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UN Sponsored Forum Discusses Global Threat to Freshwater Resources

Delegates from some 50 nations have discussed the global threat to clean freshwater resources at a conference in Tajikistan's capital of Dushanbe.

A central topic of discussion at the U.N. sponsored International Forum on Fresh Water was how to share the plentiful water supplies of mountainous Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with drier, agricultural Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

The AFP news agency reports participants resolved to boost cooperation among nations that share the same river basin.

Other topics addressed were water contamination, soil degradation, desertification, and erosion. An environmental official from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Marc Baltes, told attendees that a lack of institutional support and political repression can trigger environmental conflicts.

During the conference U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan told participants in a written statement that the quality and amount of fresh water available is decreasing worldwide, due to pollution, overconsumption, and poor management.