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SETTING UP A COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT

 Great attention is being paid in Uzbekistan to the solution of education related issues and creation of decent conditions for all participants in the educational process.

The Law on Education adopted with the objective of raising the quality of education and training highly qualified specialists and the National Program for Training Specialists serve as an important legal foundation for introducing further improvements into this sphere.

These issues were in the center of attention of the participants in the roundtable discussion on the subject “The legal foundations of the non-government educational institutions’ activities” organized by the Committee on science, education, culture and sport under the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis jointly with the Ministry of Public Education.

The event participants have specifically noted the high level recognition of the results of content and quality of education and training personnel, which meet the international standards, as an outcome of efficient work carried out in Uzbekistan.

Moreover, the creation of a competitive environment between the government and non-government educational establishments acquires an ever-growing significance. To date 821 non-government educational establishments have received licenses on a competitive basis for conducting this activity in the system of education and training personnel in the republic. These include 194 non-government pre-school educational establishments; 31establishments of general secondary education, 102 establishments of out of school education; 1 higher educational institution, as well as more than 490 operating re-training and personnel qualification improvement courses.

The “round table” participants discussed the quality of training and education of young people at non-government educational institutions and developed recommendations on the improvement of their efficiency.


 SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK

Special attention deserves the organization of a roundtable discussion on the topic “Legislation and practices of supporting the development of renewable sources of energy: national and foreign experience” held early June at the initiative of the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan jointly with the UNDP, the OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan and other international organizations.

The plenum participants noted some shortcomings in the activities of the Ecological Movement. In particular, some territorial divisions do not use the potential of members of the territorial Kengashes to the full extent; they do not cooperate with the NGOs at the proper level, and do not pay sufficient attention to dissemination of information about themselves through the local and national mass media.

Tasks were outlined on the improvement of the Ecomovement and its regional structures’ activities, as well as on the role of MPs in the solution of problems linked with the wastes, preservation of the Aral Sea area genetic fund, organization of environmental control by public inspectors, improvement of the continuous ecologic education and solution of other pressing environmental issues.

The Ecomovement and its deputies’ group drew up special attention to the realization of the tasks and priority directions outlines by the President of the country in his report at the gala meeting, devoted to the 24th anniversary of the Constitution, and in his speech at the joint session of the chambers of Oliy Majlis.


 ECOLOGY AND YOUNG PEOPLE

At the Tashkent chemical technology institute, a round table conversation has taken place on work being done in Uzbekistan to protect biological diversity and tasks for the future.

The event held at the initiative of the Tashkent city territorial department of the Uzbekistan Ecological Movement was attended by members of the eco-movement group of deputies in the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis (parliament) of the Republic of Uzbekistan, active members of this movement, specialists of the Tashkent city nature protection committee and the independent institute for monitoring civil society formation, professors, teachers, students and journalists.

A deputy of the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, O.Mamarahimov; and others said that the creation of a firm legal basis under the leadership of First President Islam Karimov for the regulation of relations in the ecological sphere was an important factor in the rational use of natural resources and the minimization of the negative effect on the environment.

For the purpose of reducing the negative impact of global and regional ecological problems, in 1995 this country joined the UN international convention on biological diversity. Large-scale work is being carried out in this area on the basis of a national strategy and an action plan that have been adopted.

In this country, a system of natural territories has been created for the protection of nature reserves, national parks, biospheric and wildlife reserves, the protection of the water of the rivers flowing through the country’s territory and marshlands.

Work in this area is being stepped up further on the basis of the new editions of a law, adopted on 19 September 2016, on animal life protection and a law, adopted on 21 September 2016, on plant life protection.

During the round table conversation, speeches were heard on results being achieved in the area of preservation of the country’s biological diversity, on the essence and significance of the new editions of the laws on plant life and animal life protection and their role in ensuring ecological stability. There was an exchange of views on the observance of the principles of the ecological laws and on cooperation among state and public organizations and educational establishments in raising society’s ecological culture.


 FOR THE PURITY OF THE ENVIRONMENT

The town of Gulistan has played host to a training workshop devoted to the subject of global climate change and its coverage in the mass media.

Reports were delivered on the enhancement of the population’s ecological culture, activation of its involvement in the struggle for the purity of the environment, and not harming the flora and fauna.

The book “Global climate change and journalism” published by the Center for retraining of journalists was presented within the workshop program.

Special attention was paid to recommendations on the preparation of materials on the ecological subject. A documentary devoted to environmental protection issues was screened at the event.


 HOW DOES THE MUSEUM OF NATURE ENRICH ITS COLLECTION?

UT continues to acquaint its readers with interesting exhibits of the capital museums. This time, the center of attraction turns the Tashkent Museum of Natural History and its exhibit Turan tiger in the Tugai section.

The State Museum of Nature of Uzbekistan is the oldest in Central Asia. It was founded on 12 July 1876 on the basis of the natural science collections of stuffed animals caught in various natural areas of Uzbekistan.

The nature of Uzbekistan is unique in that it represents all seasons, and almost all the landscapes that exist on the planet. In various regions of the country one can see harsh winter, blooming spring, hot summer and golden autumn, and also visit the mountain, desert or steppe areas.

One of the most exalted animals, bоth worldwide and in our country is a tiger. The Turan tiger lived in Uzbekistan until 1957. Predators with a bright yellow coat color with long black and brown stripes lived mostly in reed bushes along the river banks. Turan tigers ate mostly gazelles, antelopes, kulans, roe deer, and wild boars. Except those species the reeds were home for various birds, including gray heron, black-headed gull, herring gull, bittern, pheasants and many others.

Prince Golitsyn killed the last tiger in 1906 in the vicinity of Tashkent. A stuffed tiger killed by the Prince decorated the collection of the Tashkent Museum of Nature until 1970, when fire destroyed the museum collection.

Today, the Turan tiger is replaced by the stuffed Indian tiger, stored in the collection of the museum. An interesting story about this exhibit shared Sarvar Abdullayev, head of the scientific and educational department of the Tashkent Museum of Nature.

In 1966, Tashkent hosted talks between the Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and the Pakistani President Mohammad Ayub Khan. One of the representatives of the Indian delegation visited the Tashkent Zoo, where he saw a lonely Indian male tiger.

Later, after the conclusion of the Tashkent Declaration between India and Pakistan, for the settlement of the situation India as a friendly gesture sent to Tashkent the Indian female tiger.

Upon arrival, the tigress was delivered to the Tashkent Zoo. But, unfortunately, the tiger in the zoo, did not interested in the female friend, and did not want to accept her. When the mating season came, and the tigress again tried to approach the male, he killed her. It subsequently emerged that the male tiger suffered a groin hernia and could not create the future offspring. This was the reason for such aggressive behavior.

The Museum of Nature closely cooperates with the circus and the zoo. After the death of the animals, especially the unique and rare ones, they are transferred to the Tashkent Museum of Nature. This is a good practice because taxidermists, the specialists who create stuffed animals in their image, perpetuate the different subspecies, and show them to the children, adolescents and adults. Likewise, the Indian tiger got into the museum.

The uniqueness of this exhibit, in addition to the story, also considered the fact that a stuffed Indian tiger was created by the founder of monumental taxidermy M. A. Zaslavsky. He is the author of many monumental aids, textbooks and encyclopedias, which are still used to train modern taxidermists.

“This story shared me my father-in-law, who in the last century was the pathologist. He told many interesting stories and customs of the past. For example, asking him about how earlier little birds were treated, he said that every house had a place in the yard, which was thoroughly clean out, and then it was possible to scatter crumbs to feed the birds,” Sarvar Abdullayev told.

Once again, the customs of the Uzbek people show that people here live in harmony with nature and its inhabitants. And the Museum of Nature is a unique place worth to be visited.


 

SAFETY CHECKS

The Tashkent Regional directorate of the State Committee for Nature Protection, in cooperation with the Center for Hydro-meteorological Service of the Republic, has carried out a raid on the assessment of the ecological conditions of the Chirchik River on the territory of Yuqorichirchik district of the Tashkent region as part of environmental monitoring.

Specialists from the laboratory of the Chirchik inspection of analytical control collected and analyzed water from the river sample sites. According to results of the analysis from the study area there were no observed cases of exceeded content of nitrites, nitrates, ammonia and chloride. Maximum permissible concentration (MPC) of these substances in the Waterway of Chirchik River was not exceeded.

Officials of the regional directorate on the protection of nature underlined that the Chirchik River is one of the most important waterways feeding three densely populated urban settlements – Ghazalkent, the town of the same name Chirchik and Tashkent – capital of the Republic.

To secure that the river remained clean, the Tashkent Regional Committee, district and municipal inspectorates for Nature Protection conduct regular preventive raids, seminars, discussions, and conferences. Posters and leaflets, calling for the protection of nature and the rational use of natural resources are distributed among the population, and a “hot line” is opened for direct connection and communication.


 

ECO-FRIENDLY AND SAFE PRODUCTS

Samarkand Agricultural Institute has hosted an international conference entitled ‘Development of Regional and International Cooperation in Central Asia: Important Issues in Agricultural Trade’.

The participants positioned food security, cultivation of high-quality agricultural products and preservation of clean environment as issues of global importance. They separately highlighted the ongoing work in Uzbekistan in this area, the measures taken to meet the needs of the population in quality products, and increase export opportunities.

“Uzbekistan is well-positioned in this respect. More than 170 kinds of domestically grown products are exported to more than 80 countries. The current mission of the agricultural sector is to increase productivity with extensive use of modern technologies, and ensure efficient use of natural resources,” noted FAO Trade and Markets Marketing Economist Yekaterina Krivonos.

The conference touched upon such issues as reduction of volumes of environmentally friendly consumer products, reduction of water resources, high level of desertification, and increase in world population. The participants exchanged views on the need to maintain soil fertility under these conditions, and rationally use natural resources. The guests were introduced to the activity of farms in the region​​, facilities on processing and storage of agricultural products.


 

AIR QUALITY MAP

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a new map with country data on the impact of air pollution on human health. The map highlights areas within countries, where air pollution exceeds acceptable international norms.

Experts of the World Health Organization report about speedy air pollution, especially in countries with medium and low incomes. Thus, 92% of the world population breathes air, the quality of which does not meet international standards for maximum permissible levels of contamination.

The World Health Organization specialists say that about 3 million people die every year from diseases associated with exposure to contaminated air. Poor indoor air quality also has a negative impact on health. In 2012 alone, more than 6.5 million people died for this reason. “The new WHO map shows the countries the most contaminated areas within their boundaries. It also reflects improved underlying indicators, which should be taken as exemplary in subsequent monitoring,” WHO Assistant Director-General Flavia Bustreo said.


 

GREEN ECONOMY: AN APPEALING EXPERIENCE

Austria’s expertise in the implementation of green economy strategy has been studied by the delegation of Uzbekistan composed of experts of the State Committee for Nature Protection, Ministry of Economy and the Ecological Movement, during their recent travel to Vienna.

The visit was organized in accordance with the agreements reached between Uzbekistan and Austria on cooperation in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development, as well as within the OSCE project “Support for the implementation of environmental initiatives in the Republic of Uzbekistan”. The purpose sought by the trip was the enhancement of bilateral relations in environmental policy and realization of clean technologies.

In Vienna, meetings took place in the OSCE headquarters and offices of organizations on environmental issues. Uzbek specialists acquainted with the achievements of Austria also in the introduction of clean technologies, rational use of trans-boundary water resources, waste water treatment, advancement of environmental monitoring system, development of eco-tourism, utilization of renewable energy sources. Particularly interesting was the mechanism working in Austria of interaction with the general public on environmental issues, in particular on the construction of huge hydraulic objects, use of genetically modified organisms and other topics.


 

NATURE PROTECTION TECHNOLOGIES DO NOT STAND IDLING

A Center for retraining and qualification improvement of personnel of the sphere of nature protection is being set up under the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the protection of nature.

Mandatory training of specialists of organizations authorized to carry out the government, departmental, and industrial environmental control, as well as developing environmental regulations projects will undergo compulsory training at the courses in the Center.

Re-training of specialists will be conducted in the course of their professional activities, while their qualification improvement will be organized once in five years on a chargeable basis in compliance with the terms and conditions of a contract agreed between the center and the customer. Specialists of the State Committee on the protection of nature will be trained for free at the Center’s courses and on a paid basis – at the refresher courses.

