is nature, including the water system. Development of tourism is an important task for Tajikistan and in doing that our multiple glaciers, rivers and lakes must be used effectively. Thorough study and use of Finland’s experience in these fields will always be useful for Tajikistan.

Tajikistan has large water and mineral resources and great potential to develop its tourism. Taking advantage of these sectors will lead to rapid socio-economic growth of the state and significant improvements of living conditions of the people. Our nation is wise, talented, hard-working and determined. For a better future it is capable of patiently withstanding temporary difficulties. Tajikistan is ready for all sorts of constructive co-operation and in connection to this I call all business people and investors in Tajikistan like abroad, especially in Europe, to more actively invest in the economy of a young, democratic state with a stable political situation and a pleasant business environment.

Tajikistan has achieved a lot in recent years but we must not slow down. If we do not change and try to reform our system and implement programs aimed at bringing more wealth and democracy to our people, someone from outside will formulate a program for us. Water is a vitally important part in building a better society both for the nation as well as for its economy, which then vicariously has positive effects on all inhabitants. We should understand the full value of our natural resources, harness them for the success of our nation and protect them for its future. At the beginning it may look difficult, but I do believe it is possible. And everything begins with a belief…

*The Chairman of Finland – Tajikistan Friendship Association