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Kyrgyzstan’s economic growth may slow down over glacier meltdown in next 100 years

September 29, 2013, 1:30 UTC+3

The area of glaciers in Kyrgyzstan has already reduced by 30 percent due to global warming

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UNITED NATIONS, September 29 (Itar-Tass) - Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian republic, faces a quick reduction of the area of glaciers and snow fields that may melt down at all by 2100 that will result in considerable slowdown of economic growth in the country and the whole region, Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldayev said at the 68th session of the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday.

“Nowadays the water is the most important strategic resource for Kyrgyzstan’s economic growth,” he noted. In the view of the minister, the role of water increased sharply over global climate change that already has a negative impact on the whole region, primarily on the condition of water resources.

“The area of glaciers in Kyrgyzstan has already reduced by 30 percent due to global warming,” Abdyldayev noted. “According to preliminary forecasts of specialists, without taking urgent measures almost all glaciers and snow fields will have disappeared in the country by 2100, the thawing waters of which are the main source to fill up the rivers in the Central Asian region,” he said.

The development of this negative tendency may lead “to a considerable fall of the river run-off in Kyrgyzstan and subsequently to social and economic tension in the region as a whole,” the Kyrgyz foreign minister said.

Abdyldayev noted that international financial organizations should give assistance to Central Asian countries to solve the problem of water deficit, particularly in the shift to rational use of water resources.

“The development of the hydropower industry is strategically important for stable socio-economic progress in the region,” he added. “We are convinced that this will promote comprehensive resolution of many current and future problems,” he noted. “The construction of big hydropower stations should be considered as one of mechanisms of ‘clean’ development. We are prepared to participate in the exchange of the best practices in management of water resources, water use and the construction of water irrigation systems,” he added.

The total area of glaciers and snow fields in Kyrgyzstan makes about 8,000 square kilometres. Their meltdown influences the filling capacity of the rivers and climate change in Central Asia. Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan use these water resources for irrigation, electric power generation, drinking and industrial needs.

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