Specialists carrying out public ecological control and such other persons shall have the right to take training at the Center’s courses on a voluntary contract basis for a fee.

For the time of training period experts retain their positions at the principal place of their employment and their average wages. Duration of study at the training courses will make up 10 weeks, and that at the qualification improvement courses – minimum two weeks.

After completion of training courses the specialists shall defend their graduation project papers. The attestation commission will take a decision on the results of interviews with the graduates, as well as with consideration of their professional activity indicators. A relevant diploma or a certificate is issued on the basis of the attestations commission’s decision. Those specialists who fail to pass the attestation exams will have to take another course on a contract basis within one year and take another exam.


ARAL SEA’S PLANETARY PREDICAMENT ADDRESSED THROUGH JOINT EFFORTS

During the presidency of Uzbekistan in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) (2013-2016), a third action plan to assist countries in the Aral Sea Basin Program (ASBP-3) was implemented, monitoring the progress of which was carried out by the Executive Committee of IFAS jointly with the IFAS Agency for management of projects in the Aral Sea Basin and Global Environment Facility (GEF IFAS) and its subsidiaries, founder states of the Fund, regional and international organizations and donors.

Monitoring results have showed a significant increase in the financial contribution not only by the founding states of the Fund, but also international organizations and donors in comparison with the two previous programs of action to assist countries in the Aral Sea basin. Indicative of this is that within the framework of ASBP-3, out of 501 national projects worth $15.04 billion in Uzbekistan 295 projects worth $6.05 billion have been implemented, 125 projects worth $7.3 billion are in the implementation phase, and 81 projects amounting to $1.7 billion are at the launch stage.

These projects are aimed at construction and reconstruction of medical, educational and sports facilities, residential houses in rural areas, roads and railway lines, bridges, power lines, irrigation systems and other hydraulic works. In addition, they have covered land improvement and implementation of the principles of integrated water resources management and modern technologies of water conservation, providing the population with quality drinking water, forest plantations on the dried bоttom of the Aral Sea and the mountainous terrain, the creation of local water bodies, development of the legal framework and institutional systems, and much more.

Over the past three years of Uzbekistan’s presidency in the Fund, the Executive Committee of IFAS, including with the participation of GEF Agency of IFAS, has organized more than 200 meetings, negotiations, forums and consultations. Cooperation has been established with reputable international financial institutions and development agencies, including in particular the UN agencies like UNDP, UNECE, UN FAO, UNEP, UNICEF, WHO, ESCAP, UNESCO, UNRCCA, the World Bank, ADB, IDB, international cooperation agencies of Germany, Switzerland, Republic of Korea, the United States, Turkey, Japan, other international organizations and donors to attract their attention and efforts to the implementation of practical actions to improve the environmental, socio-economic and water situation in the Aral Sea basin.

In this context, a vivid example was the forum that received worldwide publicity, namely, the international conference entitled “Development of Cooperation in the Aral Sea Region to Mitigate the Consequences of Environmental Catastrophe”, organized at the initiative of the President of IFAS, the first President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, on 28-29 October 2014 in Urgench. The conference sought to help intensify international cooperation and mobilize resources of the donor community for the implementation of practical actions aimed at improving the situation in the Aral Sea region.

As a result of the grand event, a number of documents was signed with international and foreign governmental financial institutions, donor countries and reached an agreement on the implementation of national and regional projects worth 3 billion U.S. dollars in the Aral Sea Basin, with the contribution of preferential long-term loans totaling $1.9 billion and provision of technical assistance funds and grants in the amount of $200 million.

In the meantime, the GEF Agency of IFAS as an international organization actively cooperates with the international community in the implementation of joint projects and programs in the Aral Sea basin. One of such schemes is the one entitled “Application of Integrated Water Resources Management and Smart Water Technology through the Introduction of Information and Communication Technologies in Uzbekistan”, realized in collaboration with the Korean Corporation for Water Resources (K-Water). The project is at the stage of implementation, as a result of its completion a national information system for monitoring water resources in Uzbekistan will be established.

At the moment, dynamic efforts are underway with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to raise funds of the Green Climate Fund and Global Environment Facility for comprehensive examination and restoration of degraded lands of the drained Aral Sea.

In addition, a project to study wetlands in the Aral Sea region to overcome the negative consequences of the catastrophe, GEF Agency of IFAS actively cooperates with the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), in conjunction with which the ornithological research on wetlands of the southern Aral Sea was carried out in 2014-2016.

It should also be noted that negotiations are in progress with other international financial donors to continue monitoring the biodiversity of wetlands in the Aral Sea region in 2017.

The data obtained in the study will be used in the process of inclusion of the Sudochye system of lakes in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar List).

Works undertaken is expected to facilitate the improvement in the socio-economic and ecological situation in the Aral Sea area and the Aral Sea basin in general.

Further implementation of the works carried out started in the period of the presidency of the Republic of Uzbekistan will continue by the GEF Agency of IFAS, which was created by the decision of the President of IFAS, the first President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov on May 12, 1998, for the implementation of projects, programs and emergency aid to the population of the Aral Sea basin.

At the same time, it becomes obvious that the enormity of the challenges to be addressed requires effective coordination and the pooling of resources at bоth the regional and international levels.

In view of the abovementioned, the GEF Agency of IFAS calls on the world community to mobilize efforts and resources for the implementation of specific programs and projects in the Aral Sea basin in order to mitigate the negative effects of the environmental disaster caused by the drying up of the Aral Sea.

reference

In accordance with the decision of the heads of founding states of IFAS, chairmanship in the Fund for the next three years was assumed by the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2013.

Under the decision (№ 1-854) of the first President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the President of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, IFAS Executive Committee was established in Tashkent on August 2, 2013.

During the chairmanship of the Republic of Uzbekistan, IFAS activity aimed at the implementation of programs and projects in the Aral Sea basin, particularly the Program of Action of the Aral Sea Basin Countries for 2011-2015 (ASBP-3), as well as other programs worked out by the Republic of Uzbekistan to eliminate the consequences of the Aral Sea drying and prevent disaster in the Aral Sea ecosystems, approved by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and circulated as an official document of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

IFAS continues to remain a unique regional platform for the realization of these efforts.

Murod MELIEV, manager for cooperation with international organizations of GEF agency at the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea


 

 Rivers of Energy

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In the next five years, Uzbekistan is planning to upgrade and streamline the operation of several hydropower plants by means of cutting edge technologies.

Hydroelectric power plants (HPP) are seen as a very specific type of power generation. Their operation does not require fuel, and electricity is obtained by ‘green way’. However, their construction, and operation in particular, requires special attention to all the processes that take place inside and around the station. Uzbekistan embarked on staged modernization of existing plants yet in the beginning of the 90s of last century. Time zips along, new technologies and equipment come to significantly improve the effectiveness of power generation and bring security of all processes to a new level.

Domestic hydropower plants generate about 11.4% of the total power received. Despite the index, the importance of this sector for the economy should not be underestimated. It is important to realize that hydro energy is not just the production of energy. It also addresses water supply and irrigation problems that are highly relevant for our region, with its traditions of irrigated agriculture. In addition, owing to maneuverability and opportunity of quick and drastic increase in power generation, hydroelectric power plants are seen as a key element of secure operation of the entire power system. That is why Uzbekenergo has been attaching importance to the development of this area.

The company is planning to upgrade and renovate 19 operating hydropower plants by the end of 2020 for the rational use of energy resources and renewable energy development. As a result, their capacity should increase to 118.5 MW with additional generation of 600 million kW/h of electricity, thereby ensuring saving of 250 million cubic meters of natural gas.

The implementation of 30 major investment projects on the establishment of new, upgrade and reconstruction of existing industries will be continued. They envisage the introduction of modern technologies of combined production of electricity and thermal energy on the basis of combined cycle power plants, the increase of the share of solid fuels in the fuel and energy balance through the reconstruction of operating coal-fired power plants, as well as construction of intersystem transmission lines and supporting substations for the transmission of electric power and energy to the deficient power units.


ВАЖНОЕ ЗВЕНО В ЦЕПИ ЭКОСИСТЕМ

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В Узбекистане  одним из приоритетных направлений государственной политики является охрана окружающей среды, рациональное использование природных ресурсов, сохранение и восстановление природных экосистем.

Интенсивная хозяйственная деятельность человека без учета возможностей природы и закономерностей ее развития привела к возникновению известных коллизий, среди которых — эрозия почв, опустынивание, обезлесение, резкое сокращение биоразнообразия и прочее.

Дабы привлечь внимание мировой общественности к бедственному положению некоторых вымирающих видов животных, а также с целью осознания необходимости защиты окружающей среды ежегодно 4 октября во всем мире отмечается Всемирный день защиты животных, учрежденный на Международном конгрессе сторонников движения в защиту природы, проходившем в 1931 году во Флоренции (Италия).

Нельзя не признать важную роль фауны в жизни человека. Причем это касается не только диких ее видов, но и домашних, которые становятся частью семьи. В последние годы мероприятия, посвященные Всемирному дню защиты животных, ежегодно проводятся общественными организациями более чем в 60 странах мира.

Из-за бесконтрольного вмешательства человека в законы природы на планете уже исчезло 150 видов млекопитающих, в основном крупных, и 139 видов птиц.  В 2012 году в Международную Красную книгу, изданную Международным союзом охраны природы, вошло 63 417 видов редких животных, которым грозит исчезновение. В Красную книгу Узбекистана, изданную в 2010 году, включено 184 редких и находящихся под угрозой исчезновения вида. К примеру, численность сайгака, одного из уникальных вида фауны Узбекистана, сократилась более чем в 25 раз и в настоящее время составляет всего лишь 5—7 тысяч голов.

6 октября внимание человечества обращено к проблеме сохранения среды обитания фауны планеты Земля. В этот день, начиная с 1979 года, ежегодно во всем мире отмечается Всемирный день охраны мест обитаний. Он учрежден в рамках Бернской конвенции о сохранении европейской дикой природы и естественной среды обитания и направлен на привлечение внимания мировой общественности к губительному воздействию антропогенного фактора на окружающую среду.

В период независимости республика присоединилась к Конвенциям о биологическом разнообразии, о международной торговле видами дикой фауны и флоры, находящимися под угрозой исчезновения (CITES), об охране всемирного культурного и природного наследия, об охране мигрирующих видов диких животных, о водно-болотных угодьях, имеющих международное значение, главным образом в качестве мест обитания водоплавающих птиц, а также другим международным документам. Подписание межгосударственных соглашений в данной сфере сыграло важную роль в решении вопросов охраны, использования и воспроизводства биологических ресурсов, в том числе животного мира. Кроме того, в республике принято более 30 нормативно-правовых актов, регламентирующих отношения в этой сфере.

По всему миру в этот день силами природоохранных и экологических организаций проводятся мероприятия экологической направленности. Для того чтобы с лица Земли не исчезли все дикие животные и растения, создаются охраняемые заповедные территории, на которых любая разрушительная деятельность человека запрещена — заповедники, национальные парки, заказники, резерваты, экоцентры и другое. Если уничтожить эти островки, то планета уже никогда не сможет снова стать красивой и биологически разнообразной, радовать взор людей птицами, грациозными животными и чудесными видами дикой природы. За годы независимости в Узбекистане создана развернутая сеть охраняемых природных территорий, где функционирует 24 охраняемых природных объекта, состоящих из восьми заповедников, двух национальных парков, одного биосферного резервата, 12 заказников, одного питомника для разведения джейранов, куланов, лошадей Пржевальского.

Сегодня с уверенностью можно сказать, что накопленный опыт по охране и использованию животного мира и среды его обитания, а также его восстановлению и воспроизводству в полной мере нашел отражение в Законе Республики Узбекистан «Об охране и использовании животного мира» в новой редакции, который вступил в силу 20 сентября этого года. В нем учтены результаты изучения национального опыта в данной области, практики законодательного регулирования отношений в сфере в ряде зарубежных стран, а также обеспечения реализации положений международных документов, к которым присоединился Узбекистан.

Реализация закона в новой редакции будет способствовать усилению комплексных мер по обеспечению безопасности путей миграции, среды обитания и мест размножения диких животных, эффективности правоприменительной практики, обеспечению правопорядка, а также усилению ответственности юридических и физических лиц.

