The European Union (EU) was represented by the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, at the High Level International Conference on the International Decade for Action "Water for Sustainable Development" that took place in Dushanbe on June 20-22.

During his speech, the Commissioner stressed the important role of water in achieving the 2030 Agenda, and the commitment of the EU and its Member States to promote universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services, according to the EU Delegation to Tajikistan.

He also highlighted the importance of a 'nexus' approach to meet the growing demand for water, food security, energy and ecosystems. 

The Conference reportedly also represented an opportunity to stress the EU's efforts to promote transboundary water cooperation at both the European and global levels – including through important international agreements.  The EU supports regional approaches to water cooperation, given its importance not just in ensuring a more efficient use of water but also as an instrument to maintain peace and security worldwide.

Over the last decade, the European Union has provided more than 2.5 billion euros to improve water and sanitation in 62 countries - mainly in the Africa, Caribbean, Pacific and European neighborhood regions.  EU blended finance initiatives triggered a further 4 billion euros in loans for 44 water and sanitation projects.

The EU is also working to improve transboundary water cooperation and the nexus between water, energy, food security and ecosystems at both the European and global level.

In this framework, the EU launched together with Germany the Nexus Dialogues Programme in order to bring the nexus topic at the ministerial policy level and advance towards the production of endorsed policy recommendations and action plans at the national and regional level while influencing the design of strategic investments and reduce trade-offs among the sectors.  In Central Asia the Nexus Dialogues are building coherence at the national level between the different Ministries in charge of water, energy and food security before establishing the regional dialogue, making the Nexus challenges and opportunities highly visible in the Central Asia region which is one of the five target region of the program, with a dedicated budget of EUR 1.3 million.

The European Union, composed of 28 Member States, is the world’s largest aid donor. Tajikistan receives the main share of EU's bilateral assistance to Central Asia: €251 million for 2014-2020.  During this period, the development cooperation between the EU and Tajikistan covers three key sectors: education - focusing on secondary general education and TVET, health – focusing on Primary Healthcare and Health Financing, and rural development - including support to agrarian reform, rural entrepreneurship, irrigation and water sector reform, as well as promoting natural resources management.  The EU also supports reforms of the country's governance systems, trade policies and Public Finance Management.

Tajikistan also receives regional and thematic assistance in areas like border management, drug control, education, democracy and human rights, non-State actors, energy, transport, SME development, peace and stability, and water/environment/nuclear safety.  The EU has been active in Tajikistan since 1992 and provides approximately EUR 35 million annually in development assistance in grants.