Последовательная реализация осуществляемых мер в нашей стране  для обеспечения охраны и рационального использования животного мира, сохранения экосистем с широким вовлечением в этот процесс гражданского общества направлена на утверждение принципов права каждого гражданина на благоприятную окружающую среду и разумного пользования природными ресурсами без нанесения ущерба будущим поколениям.


CLEAN WATER FOR EACH HOME

clean_water

A water distribution station Yarimchi has been reconstructed and commissioned on the territory of the rural citizens’ assembly Buzyop in Amudarya district of Karakalpakstan.

The $1.1 million project is funded by the Asian Development Bank.

“We started the implementation of this initiative in April last year, aiming at meeting the needs of the population in clean drinking water. In short terms, we revamped the building of the pumping station, laid 21 km of medium-pressure water mains, and laid 11.7 km supply tubes to houses. The water distribution station has acquired a new look after the reconstruction, and was equipped with up-to-date energy-efficient pumps,” said the representative of the contracting organization Gofurjon Ruziyev.

The follow-up reconstruction and repair of water distribution stations will continue in Hojeyli, Kegeyli, Shumanai and Beruni districts of Karakalpakstan in accordance with the drinking water supply program.


PRESERVING THE OZONE LAYER

cooperation

The State Committee for Protection of Nature of Uzbekistan has held an event at the Tashkentland Park devoted to the International Day of Protection of the Ozone Layer.

Taking part in it were representatives of the government and public organizations, teachers and students of general educational institutions, and pupils of the Houses of Mercy.

It was stressed at the opening ceremony that our State had accepted in 1993 the Vienna Convention on the protection of the ozone layer and the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete it.

In order to prevent the expansion of the ozone hole and the negative impact of ultraviolet rays on human health the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution in 2005 aimed at regulating the import and export from the Republic of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and the products containing them. Strict customs control had been established to introduce the procedure of these products’ import and export to combat their illegal sales. However, attention is also paid to the continuous improvement of the environmental knowledge of specialists of the enterprises and industries for cooling, ventilation and domestic services; the level of the customs officers’ knowledge in the establishment of detectors at the customs posts that help detect ODS.

“The objective of conducting this undertaking is to provide the younger generation with information on the ozone layer’s impact on the health and the environment, and on the measures carried out for its protection,” said a functionary of the State Committee for the protection of nature Khaniya Asilbekova. “Five centers for processing ODS have been commissioned on our country. They are engaged in the processing of hazardous substances used in the industrial sector, agricultural and household appliances. There are more than 100 enterprises in the country, which installed the ODS units to reduce the negative impact of pollution.”

The pupils of the Houses of Mercy erected a mock ozone-layer as a symbol of its preservation on the lawn of the park.

 


NEW DOMAIN OF COOPERATION

 cooperation

Public ecological control has become a new domain of cooperation in environmental protection between governmental bodies and public organizations.

In accordance with the Law on Environmental Control, citizens’ self-governing bodies and nongovernmental organizations can shape a system of public ecological control inspectors.

A seminar put together by the State Committee of Environmental Protection focused on this theme, drawing members of citizen assemblies and NGOs.

The participants familiarized themselves with the main directions of environmental legislation, including the role of civil society in the implementation of public environmental control, their cooperation with state authorities.

The gathering discussed violation of laws in the area of atmospheric air protection, land and water resources, flora and fauna, waste management, as well as the basics and principles of carrying out public environmental audit.

To ensure coordination of the activities of state bodies and civil society institutions, a road map for the development of public environmental control in the republic has been developed and implemented. A list over 20,000 candidates for public environmental control inspector from among mahalla activists, academics and NGO representatives has been created.

On the basis of 14 regional committees for environmental protection, information and resource centers and methodology have been set up. They are provided with reference books and information materials.

The State Committee has developed a procedure for the training of public environmental control inspectors agreed with other governmental and public organizations.

The seminar included a presentation of an electronic guideline, “Environmental Legislation”, that encompasses all rules and laws regulating environmental protection affairs.

 


FOCUS ON EACH DETAIL

aral_sea

A project on modernization of equipment at Bozsuv and Salar aeration stations and introduction of modern energy saving technologies has been underway in the capital. It is expected to not just improve quality of wastewater, but also reduce the amount of energy consumed.

Tashkent has one of the Central Asia’s most developed water and sewage systems. Sewage is carried through 2,500 km of fixed networks and sewers with almost 100,000 wells, 30 accidental discharges, 39 artificial structures.

In addition, there are 13 pumping stations that pump sewage around the clock. The collected water is fed to the wastewater treatment plant for its full biological treatment. They are capable of treating up to 1.9 million cubic meters of water per day, which fully meets the needs of the capital. The sanitary and epidemiological service constantly monitors the process of wastewater treatment.

The Salar aeration station alone is designed for full biological treatment and processing of nearly 830,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day. The application of up-to-date and high-tech wastewater treatment, which envisages disinfection and filtration, would promote water conservation and preservation of sanitary and epidemiological environment.

In order to improve the quality of filtering water treatment plants replace old equipment with modern, which will delay the smaller impurities coming from sinks, increasing the efficiency of the process. In addition, four old blower units are replaced with new energy-saving ones, which will ensure trouble-free and automatically controlled air supply in the aeration station.

The reduction of total energy consumption at the stations by 10% is another project objective. This goal will be achieved through the replacement of 26 obsolete pumps into modern energy-efficient devices.


Информация по выполнению Страновой программы достойного труда в Республике Узбекистан в сотрудничестве с МОТ, Всемирным банком и др.

 russian

Республика Узбекистан ведет активное сотрудничество с Международной Организацией Труда (МОТ), в том числе в направлении обеспечения благоприятных и достойных условий труда. Республика Узбекистан ратифицировала 13 конвенций МОТ. В целях развития социально-трудовой сферы, обеспечения роста реальных доходов населения, улучшения ситуации на рынке труда, расширения сфер продуктивной занятости и повышения уровня охраны и безопасности труда, 25 апреля 2014 года подписан Меморандум о взаимопонимании между Республикой Узбекистан и МОТ, с прилагаемой к нему Программой по достойному труду в Республике Узбекистан на 2014-2016 годы (далее – Страновая программа).

Страновая программа, в реализацию которой вовлечены социальные партнеры, включает следующие приоритеты и компоненты:

Приоритет 1: Укрепление социального партнерства в Узбекистане в целях реализации основополагающих принципов и прав в сфере труда.

Указом Президента Республики Узбекистан от 22 февраля 2016 года №УП-4782 Министерство труда и социальной защиты населения Республики Узбекистан преобразовано в Министерство труда Республики Узбекистан.

Постановлением Кабинета Министров Республики Узбекистан от 20 апреля 2016 года №117 утверждено Положение о Министерстве труда Республики Узбекистан. Согласно данному нормативно-правовому акту, основными задачами Министерства являются:

проведение на системной основе глубокого анализа уровня занятости населения в разрезе регионов по половозрастным группам, координация разработки ежегодных программ создания новых рабочих мест, обеспечение занятости населения и рационального использования трудовых ресурсов, осуществление постоянного мониторинга за ходом их реализации;

организация для незанятого населения, в первую очередь молодежи, женщин и инвалидов, эффективной системы по профессиональному обучению и переподготовке, оказания им содействия в трудоустройстве с широким использованием современных информационно-коммуникационных технологий;

обеспечение контроля за соблюдением требований законодательства в области труда и занятости, а также реализация конкретных мер по дальнейшему совершенствованию трудовых отношений, механизмов материального стимулирования труда.

Компонент 1.1. Национальная политика по применению международных и национальных трудовых стандартов.

В целях реализации данного компонента разработан и принят закон «О социальном партнерстве», законодательно внесены изменения и дополнения в Трудовой кодекс и закон о занятости населения, направленные на усиление трудовых гарантий населения и его отдельных групп (молодежь, инвалиды и т.п.).

Министерством труда разработан и принят Законодательной палатой Олий Мажлиса (Парламента) Республики Узбекистан проект Закона «Об охране труда» в новой редакции, который предусматривает имплементацию международных трудовых норм и стандартов, создание благоприятных, безопасных и достойных условий труда, профилактику травматизма и несчастных случаев, в том числе путём усиления государственного и общественного контроля, расширения полномочий соответствующих государственных органов и неправительственных организаций, профсоюзов.

Кроме этого, социальными партнерами инициированы ратификация Конвенции 1948 года о свободе объединений и защите права на объединение в профсоюзы (№87).

Компонент 1.2. Эффективная реализация Национального плана действий по применению Конвенций по вопросам детского труда

В целях обеспечения выполнения ратифицированной Узбекистаном конвенций МОТ по вопросам детского труда, приняты следующие решения Правительства:

  1. Постановление Кабинета Министров Республики Узбекистан от 12 сентября 2008 года №207 «О мерах по реализации ратифицированных Республикой Узбекистан конвенции о минимальном возрасте для приема на работу и конвенции о запрещении и немедленных мерах по искоренению наихудших форм детского труда»;
  2. Постановление Кабинета Министров Республики Узбекистан от 26 марта 2012 года №82 «О дополнительных мерах по реализации в 2012-2013 годах ратифицированных Республикой Узбекистан конвенции о принудительном или обязательном труде и конвенции о запрещении и немедленных мерах по искоренению наихудших форм детского труда»;
  3. Постановление Кабинета Министров Республики Узбекистан от 27 мая 2014 года № 132 «О дополнительных мерах по реализации в 2014-2016 годах ратифицированных Республикой Узбекистан конвенций Международной организации труда (МОТ)».

В рамках исполнения этих решений, приняты следующие нормативно-правовые документы:

Постановлением Министерства труда и социальной защиты населения и Министерства здравоохранения Республики Узбекистан, зарегистрированным Министерством юстиции от 29 июля 2009 г. за №1990, утвержден Список работ с неблагоприятными условиями труда, на которых запрещается применение труда лиц моложе восемнадцати лет. В 2016 году данный список был унифицирован Министерством труда и после ряда консультаций, был согласован с Советом Федерации профсоюзов Узбекистана, как представительный орган работников и Торгово-промышленной палатой Республики Узбекистан, как представительный орган работодателей.

Постановлением Министерства труда и социальной защиты населения и Министерства здравоохранения, зарегистрированным в Министерстве юстиции 21 января 2010 года за № 2071, утверждено Положение о требованиях по недопущению использования труда несовершеннолетних.

Компонент 1.3. Обеспечение соответствия условий труда и занятости в сельском хозяйстве, включая хлопководство, основополагающим стандартам и нормам.

В рамках мероприятий по данному направлению, а также в целях пресечения нарушений по привлечению детей к сбору хлопка Кабинетом Министров Республики Узбекистан 17 июля 2015 года утвержден «План мероприятий по обеспечению фермерскими хозяйствами свободного найма хлопкоробов и недопущению случаев использования труда несовершеннолетних и принудительного труда при сборе урожая хлопка-сырца 2015 года» (далее – План мероприятий).

В Плане мероприятий предусмотрены комплексные меры по недопущению привлечения на сбор хлопка учащихся школ, академических лицеев и профессиональных колледжей, не достигших 18-летнего возраста, а также работников учреждений здравоохранения, образования.

Для усиления контроля за ходом исполнения Плана мероприятий Премьер-министром Республики Узбекистан 3 октября 2015 года поручено Совету фермеров, а также руководителям местных органов власти:

установить персональную ответственность руководителей всех уровней за недопущение использования детского и принудительного труда;

обеспечить, вплоть до завершения хлопкового сезона 2015 года, жесткий системный контроль за надлежащим применением трудового законодательства, обращая особое внимание на учреждения здравоохранения, народного и среднего специального профессионального образования;

в случае поступления через «телефоны доверия» и другие источники информации о фактах нарушений, обеспечить незамедлительное разбирательство и наказание виновных должностных лиц.

Благодаря данным мерам в ходе всего сезона сбора хлопка педагогический и медицинский персонал не привлекались к сбору хлопка. Школы, колледжи, медицинские учреждения, торговые точки, аптеки и другие социальные объекты функционировали в нормальном режиме.

По итогам проведенной работы Правительством принято Распоряжение №909-ф от 16 ноября 2015 года о Программе действий по вопросам совершенствования условий труда, занятости и социальной защиты работников в сельском хозяйстве на 2016-2018 гг.

В рамках Страновой программы достойного труда и кредитных соглашений между Узбекистаном и Мировым Банком проводился Мониторинг третьей стороны по использованию детского и принудительного труда при сборе урожая хлопка 2015 года. Согласно отчёту МОТ от 18 ноября 2015 года по итогам данного Мониторинга, правительство Узбекистана, в целом, устранило практику использования детского труда при сборе хлорка. При этом данный отчёт также указывает на отсутствие конкретных доказательств использования принудительного труда со стороны Правительства Узбекистана.

В целях укрепления взаимовыгодного конструктивного сотрудничества с МОТ, 5 января 2016 года Правительством утвержден План мероприятий по вопросам совершенствования условий труда, занятости и социальной защиты работников в сельском хозяйстве на 2016-2018 годы.

План мероприятий состоит из 5 разделов, 39 пунктов и включает в себя:

дальнейшее совершенствование национальной нормативно-правовой базы, регулирующей сферу трудовых отношений;

реализация последовательных системных мер по повышению эффективности сельского хозяйства, а также уровня механизации в аграрном секторе;

дальнейшее развитие механизмов и условий найма на сезонные сельскохозяйственные работы;

институциональное развитие и совершенствование механизмов обратной связи и национального мониторинга по недопущению детского и принудительного труда;

расширение информационно-разъяснительной работы среди населения о трудовых правах, созданной в системе правовой защиты интересов трудящихся.

В соответствии с этим все министерства и ведомства, задействованные в реализации данного Плана, приняли свои планы пошаговых действий и определили ответственных должностных лиц.

Следует отметить, что Комитет экспертов МОТ в своем докладе к 105-й сессии МКТ, опубликованном в феврале 2016 года, рекомендовал Правительству продолжить свои усилия по обеспечению эффективного осуществления национального законодательства, запрещающего принудительный труд и опасную работу для детей в возрасте до 18 лет.

В связи с этим, было предложено правительству продолжить реализацию СПДТ в сотрудничестве с МОТ, а также продолжить свои меры по контролю за сбором хлопка, усилить ведение учета в учебных заведениях, применять санкции в отношении лиц, которые привлекают детей к сбору хлопка, и в дальнейшем повышать информированность общественности по этому вопросу.

Министерством труда Республики Узбекистан совместно с ответственными министерствами и ведомствами планируется провести семинары-тренинги для повышения потенциала и квалификации представителей Министерства труда, Совета Федерации профсоюзов и Торгово-промышленной палаты Республики Узбекистан.

Необходимо отметить, что ежегодно более 15 раз проводятся «круглые столы», встречи, семинар-тренинги и другие мероприятия, включая выезды в регионы по обсуждению хода реализации Страновой программы достойного труда. В них регулярно принимают участие представители парламента страны, делегации Международной организации труда, Международной конфедерации профсоюзов, Всемирного банка, посольств зарубежных стран в Узбекистане, главы представительств ПРООН, ЕС, ОБСЕ, ЮНИСЕФ, Фонда им.Ф.Эберта, международные эксперты из Германии, Дании, Китая, Кореи, Казахстана, Литвы, Молдовы, России, Франции и др.

В ходе этих мероприятий представители МОТ, ВБ, МКП, ЕС, посольств зарубежных стран и других международных организаций высоко оценивают предпринимаемые в республике меры и отмечают приверженность Правительства Узбекистана к выполнению принятых обязательств.

Особенно подчеркивается, что укрепляется конструктивное сотрудничество Республики Узбекистан с МОТ, ВБ, МКП, МОР и другими международными сообществами, принимаются конкретные и целенаправленные меры по реализации международных стандартов и норм труда, улучшаются условия труда в сельском хозяйстве.

В ноябре 2015 года состоялся визит руководства Всемирного банка в Республику Узбекистан, по итогам которого в Вашингтоне был проведен совместный брифинг с участием вице-президентов ВБ Сирил Мюллер и Лоры Так, а также заместителя генерального директора МОТ Сандры Поласки, относительно достигнутого правительством Узбекистана прогресса в устранении детского и принудительного труда в сельском хозяйстве по итогам хлопкового сезона в 2015г. В самом начале брифинга С.Мюллер подчеркнул, что по итогам его визита в Узбекистан он удостоверился в твердой приверженности Правительства Узбекистана к реформированию экономики, в целом, и сельского хозяйства, в частности. Сародж Кумар Джа, работавший в тот период региональным директором ВБ по Центральной Азии, рассказал о предпринятых Правительством Республики Узбекистан действенных мерах для предотвращения детского и принудительного труда в текущем году. В частности, он подчеркнул, что в ходе всего сезона сбора хлопка в 2015 году педагогический и медицинский персонал республики находился на своих рабочих местах, школы, колледжи, медицинские учреждения, торговые точки, аптеки и другие социальные объекты функционировали в обычном режиме. Вместе с тем, С.Джа с удовлетворением подчеркнул, что эти меры не носят для Правительства Узбекистана временный характер, а является свидетельством приверженности властей страны к дальнейшему реформированию всего сельского хозяйства и отходу от системы квот в производстве хлопка. В качестве серьёзности намерений Правительства Республики Узбекистан он отметил, что в целях продолжения последовательной реализации комплексных мер, направленных на обеспечение достойных условий труда в сельскохозяйственном секторе, диверсификацию сельскохозяйственного производства и повышение уровня механизации производственных процессов Правительством страны 16 ноября 2015 года была утверждена Программа действий по вопросам совершенствования условий труда, занятости и социальной защиты работников в сельском хозяйстве на 2016-2018 гг.

Вместе с тем, в ходе визита в Узбекистан (март 2016 года) делегации Минтруда США во главе с Э.Биллем была представлена детальная информация о принимаемых социальными партнерами мерах в сфере труда для последующего использования при подготовке соответствующих докладов и отчетов. В ходе указанного визита представители Министерства труда США посетили субъектов сельского хозяйства, текстильную фабрику, профессиональный колледж и своими глазами увидели созданные условия труда, применение в них международных и национальных трудовых стандартов, убедились в отсутствии каких-либо предпосылок детского и принудительного труда.

В свою очередь, МОТ, МКП, МОР и Комитет экспертов МОТ по применению конвенций и рекомендаций, являющиеся наиболее авторитетными и независимыми международными организациями, высоко оценивают и приветствуют активное сотрудничество с Узбекистаном, признают существенный прогресс в обеспечении достойных условий труда в республике, и учитывая принятые меры, не рекомендуют включение Узбекистана в список 50 стран, в которых имеются пробелы в исполнении конвенций МОТ, В частности, в ходе 105-й сессии Международной конференции труда (июнь 2016 года), Генеральным директором МОТ Г.Райдером было отмечено, что «страна продемонстрировала международному сообществу свою открытость, высокую приверженность к выполнению принятых обязательств в рамках ратифицированных Конвенций МОТ. Работа республики в данном направлении может служить достойным примером для других стран, в особенности, для государств Центральной Азии».

Кроме того, при встречах проведенных в 2015-2016 гг. в контексте международного сотрудничество с официальными лицами зарубежных стран, такими как с Генеральным директором МОТ Г.Райдером, Генеральным секретарем Международной Конфедерации профсоюзов (МКП) Шарон Барроу, Министром труда Кореи Ли Ги Кон, региональным директором Всемирного банка по Центральной Азии Сародж Кумар Джа, послом Германии в Узбекистане Н.Хёфер-Виссингом, послом Кореи Квон Ён У, руководителем группы по межпарламентскому сотрудничеству с Узбекистаном Сейма Литвы во главе с Валериусом Симуликом и другими высоко оценены проводимые реформы по экономическому развитию страны, в том числе по обеспечению занятости, трудовых прав и имплементации международных трудовых стандартов.

В настоящее время активно ведется работа по организации изучения совместно с МОТ выполнения конвенций МОТ по детскому и принудительному труду в период подготовки и проведения хлопкоуборочного сезона 2016 года по следующим направлениям:

а)        анализ системы мер министерств, ведомств, ННО и других институтов гражданского общества по выполнению конвенций МОТ;

б)        проведение при поддержке МОТ национального мониторинга детского и принудительного труда в период сбора хлопка;

г)         реализация Механизма обратной связи (МОС) с населением при Координационном совете по вопросам детского труда;

д)        повышение потенциала должностных лиц министерств, ведомств, местных администраций и ННО;

е)        информационно-разъяснительная работа среди населения.

Осенью 2016 года планируется’ проведение анализа системы мер, принимаемых министерствами и ведомствами по недопущению детского и принудительного труда, запланирован пересмотр работ по осуществлению механизма обратной связи. В настоящее время совместно с экспертами МОТ продолжается реализация комплекса мер по организации семинаров, тренингов, круглых столов и информационно-разъяснительных работ во всех регионах страны.

Работа, осуществляемая в республике и разрабатываемые новые программы, направлены на улучшение условий труда и обеспечение трудовых прав граждан республики. При этом профсоюзы и другие общественные организации очень активно участвуют в этом процессе.

При необходимости, узбекская сторона готова работать с соответствующими структурами США и дополнительно довести до администрации США позицию Узбекистана по трудовым отношениям в республике при посредничестве Министерства труда США и посольства США в г. Ташкенте. Необходимо довести до руководства и соответствующих управлений Госдепартамента США подготовленную детальную информацию от официального подтвержденного источника, не ограничиваясь неподтвержденными данными ангажированных неправительственных организаций.

Компонент 1.4. Укрепление потенциала профсоюзов в целях их участия в реализации основополагающих принципов и прав в сфере труда

В целях реализации данного компонента ежегодно принимается «План совместных мероприятий по сотрудничеству Совета Федерации профсоюзов Узбекистана с Международной организацией труда в лице Бюро по деятельности трудящихся (ACTRAV) и Бюро для стран Восточной Европы и Центральной Азии в соответствии с «Программой по достойному труду Республики Узбекистан на 2014-2016 годы». Советом Федерации профсоюзов Узбекистана совместно с социальными партнёрами ежегодно в октябре проводится цикл мероприятий, посвященных Всемирному дню достойного труда.

В соответствии с данным Планом обеспечивается участие экспертов МОТ в международных конференциях, проводимых под эгидой Федерации профсоюзов Узбекистана, а также в мероприятиях, посвященных Всемирному дню охраны труда (28 апреля) и Всемирному дню действий за достойный труд (7 октября).

Проведены региональные семинары:

«Основополагающие принципы и права в сфере труда» (в 2014 году в г.Самарканде и 2016 году в г.Бухаре);

«Деятельность профсоюзов на предприятиях с иностранными инвестициями» (в 2015 году в г.Андижане). При методологической поддержке МОТ организована Юридическая клиника при Совете Федерации профсоюзов.

В целях расширения дальнейшего взаимовыгодного сотрудничества с Международной Конфедерацией профсоюзов 11 октября 2015 года Федерация профсоюзов Узбекистана была принята в качестве ассоциированного члена Международной Конфедерации профсоюзов. В качестве продолжение налаженного конструктивного сотрудничества в конце марта 2016 года с официальным визитом делегация Международной Конфедерации профсоюзов во главе с Генеральным секретарем Шаран Барроу посетила Узбекистан.

Во время переговоров она особо подчеркнула, что в результате мудрой и дальновидной политики Президента Узбекистана в стране обеспечиваются мир и стабильность, неуклонно развиваются все сферы, растёт благосостояние его населения. Заслуживает особого внимания и то, что Правительство Республики Узбекистан уделяет особое внимание повышению потенциала должностных лиц, осведомленности работодателей, работников и всего населения по вопросам внедрения международных трудовых стандартов, выполнения конвенций МОТ.

Далее, в рамках 105-й сессии Международной конференции труда, в Женеве состоялась встреча с Генеральным секретарем Международной Конфедерации профсоюзов (МКП) Шарон Барроу, в ходе которого обсуждены перспективные направления деятельности по дальнейшему сотрудничеству между Федерацией профсоюзов Узбекистана и МКП. В этих целях состоялось подписание Меморандума о взаимопонимании между Федерацией профсоюзов – Узбекистана и Международной Конфедерацией профсоюзов, предусматривающее усиление взаимодействия в таких направлениях, как содействие занятости, охрана труда, развитие социального партнерства в сфере труда.

Приоритет 2. Расширение возможностей достойной занятости.

Компонент 2.2. Эффективное функционирование институтов рынка труда, в том числе систем информации о рынке труда и служб занятости.

Для реализации данного приоритета и компонента в Узбекистане:

Во-первых, ежегодно Правительством и Олий Мажлисом (Парламентом) принимается Программа создания рабочих мест и обеспечения занятости населения.

Начиная с 2015 года при разработке этой программы существенно изменены подходы с обращением особого внимания на создание устойчивых новых рабочих мест. Изначально изучается ситуация и потребности рынка труда по территориям, по отраслям экономики и по специальностям активно ищущих работу.

В рамках такой Программы в 2016 году предусматривается трудоустройство более 992 тыс. человек, в том числе создание свыше 396 тыс. рабочих мест в соответствии с целевыми программами развития промышленности, сферы услуг и сервиса, строительства, сельского хозяйства и др. отраслей, а также обеспечение занятости 596 тыс. человек за счет развития малых предприятий и индивидуального предпринимательства, организации надомного труда, развития фермерских и дехканских хозяйств. При этом особое внимание уделено депрессивным районам с напряженной ситуацией на рынке труда, в которых относительно высоки уровни безработицы и потребности в рабочих местах. В 2016 году в 26 таких районах реализуются 4858 конкретных проектов, предусматривающих создание свыше 60 тыс. рабочих мест, что позволит значительно улучшить занятость в них.

Во-вторых, в 2016 году принято Постановление Президента Республики Узбекистан «О мерах по совершенствованию организации Министерства труда Республики Узбекистан», основными задачами которого определены:

проведение на системной основе глубокого анализа уровня занятости, координация разработки программ создания рабочих мест и обеспечения занятости населения, осуществление постоянного мониторинга за ходом их реализации;

организация для незанятого населения, в первую очередь молодежи, женщин, инвалидов, эффективной системы по профессиональному обучению, переподготовке, содействию их трудоустройству с широким использованием современных информационно – коммуникационных технологий;

обеспечение контроля за соблюдением требований законодательства в области охраны труда, занятости и реализацию конкретных мер по дальнейшему совершенствованию трудовых отношений, механизмов материального стимулирования труда.

В-третьих, Министерством труда ведется активная работа по предоставлению услуг трудоустройства безработным, выпускникам колледжей, лицам, уволенным со срочной военной службы, а также инвалидам, трудовым мигрантам, жертвам торговли людьми и др.

Для этого применяются современные информационные технологии путем предоставления сведений о вакансиях, через сайты министерства и его территориальных органов и Единый портал интерактивных государственных услуг оказывается содействие в трудоустройстве активно ищущим работу гражданам.

В 2016 году намечается увеличение масштабов привлечения безработных граждан и трудовых мигрантов к оплачиваемым работам на строительстве объектов транспортной, придорожной и социальной инфраструктуры, а также жилья по типовым проектам в сельской местности. Совместно с хокимиятами районов и городов зарезервировано (квотировано) не менее 102,5 тыс. рабочих мест для трудоустройства инвалидов, многодетных матерей, жертв торговли людьми, трудовых иммигрантов и других лиц, испытывающих трудности нахождения работы на рынке труда.

В 2016 году намечено трудоустроить на создаваемые в рамках реализации Программы новые рабочие места, а также имеющиеся вакантные и резервируемые рабочие места более 480 тыс. выпускников колледжей (с учетом того, что часть из них продолжат обучение в вузах и не будут работать в связи с болезнью, смертью, выездом за пределы страны и другими объективными обстоятельствами).

В этих целях будут реализованы специальные мероприятия, включающие:

использование во всех районах и городах новых, апробированных на практике эффективных методов трудоустройства населения и молодежи, прежде всего выпускников колледжей, их вовлечения в предпринимательскую деятельность путем организации в колледжах учебно-практических курсов по подготовке к предпринимательской деятельности и трудоустройству, создания специального портала «Создай свой бизнес», внедрения системы «Бизнес-ангелов» и др.;

проведение в зданиях колледжей дней открытых дверей и передвижных точек «одно окно», в которых с участием представителей хокимиятов, предприятий и организаций, коммерческих банков, предпринимателей комплексно будут решаться все вопросы постановки на учет, выделения кредитов, обеспечения мини-технологиями, оборудованием и т.п.;

более полное использование льгот малым предприятиям, принимающим на работу выпускников колледжей;

продолжение практики выделения коммерческими банками льготных микрокредитов выпускникам колледжей и вузов на организацию собственного дела.

В целях эффективного функционирования инфраструктуры рынка труда разработана и утверждена программа улучшения материально-технической базы районных, городских Центров содействия занятости.

Приоритет 3: Улучшение условий труда и социальной защиты.

Компонент 3.1. Разработка эффективной системы управления охраной и безопасностью труда (ОБТ)

В соответствии с постановлением Кабинета Министров Республики Узбекистан от 20 июля 2010 года №153 «о дальнейшем совершенствовании нормативно-правовой базы по охране труда» министерствами, ведомствами и хозяйственными объединениями предусмотрена разработка 156 нормативных документов по охране труда.

В настоящее время разработано 148 нормативных документов, из которых 90 прошли правовую экспертизу и зарегистрированы в установленном порядке в Министерстве юстиции Республики Узбекистан.

Во исполнение пункта 3 «Комплекса дополнительных мероприятий по реализации в 2014-2016 года ратифицированных Республикой Узбекистан конвенции Международной организации труда (МОТ)», утвержденного постановлением Кабинета Министров Республики Узбекистан от 27 мая 2014 года №132 разработан проект Закона Республики Узбекистан «Об охране труда» (в новой редакции). Проект Закона в установленном порядке принят в Законодательной палате Олий Мажлиса Республики Узбекистан 20 ноября 2015 года и одобрен Сенатом Олий Мажлиса Республики Узбекистан 25 августа 2016 года.

Министерством труда Республики Узбекистан установлен контроль по обеспечению выполнения Программы «По пересмотру, разработке и введению правил и норм охраны труда».

Проводились заседания рабочей группы с участием ответственных представителей исполнителей, оказывалась практическая помощь по разработке соответствующих правил и норм охраны труда.

Только в 2015 году и за 6 месяцев 2016 года осуществлены работы по принятию 66 документов, в том числе по Ассоциации «Узавтосаноат» 5 нормативных документов, Агентству автомобильного и речного транспорта – 4 правил, ГАК «Узкимёсаноат» – 11, Министерству здравоохранения – 4, Министерству сельского и водного хозяйства – 6 нормативных документов.

Также, согласно протоколу Республиканского Совета по координации деятельности контролирующих органов от 9 июля 2010 года №1 разработан План мероприятий для усиления профилактических работ по обеспечению работникам безопасной условий труда.

Государственными техническими инспекторами труда по направлению охрана труда проведены разъяснительные работы в около 15,5 тыс. субъектах предпринимательства и проведено 2,4 тыс. семинаров, на которых приняли участие более 47 тыс. предпринимателей, разосланы 13,8 тыс. инструктивных материалов, организованы 514 выставок, на постоянно действующие телефоны доверия поступило 1,8 тыс. обращений от предпринимателей и из них более 1,7 тыс. решены положительно.

Только в 2015 году техническими инспекторами проведено 3270 проверок, выявлены около 39 тыс. нарушений требований законодательства об охране труда. По результатам проверок привлечено к административной ответственности 2771 должностных лиц, применено штрафов на сумму 1,1 млрд.сум. Представлены работодателям 3270 предписаний по устранению выявленных нарушений законодательства об охране труда.

По результатам проверок в 230 случаях приняты постановления о приостановке деятельности и эксплуатации средств производства, не отвечающих требованиям безопасности труда и создающих угрозу здоровью и жизни работников до приведения их в соответствие с требованиями безопасности труда, но на срок не более 10 дней.

Основными нарушениями требований Закона Республики Узбекистан «Об охране труда» являются недостаточный уровень трудовой и технологической дисциплины, изношенность основных фондов, встречающиеся факты необеспечения средствами индивидуальной защиты, недостатки в работе с персоналом, в части обучения, проведения инструктажей по технике безопасности, низкий уровень компетентности в деле охраны труда, сокращение численности работников в службах охраны труда.

Такие факты встречаются в основном в отраслях промышленности, транспорта, строительства и в сфере частного сектора.

Ведется мониторинг по соблюдению условий труда на предприятиях. Условия труда на каждом рабочем месте должны соответствовать требованиям стандартов, правил и норм по охране труда.

По требованиям законодательства обеспечение здоровых и безопасных условий труда на предприятии возлагается на работодателя. Нарушение в сфере охраны труда в основном обуславливается некачественной организацией профилактических работ но охране труда на производстве, несоблюдение в ряде случаев требования законодательства о проведении инструктажа по охране труда работников приводит к несчастным случаям на производстве.

Так за прошедший период текущего года зарегистрировано 382 несчастных случаев на производстве (за аналогичный период прошлого года 345 несчастных случая, пострадали 382 человека), при которых пострадали 452 человека.

Проведено 380 специальных расследований несчастных случаев на производстве, из которых 111 случаев со смертельным исходом, при которых погибли 135 человек, 289 человек получили тяжелые телесные повреждения.

По результатам проведенных специальных расследований на предприятиях выявлены 4584 нарушений законодательства об охране труда, выданы 380 предписаний по ликвидации выявленных нарушений, 347 должностных лиц привлечены к административной ответственности.

Постановлением Кабинета Министров Республики Узбекистан от 15.09.2014 года № 263 «О дальнейшем совершенствовании мер по охране труда работников» утверждено Положение о порядке проведения аттестации рабочих мест по условиям труда и травмоопасности оборудования, которое определяет единый порядок проведения аттестации рабочих мест по условиям труда, тяжести и напряженности трудового процесса, травмоопасности оборудования, разработки мероприятий по приведению условий труда в соответствие с требованиями норм, правил и инструкций по охране труда.

В 2015 году на 14611 рабочих местах предприятий проведена аттестация рабочих мест по условиям труда и травмоопасности оборудования, по которым экспертами по условиям труда выданы заключения.

Во исполнение постановления Кабинета Министров          от 24 июня 2009 года №177 «О мерах по реализации Закона Республики Узбекистан «Об обязательном страховании гражданской ответственности работодателя» в 2015 году по вопросу обязательного страхования гражданской ответственности работодателя были организованы семинары, велась разъяснительная работа среди работодателей, материалы освещались в средствах массовой информации.

За прошедший период были разосланы письма более 28 тыс. работодателям, предупреждающие их о привлечении к административной ответственности, в случае отсутствия полиса об обязательном страховании гражданской ответственности работодателя.

В результате проведенных мероприятий в 2015 году более 32 тыс. работодателей осуществили обязательное страхование гражданской ответственности работодателя.

При проведении проверок на предприятиях выявлено 229 случаев отсутствия страхового полиса, руководители которых привлечены к административной ответственности, с применением штрафных санкций на сумму 107,5 млн. сум.

В целях осуществления контроля исполнения требований статьи 10 Закона Республики Узбекистан «О социальной защищенности инвалидов в Республике Узбекистан» за 2015 год в 11,2 тыс. предприятиях республики проведен мониторинг по изучению обеспеченности беспрепятственного доступа инвалидов к объектам социальной инфраструктуры, из которых в 174 случаях выявлено нарушение требований.

Всем предприятиям и организациям даны рекомендации и соответствующие требования о необходимости создания условий для беспрепятственного доступа инвалидов к объектам социальной инфраструктуры.

Компонент 3.2. Согласование уровней оплаты труда на основе коллективных переговоров и трехсторонних консультации.

В разделе “Оплата труда, доходы и уровень жизни населения” Генерального соглашения между Кабинетом Министров Республики Узбекистан, Советом Федерации профсоюзов Узбекистана, Торгово-промышленной палатой Республики Узбекистан по социально-экономическим вопросам на 2014-2016 годы, предусмотрены реализация сторонами комплекса мер, обеспечивающих дальнейшее неуклонное повышение реальных доходов и уровня жизни населения, усиление социальной поддержки граждан республики. В этих целях Стороны обязуются:

в период действия настоящего Соглашения принимать меры по повышению реальной заработной платы и доходов трудящихся;

рекомендовать социальным партнерам принятие дополнительных мер по повышению роли коллективных соглашений и договоров в регулировании оплаты труда и обеспечении своевременности её выплаты;

продолжить работу по развитию нормативно-правовой базы путем создания условий для разработки научно-обоснованных норм труда на межотраслевом, отраслевом, территориальном и локальном уровнях;

усилить государственный и общественный контроль за своевременностью выплаты заработной платы, соблюдением стандартов минимальной заработной платы и минимального размера оплаты труда, которая должна быть не ниже ставки по первому разряду Единой тарифной сетки по оплате труда.

Повысить ответственность работодателей и профсоюзов по обеспечению контроля за своевременной оплатой труда в установленном законодательством порядке.

С целью обеспечения соблюдения норм законодательства по своевременной выплате заработной платы ведется государственный контроль со стороны Государственной правовой инспекции труда и органов прокуратуры. Так, только в 2015 году обеспечено восстановление трудовых прав 2193 граждан, обратившихся в правовую инспекцию труда, и оказано свыше 1,7 тысячи гражданам содействие в выплате задолженности по заработной плате на сумму более 10,3 млрд. сумм.

Вместе с тем, Государственной правовой инспекцией труда рассмотрены более 4 тыс, обращений физических и юридических лиц, в т.ч. по вопросам несвоевременной выплаты заработной платы -1 134 обращений.

Также со стороны инспекции оперативно рассматривается обращения граждан, поступившие через телефон доверия (200-06-01).

Кроме того, при содействии МОТ 6 октября 2015 года проведен семинар на тему: «Вопросы заработной платы и социальной защиты».

На семинаре экспертами МОТ С.Гловацкасом, Х.Талигой, Е.Косаковской были представлены международные трудовые стандарты по вопросам заработной платы и социальной защиты, Глобальный обзор «Заработная плата в мире», а также проведены практические занятия по повышению потенциала специалистов в вопросах определения средней, медианной, почасовой заработной платы, оптимального соотношения между тарифной и надтарифной частями фонда оплаты труда. На семинаре также обсуждены вопросы нормирования труда, представлены международные и национальные классификаторы профессий и должностей.

По итогам семинара определены основные направления для разработки плана действий по совершенствованию законодательства и практики регулирования заработной платы.


Uzbekistan has introduced a “second wind” in IFAS activity

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One of the largest in the modern history of global environmental disasters which is happened with countries and more than 60 million people in Central Asia, is the Aral Sea tragedy. Via climatic, socio-economic and humanitarian consequences the disaster causes a direct threat to sustainable development in the region, health, genetic and the future of people living here.

Since the 1990’s the Central Asian countries are taking steps to overcome the effects of this ecological disaster. The historical landmark in this direction was the creation of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) by the heads of the five states of the region in 1993 which was designed to carry out joint action and programs to minimize the negative impact of the crisis, improve the ecological and socio-economic situation in the basin.

The fund provides an opportunity to bring the need of taking timely, targeted measures to mitigate the environmental disaster caused by the drying up of the Aral Sea to the attention of the international community, as well as coordination of the joint efforts of both the regional and international levels.

Uzbekistan has been chairing the IFAS since August of 2013. According to the decision of the President of the Fund, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the IFAS Executive Committee carries out its activities in Tashkent. During the presidency of Uzbekistan in the Fund (2013-2016) has been realized the third action program to assist countries of the Aral Sea Basin Program (ASBP-3), the monitoring of which is conducted by the Executive Committee of IFAS jointly with its affiliates, founding states, regional and international institutions and structures. The results of this study showed a significant increase in financial receipts compared with the previous two programs (ASBP-1 and ASBP-2) not only on the part of fund participants, but also international organizations and donors. Confirmation of this – of the 90 regional projects worth 386.2 million US dollars 60 have been realized worth 68.86 million dollars, 15 projects worth 79.04 million dollars are in progress and 15 projects worth 238.25 million US dollars is expected to start in the near future. Of the 501 national projects worth 15.04 billion dollars 295 projects have been implemented worth 6.05 billion US dollars; 125 projects worth $ 7.3 billion – at the implementation stage; 81 projects amounting to 1.7 billion US dollars is expected to start.

In general, these projects are aimed at construction and reconstruction of medical, educational and sports facilities, residential houses in rural areas, roads and railway lines, bridges, power lines, irrigation systems and other hydraulic works, land improvement and implementation of integrated water resources management and modern technologies for water conservation, providing the population with quality drinking water, forest plantations on the dried bottom of the Aral sea and the mountainous terrain, the creation of local water bodies, development of the legal framework and institutional systems.

So, in recent years to improve the social conditions of the population living in the region in the countryside 29510 residential houses have been built, construction and reconstruction works of 67 schools with 8316 places totaling 589.3 million US dollars have been completed, 3137 city and district general hospitals and medical institutions with 1400 beds in the amount of 510.26 million dollars have constructed, reconstructed and equipped.

At the same time, in 86 cities and regions, and more than 2 thousand rural settlements, where about 9.2 million people live, the works on the construction, reconstruction and expansion of water supply systems and other social facilities worth of 267.9 million dollars have been carried out.

More than 7.8 thousand kilometers of main and inter-farm reservoirs, culverts, water and sewerage systems, waterworks and 16 797 vertical drainage and 1,417 observation wells have been built and renovated.

Parallel to this, transport infrastructure has been improved through the construction of 341.5 kilometers of railway lines, 15 stations and 59 bridges. 42 main roads worth of approximately 5,030 million dollars have been constructed, renovated and expanded.

In order to combat desertification and land degradation, preservation of forests and enhancement of forest cover, tree planting has been carried out in the area of 125 600 hectares for a total amount of 14.7 million US dollars, the resistance of Low Amudarya State Biosphere Reserve (in the amount of 9.05 million dollars) have been strengthened.

This result was preceded by active work of bodies of the founders and President of the Foundation under the leadership of IFAS, the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov.

Speaking from the rostrum, the head of our state has repeatedly stressed the importance of adopting effective measures to eliminate the consequences of the Aral Sea disaster which has been long emerged beyond a single region. During the 48th session of the UN General Assembly on September 28, 1993, Islam Karimov drew the attention of the world community to the problems of the Aral Sea. At the UN Millennium Summit in New York on  September 8, 2000 the head of Uzbekistan has put forward the initiative to establish the Council on the problems of the Aral Sea and the Aral Sea area under the auspices of the United Nations Programme on the Environment.

At the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan a program of measures to eliminate the consequences of the drying of the Aral Sea ecosystem and prevent disaster in the Aral Sea region has been developed, which is on September 16, 2013 was distributed as an official document at the 68 session of the UN General Assembly and fully supported by the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

In order to further promote international cooperation and to mobilize resources of the donor community for the implementation of practical actions aimed at improving the situation in the Aral Sea region, on the initiative of our Head of State, Urgench city hosted the International Conference on the theme: “Development of Cooperation in the Region of the Aral Sea to Mitigate Consequences of the Ecological Catastrophe” on October 28-29, 2014.

In his video message to the participants of the event the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted the critical importance of the conference and said that the organization supports the work of IFAS. He said that “one country alone can not manage with the Aral Sea tragedy” and urged the international community “to intensify international efforts to respond to this disaster.”

As emphasized by representatives of international organizations at the conference, the drying up of the Aral Sea – one of the largest in the world of man-made disasters, which by its ecological and environmental, socio-economic and humanitarian consequences poses a direct threat to the gene pool and human health, environment and quality of life as well as the flora and fauna of the Aral Sea region.

As a result of this event arrangements have been reached and agreements have been signed on the implementation of national and regional projects of a total value of 3 billion US dollars on the Aral Sea Basin, involving preferential long-term loans totaling 1.9 billion US dollars and the provision of technical assistance tools and a grant in the amount of $ 200 million.

During the presidency of Uzbekistan in the IFAS only the Fund Board has conducted more than 200 meetings, negotiations, meetings and consultations, the cooperation has been set with UN agencies, reputable international financial institutions – the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and the International Agency for the German Cooperation Switzerland, the Republic of Korea, the USA and Japan in order to attract their attention and efforts to implement practical actions to improve the environmental, socio-economic and water situation in the Aral sea basin.

In particular, for the implementation of specific projects prepared on the Urgench conference, on the initiative of the Executive Committee of IFAS in the framework of the VII World Water Forum for the first time in the history the IFAS has organized the event in the form of a subregional session for the countries of Central Asia on the theme: “Development of the cooperation on the Aral Sea region to mitigate the consequences of ecological catastrophe” on April 12-17, 2015 in the cities of Daegu and Gёngbuk (Republic of Korea). Participants of this event have unanimously confirmed the truly global nature of the problem of the Aral crisis and called for the consolidation of the efforts in solving the problems related to its impact on the environment and the livelihoods of millions of people living in the Aral Sea area. The outcome document of the session has been adopted which reflects the direction to stabilize the environmental situation and enhance international cooperation of IFAS in implementing programs and projects.

As part of the Eighth Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe”, held on  June 8-10, 2016 in Batumi (Georgia) the EC IFAS and the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations have signed a joint appeal in support of reforestation and forestation in the Aral Sea basin which reflects the intention of the parties to cooperate in projects for environmental improvement, prevention of salt-dust transfer, consolidation of moving sand dunes, decrease wind erosion and improve public health, restoration of flora and fauna in the Aral Sea region.

Thus, the activities of the fund allows to coordinate and solve the fundamental issues of cooperation to mitigate the environmental, socio-economic and water management problems in the region, as well as to expand cooperation with international organizations, environmental funds and other institutions and individual states on the implementation of specific programs and projects of the Aral seas.

The IFSA remains as a unique multilateral framework which gives a positive dynamism to the regional cooperation in the solution of water and environmental problems in Central Asia.

 

Jahon Information Agency


 

 

Posted on June 08, 2016 

Eco Week 2016 Kicks off

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A gala opening ceremony of Eco Week 2016 devoted to the World Environment Day has been held in the capital city Tashkent. It has turned into a kind of report on the achieved results in the field of environmental activities in our country.

It was noted at the event organized by the State Committee on Nature Protection that Uzbekistan is an active participant in the global environmental policy. The Republic had accepted membership and ratified a number of key international conventions in the sphere of environmental protection and has been effectively implementing them.

A broadband legislative base has been set up in the country during the years of its independence; there are 15 laws in force regulating relations in the field of protection of the environment. Program documents are being elaborated on the efficient utilization of natural resources and creation of favorable ecologic conditions for the population.

The subject of the World Environment Day in 2016 was dedicated to combating illegal trade in wild animals and plants. It has been noted in this connection that Uzbekistan undertakes complex moves for conservation of biological diversity and sustainable use of biological resources. In the ‘90s of the last century, our country acceded to the Conventions on biological diversity and the International Trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora.

The result was an ordered use of animal and plant life and an increased control in this direction. Import and export of these objects are regulated by special permissions issued by the State Committee for Nature Protection and the Academy of Sciences. In addition, joint seminars and raids with the State Customs Committee for Control over import and export of objects of flora and fauna, including the suppression of illegal activities in compliance with the national laws and international conventions are held on a regular basis.

The country has established nurseries for keeping and breeding rare and endangered species of animals. There are 22 nurseries for breeding exotic animals, 19 nurseries for breeding wild animals and thirteen zoos registered to date in this country. The nurseries are breeding such rare species of mammals like Severtsov’s sheep, Bukhara deer, Bukhara mountain sheep, gazelle, wild ass, Przewalski’s horse, representatives of the avifauna – saker falcon and bustard, and plantations are set up for cultivation of wild plants.

Special attention was paid to further improvement of the system of protected natural territories (PNT). Significant qualitative changes have taken in them in recent years. Thus, the total area of the “Adeliya” ecological center noticeably increased and currently make up more than 16,500 hectares. A new for the country type of PNT was set up in 2011 – the Lower Amu-Daryo Biosphere Reserve; the list of state monuments of nature has been replenished on account of such objects as Paykent, Vardanzi, Varakhsha and others; also keeps increasing the number of sanctuaries and forestry enterprises, and five-year action programs on the protection of environment are being implemented in the Republic.

The event participants underlined that favorable conditions were created in Uzbekistan for preservation and increasing the population of rare types of flora and fauna over the years of independence.

The Ecoweek-2016 program of activities was announced at the forum: presentations, exhibitions, conferences, creative and sporting events and environmental activities will be held in different regions of the country. The enterprises of the Republic, which achieved the best results in the sphere of environmental protection and environmental management, were awarded memorable diplomas of the State Committee for Protection of Nature, which also announced the start of national ecology-oriented competitions.

 


Posted on June 02, 2016 

Plant Your Own Forest 

International Day for Biological Diversity has been widely marked in Uzbekistan.

The Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan held a seminar on the subject “Legislative foundations of management of protected natural territories” at the Institute of flora and fauna genetic fund under the Academy of Sciences of the Republic.

The speakers noted that there are eight State reserves, one biosphere reserve, two national parks, ten state natural sanctuaries, six natural monuments, and a “Jairon” ecological center specializing in breeding rare animal species. The scientific-practical projects on the preservation of rare plants and animals and maintaining the stability of ecological systems are being realized in the country. In particular, reduction in the number of such rare animals as Saighoq antelopes and gazelles has been prevented as a result of interventions.

The event analyzed the implemented activities on the protection of biodiversity in our country and the effectiveness of protecting natural sanctuaries. It was noted that a number of projects are being realized to meet the requirements of the international convention on the protection of biodiversity. The film “The Saighoqs of Ustyurt: the right to life”, created by the studio “Gala film” jointly with the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan was screened at the seminar.

The event timed for this environmental date and called “Plant your own forest” was organized by the ecological-resource center “Ecomaktab” (Ecoschool) in the Chimyon Mountain gorge within the framework of the public initiative “Renaissance of the Chimyon forest”.

The participants of the ecological event, mostly students of the Tashkent State Agrarian University, planted wild pistachio and apple saplings on the mountainsides. The saplings were provided by the Brichmulla forestry and the ICARDA International Centre.

“The best students of our University had taken part in the event,” says lecturer of the Chair “Decorative gardening and planting of greenery” Shokhista Kholova. “They plan to become forestry specialists, ecologists and landscape designers in the future. They are all distinguished for their love for native nature and willingness to protect it.”

“It’s impossible to describe verbally the beauty of Chimyon Mountains,” says student of the University Sarvinoz Islomova. “But tourists and people coming here to spend their vacations, behave rather selfishly – they collect herbs and flowers, including very rate ones listed in the Red Book, and leave behind piles of garbage. We have not only planted hundreds of seedlings but will also clean the territory.”

“The Renaissance of Chimyon forest” project is beeing implemented at the public initiative for the third year running with the support of the Forestry Supervisory Council (FSC). This authoritative international organization promotes efficiency and responsibility in the management of forests worldwide, thanks to which this activity does not only contribute to the preservation and enhancement of forests on the given territory, but also facilitates the dissemination of ecological culture.

“Our project has been advancing successfully, its team has been growing up and it attracts numerous partner-organizations ready to contribute their share to the cause of preserving the Chimyon Mountain forests,” says coordinator of the ecological initiative Natalya Shivaldova. “We have planted many trees during the last three years, hence now we are quite picky in selecting planting material. We conduct master-classes with the volunteers. Everyone willing to join the initiative may do so and contribute his/her own share, i.e. plant his/her own “forest” on the mountain slopes.”

 


 

Posted on May 23, 2016 

Uzbekistan, PRC Swap Notes

aral_sea_problem

The governments of Uzbekistan and the People’s Republic of China signed the exchange notes on sending complex expedition of Chinese experts to examine projects under the Program of Action to assist countries of the Aral Sea basin.

The expedition will take place thanks to the grant aid in accordance with the Agreement between the governments of Uzbekistan and China on economic and technological co-operation of 3 November 2007. Based on its results the Chinese experts are planning to select priority projects aimed at improving the environmental and socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea area for the subsequent preparation of feasibility studies and their gradual implementation.

The aim of the projects is mitigation of environmental stress in the Aral Sea region through the establishment of forest belts of tall bushes that will reduce the salt and dust removal, restore biodiversity, to develop fish farming sector. These initiatives included in the Comprehensive Program of measures to mitigate the effects of the Aral Sea disaster, rehabilitation and socio-economic development of the Aral Sea region in the years 2015-2018, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers dated 29 August 2015.

The achievement of important agreements with China took place during the presidency of Uzbekistan in the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea. During this period in August 2013 carried out extensive work to raise awareness and consolidation of efforts of the international community for the implementation of joint action. They are aimed at reducing the negative consequences of drying up of the Aral Sea, environmental protection and rational use of water resources in the region, as well as improving the living conditions of the population. One of the important events was the International Conference “Development of cooperation in the Aral Sea region to mitigate environmental catastrophe” in Urgench, which resulted in the government of Uzbekistan signing with international donors documents for specific projects. In particular, agreement was reached to attract preferential long-term loans totaling $1.9 billion and $ 0.2 billion to provide grants and technical assistance funds.

The document signed with the Chinese is another example of the success of Uzbekistan to attract international community’s efforts to respond to the urgent need for environmental security challenges.

 


 

Posted on May 20, 2016 

Prospects for the development of organic agriculture in Uzbekistan

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Increasing agricultural productivity is essential to Uzbekistan. Organic agriculture represents a great opportunity for reaching our economic goals.

Organic agriculture is a complete production management system which promotes the principles of health protection and promotion of agro-ecosystems, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity.

Today the priority in Uzbekistan is consumer protection and preservation of the biological characteristics of plants, which means less use of chemicals including pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers.

As part of this work, Council of Farmers of Uzbekistan, UzLiDeP, Center for Support of Entrepreneurship and Farming in Uzbekistan in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan organized a “round table” on the theme: “Prospects for the development of organic agriculture in Uzbekistan” on May 19, 2016.

It was attended by deputies of Oliy Majlis, representatives of ministries and departments, scientific research institutions, experts and farmers, where they discussed the future development of organic agriculture in Uzbekistan, increasing organic exports to other countries.

Participants of the event also discussed global market demand for organic products, learned about the activities of organic farms overseas, as well as discussed the legal basis for the development of organic agriculture in Uzbekistan. Additionally, the participants of the event received practical information on organizing organic product supply chains, meeting quality requirements, packaging, marking, and transportation.

During the event, participants extensively exchanged views on development of organic agriculture in Uzbekistan and developed specific proposals and recommendations in this direction.

 


Posted on May 16, 2016 

Sustainable Sudochye Lakes Wetlands Management discussed in Tashkent

 sustainable

A closing conference “Sustainable Sudochye Lakes Wetlands Management project”, funded by the USAID and implemented by the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia in close cooperation with the State Committee for the Protection of Nature (Goskompriroda) was held in Tashkent on 13 May.

The main goal of the pilot project is to empower local stakeholders in the protection and management of the wetlands in example of Sudochye Lakes System to disseminate received experience in Uzbekistan and the countries of Central Asia.

A range of monitoring equipment was handed over to Goskompriroda. As a result of USAID’s technical assistance, this Uzbek environmental protection agency will be able to mobilize modern technical resources for the development of an integrated water resources management plan for the sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation.


Posted on May 13, 2016 

Interaction in mitigating the Aral Sea disaster

aral_sea_problem

An exchange of notes is conducted between the governments of Uzbekistan and China in the direction of the complex expedition of Chinese experts to examine projects under the “Programme of Action on Assistance for the Aral Sea basin countries for 2011-2015″.

Conducting the all-inclusive expedition will be carried out at the expense of grant aid in accordance with the Agreement between the governments of Uzbekistan and the People’s Republic of China on technical-economic cooperation dated November 3, 2007.

At the end of the expedition, the Chinese experts are planning to sel ect priority projects aimed at improving the environmental and socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea area for the subsequent preparation of feasibility studies and their gradual implementation.

The purpose of the planned projects is to mitigate environmental tension in the Aral Sea region through the establishment of forest belts from large shrubs that allows to reduce salt and dust removal, restore biodiversity, develop fish farming sector.

These initiatives are part of the Comprehensive Program of measures on mitigating the aftermaths of the Aral Sea disaster, rehabilitation and socio-economic development of the Aral Sea region in the years 2015-2018 approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on August 29, 2015.

It is noteworthy that the achievement of such important agreements with China took place during the presidency of Uzbekistan in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea. From August 2013 during the presidency of Uzbekistan in the Executive Committee of IFAS it was carried out extensive work on drawing attention and consolidating the efforts of the international community for the realization of joint practical actions, programs and projects.

They are aimed at reducing the negative consequences fr om drying up of the Aral Sea, environmental protection and rational use of water resources in the region, as well as improving the living conditions of the population.

One of the most important events was the International Conference “Development of cooperation in the region of the Aral Sea to mitigate consequences of the ecological catastrophe” in Urgench which was attended by representatives of IFAS founder states, international organizations and financial institutions, donor governments, environmental organizations, the diplomatic corps, as well as authoritative scientists and experts. This forum is designed to mobilize the international community for the implementation of programs and projects aimed at improving the environmental and socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea region, as well as the further development of international cooperation to reduce the negative effects of the environmental disaster.

At the end of the conference the government of Uzbekistan, Executive Committee of IFAS, relevant ministries and agencies have signed a number of official documents on further cooperation and implementation of specific projects aimed at stabilization of socio-ecological and economic situation in the Aral Sea crisis area with international organizations and donors.

In particular, agreements have been reached to attract preferential long-term loans totaling $ 1.9 billion and for the provision of $ 0.2 billion in the form of grants and technical assistance funds.

An increased activity on the implementation of various projects and programs in cooperation with foreign partners in the improvement of the ecological situation in the Aral Sea area is the result of conducted actions, “round tables”, seminars, as well as a number of meetings and negotiations with representatives of international and donor organizations, financial institutions.

The signing of the relevant documents with the Chinese side is another shining example of the Uzbekistan’s success in the period of its chairmanship in the IFAS in attracting the attention and efforts of the international community on the urgent need to respond to the challenges of environmental and social security-related tragedy of the Aral sea.

Nozim Khasanov,

Head of the secretariat of the Executive

Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea

 


 

Posted on April 21, 2016 

Environmental issues

environmental_issue

The capital hosted an international scientific conference “Social history and anthropogenic landscapes of the Syrdarya river basin: a study of archives of the environment” organized by the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences in cooperation with foreign partners.

At the event, the theme of ecology and environmental protection was considered from different angles and points of view: the archaeological, anthropological, historical. The reports were as the staff of our research institutes and universities as well as foreign: the French National Research Centre, University of Tübingen in Germany, and others.

– The study of ancient irrigation systems and their impact on the environment, farming and many others plays a big role in a more accurate understanding of the current state of the environment, a leading researcher at the Institute of History of Nadira Mahkamova says. – In addition, the conference themes raised the need for international cooperation in addressing relevant issues, in particular water management issues.

 


Posted on April 16, 2016 

Frames for environment

frames

The National University of Uzbekistan hosted an international conference “Education and Science for Sustainable Development”. Its organizers – the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education, Environmental Movement, the State Committee for Nature Protection and representative of UNESCO in our country – demonstrate an integrated approach to issues of ecology and education.

The conference was attended by deputies of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, Ministries of Higher and Secondary Special Education, Health, the State Committee, experts from Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Kazakhstan, scientists and university teachers, representatives of NGOs and the media. They gathered to draw public attention to the cross-cutting issues of sustainable development and environmental protection and to exchange experiences in solving them, to discuss the improvement of the state educational standards, curricula and programs in accordance with the principles of education for sustainable development.

Speakers noted that in the years of independence in our country a lot of attention paid to environmental issues, including the introduction of related concepts in the educational process and training for the industry.

The two-day forum, the participants discussed a wide range of issues related to water management, the prospects of development of renewable energy, climate change, and environmental journalism.

Particular attention was paid to water issues. A separate conference session dedicated to the latest UN report on the state of water resources in the world.

 


Posted on April 13, 2016 

OPEC Fund provides US$11m loan to Uzbekistan

OPEC Fund for International Development provided a US$11 million loan to Uzbekistan to improve water supply in Samarkand region in the first quarter of 2016.The funds were allocated to implementation of “Improving Drinking Water Supply in Rural Areas of Koshrabad District of Samarkand Region Project” with the cost of US$36.38 million.

The project aims at improving health indicators and living conditions of approximately 68,000 people through the construction and upgrading of water supply infrastructure.

This will include extending main water lines and constructing distribution networks to bring drinking water to the regional center in Koshrabad and 77 surrounding settlements.

 


Posted on April 13, 2016 

OPEC Fund provides US$11m loan to Uzbekistan

OPEC Fund for International Development provided a US$11 million loan to Uzbekistan to improve water supply in Samarkand region in the first quarter of 2016.

The funds were allocated to implementation of “Improving Drinking Water Supply in Rural Areas of Koshrabad District of Samarkand Region Project” with the cost of US$36.38 million.

The project aims at improving health indicators and living conditions of approximately 68,000 people through the construction and upgrading of water supply infrastructure.

This will include extending main water lines and constructing distribution networks to bring drinking water to the regional center in Koshrabad and 77 surrounding settlements.

 


Posted on April 04, 2016 

Nestle Uzbekistan holds events dedicated to World Water Day

nestle

Nestle Uzbekistan in cooperation with the State Committee of Uzbekistan on nature protection held several events within the celebrations of World Water Day.

Taking into account that Nestle is one of leaders on production of bottled water, the World Water Day is one of important dates for the company.

Since 2010, World Water Day has been good opportunity to Nestlé Water and WET Foundation to explain importance of water and careful attention to it.

On 1 April, Nestle held a conference “Rational water use: legislation and practice” in Tashkent, which was dedicated to rational use of water.

On 3 April, in Namangan the company held a Water Day holiday. During the event, the children received information on water use and current problems, which the world is facing. The children also participated in games and contests.

Within the month, Nestle is planning to organize lectures of volunteers at Tashkent schools in order to familiarize them with rational use of water.

 


Posted on April 04, 2016 

It is Time for Asia and the Pacific to Lead on Sustainable Development

asia_time

KOICA and MAWR sign agreement

22 March 2016 19:18

Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) — On 22 March 2016, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan (MAWR) signed a Record of Discussions for implementation of new project titled “Master Plan and Pilot Project with ICT-based Integrated Water Resources Management System in Uzbekistan”.

This project was initiated at the request of Uzbekistan Government to enhance the technical and administrative capacity of the MAWR by transferring Korea’s experience, knowledge and know-how on water resources management based on Smart Water Grid system.

This project, with a budget of US$7 million will be implemented over the next 4 years, and pursues such objectives as: identifying the urgent water agenda in Uzbekistan and provide the methodology for efficient and transparent water allocation and use for saving water; providing a reasonable and reliable water supply monitoring and information system, tailored to local needs.

The Deputy Minister of agriculture and water resources Shavkat Hamraev on behalf of Uzbekistan Government expressed his gratitude to KOICA and the Government of Korea for their contribution to socio-economic development of the Republic of Uzbekistan and wished for a successful and productive implementation of the project.

Director of KOICA Uzbekistan office Ms. Im Jeong Hee stated that KOICA is honored to implement the current project in Uzbekistan in order to assist with development of the Master Plan for providing a strategic direction of national water information management system and designing the software for water information, monitoring and management in accordance with e-government policy of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

 


Posted on March 23, 2016 

KOICA and MAWR sign agreement

koica2

On 22 March 2016, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan (MAWR) signed a Record of Discussions for implementation of new project titled “Master Plan and Pilot Project with ICT-based Integrated Water Resources Management System in Uzbekistan”.

This project was initiated at the request of Uzbekistan Government to enhance the technical and administrative capacity of the MAWR by transferring Korea’s experience, knowledge and know-how on water resources management based on Smart Water Grid system.

This project, with a budget of US$7 million will be implemented over the next 4 years, and pursues such objectives as: identifying the urgent water agenda in Uzbekistan and provide the methodology for efficient and transparent water allocation and use for saving water; providing a reasonable and reliable water supply monitoring and information system, tailored to local needs.

The Deputy Minister of agriculture and water resources Shavkat Hamraev on behalf of Uzbekistan Government expressed his gratitude to KOICA and the Government of Korea for their contribution to socio-economic development of the Republic of Uzbekistan and wished for a successful and productive implementation of the project.

Director of KOICA Uzbekistan office Ms. Im Jeong Hee stated that KOICA is honored to implement the current project in Uzbekistan in order to assist with development of the Master Plan for providing a strategic direction of national water information management system and designing the software for water information, monitoring and management in accordance with e-government policy of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

 


Posted on March 17, 2016 

Uzbekistan, Japan discuss cooperation in agriculture sector

japan_uzbek

A meeting of the Uzbek-Japanese working group on cooperation in agriculture took place in Tashkent on 15 March.

The session was organized in line with the Memorandum of cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Management of Uzbekistan and Ministry of Agriculture, Fish and Forestry of Japan, which was signed within the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Tashkent in October.

According to Turkiston-press, the meeting was aimed at determining perspective direction of bilateral cooperation.

At the meeting, the sides considered issues of cooperation in training specialists, processing of ready products, modernization of industry, agriculture research, improving soil fertility and water management.

 


Posted on March 17, 2016 

KOICA completes its first Academic research Project on water shortage issues in Uzbekistan

 koica_complete

Final workshop of the academic cooperation project in the field of water management and water shortage in Uzbekistan was held on 16 March 2016 at the City Palace Hotel Tashkent.

The representatives of project’s main participating institutions, such as the Ministry of agriculture and water resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the University of Incheon, K-water, HEC-KOREA, IFAS, ICWC and KOICA discussed the final results and outcomes of the first academic cooperation project.

Deputy Minister of agriculture and water resources Shavkat Khamraev stated that the researchers and institutions in water sector of Uzbekistan gained new knowledge and experience in modern water management systems through the academic research project. Within this project Uzbek researchers and public officials visited Korea and received practical training on issues of resolving water problems. Mr. Khamrev expressed to KOICA and Korean government his gratitude for their support and contribution into improving the water management system of Uzbekistan.

Director of KOICA Uzbekistan office Ms. Im Jeong Hee congratulated the researchers of both countries with successful completion of the project. Ms. Im stressed out that this academic project serves as a good example of close partnership and cooperation between Korea-Uzbekistan.

Subsequent to current project, KOICA and the Government of Uzbekistan are planning to launch a new project “Master Plan and Pilot Project with ICT-based Integrated Water Resources Management System in Uzbekistan” in 2016.

The researchers of both countries have achieved valuable academic results and expressed their desire to continue cooperation in the future.


Posted on March 10, 2016 

Media of Kyrgyzstan on Uzbekistan’s cooperation with the UN

media

Svoboda.kg Information and Analytical Agency posted an article dedicated to the 24th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s accession to the United Nations (UN).

The article noted that the beginning of a fruitful and multifaceted Uzbekistan’s partnership with the UN was laid on March 2, 1992. It reported that the peaceful policy of our state and its commitment to the principles and norms of international law identified the priority areas of partnership with the organization.

Portal informed readers that representative offices of UN agencies such as the World Health Organization, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Children’s Fund, the Population Development Programme, the Drug Enforcement Administration in the republic and crime, the Joint HIV/AIDS program are established in our republic. It noted that more than 440 projects have been implemented in conjunction with the UN specialized agencies.

The source stressed that Uzbekistan has accumulated a lot of experience and constructive cooperation in the field of security. “The Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for combating illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors (CARICC) was created at the suggestion of President Islam Karimov, voiced during the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s visit to Uzbekistan in October 2002. The Republic is also a party to the basic international agreements and treaties on disarmament and non-proliferation. So, it joined the 13 United Nations conventions on combating terrorism” – noted Svoboda.kg.

The article informed that the country’s cooperation with the organization also includes issues of ecology and environmental protection. In this context, it reported that the head of our state drew the attention of the world community on the Aral Sea problem and suggested effective measures to tackle it on the 48th session of the UN General Assembly on September 28, 1993. “In 1993, heads of five Central Asian countries established the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) at the initiative of president. In 2008, the fund was granted observer status at the UN General Assembly”, – the material emphasized.

It further noted that Secretary-General of the international organization, Ban Ki-moon visited the Aral Sea region and got acquainted with the extensive work carried out in the country in the aftermath of environmental disasters during his visit to Uzbekistan in April 2010. “The outcome of the visit was the adoption of “Ensuring livelihoods of people affected by the Aral Sea crisis” joint program by the UN and the government”. “Programme of measures on eliminating the consequences of the drying up of the Aral Sea ecosystem and averting the catastrophe of the ecological systems in the Aral Sea region”, distributed as an official document at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly on September 16, 2013, has also received the full support of the Secretary-General”, – the publication reported.

In conclusion Svoboda.kg. emphasized that Uzbekistan is in favor of achieving high Millennium Development Goals, and our country supported the new Sustainable Development Goals for 2016-2030 years on the UN Sustainable Development Summit.

 


Posted on February 28, 2016 

More than 500 persons express desire to become public inspectors of environmental control

persons_express

The process of formation of public inspectors for environmental control was in the focus of a session at the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for nature protection. Interested public organizations, ministries and departments attended the event.

Representatives of the Ecological movement of Uzbekistan, CYM “Kamolot”, NANNO of Uzbekistan, public Fund “Mahalla”, ministries and departments reported on the work carried out, exchanged experiences and made additional suggestions for improving environmental monitoring.

In November–December last year, heads and representatives of local authorities, NGOs and other civil society institutions held more than two dozen of meetings on the topic: “State and public ecological control over the execution of the environmental legislation of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Experience and prospects”. The meetings generated a list of more than 500 individuals who have expressed a desire to become public inspectors of environmental control.

A “roadmap” for the development of the Institute of public inspectors of environmental control has been developed in the country, in order to ensure the coordination of joint actions of state bodies and civil society institutions in implementing public ecological control. This document, following the order of the government and in accordance with the proposals of the involved ministries and departments has been finalized and agreed and now provides for the implementation of various activities. Among them, we can note the development of a procedure of special training of public inspectors of environmental control, preparation and publication of regulatory legal acts on environmental protection and environmental management, and others.

It also provides for the participation of public officers in raids of state inspectors for nature protection, involves the community members to participate in the processes of prevention of illegal felling of trees and shrubs, the formation of unauthorized dumps of household waste, illegal construction of housing and other facilities in water protection zones.

It is also envisaged to develop a legal framework to stimulate the activities of public inspectors of environmental control and carrying out of the Republican competition to reveal the best public inspector of environmental control “Green patrol”.

 


 

Posted on February 26, 2016 

Almaty discussed prospects of a single regional infospace in the field of nature and water resources management

almaty_discuss

Representatives of the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) attended the meeting on the development of regional information space in the field of information on the Environmental Protection and Water Resources, held on February 18-19 this year in Almaty.

The event was organized with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).

In addition to IFAS, such as regional and international organizations as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, the Scientific Information Center of Interstate Coordination Water Commission (SIC), Coordination and control room center (CDC), “Energy” and Basin Water Organizations (BWO) “Amudarya” and “Syrdarya” and others were also presented at the meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the creation of a unified and coherent focal point for increased efficiency in the field of nature protection from harmful influences, and water resources management in the Aral Sea basin.

The event noted that Uzbekistan’s chairmanship in the IFAS has positive results, in particular the strengthening of regional cooperation and activization of attraction of funds of international organizations, financial institutions and donors to implement the Aral Sea basin program of the – 3 (ASBP – 3).

In addition, participants noted the importance of addressing a number of issues related to:

– strengthening of the coordinating role of the Fund’s Executive Board in regional initiatives as a unique international organization and the only political platform in the Aral Sea basin, which brings together the five Central Asian states;

– assisting in the rapid exchange of information between regional organizations and the Executive Committee of IFAS in order to monitor the implementation of the ASBP-3 projects, as well as to develop further measures and actions to analyze the results achieved and clarify priorities;

– build-up of joint activities to promote regional projects under the ASBP-3 and attract donors to implement them.

The meeting noted the importance of further development and strengthening of a common information space in areas such as water resources and the environment in Central Asia, which will contribute to the implementation of a more efficient and comprehensive work in the area. In this connection, it was decided to establish a working group comprising representatives of IFAS bodies, including the Executive Committee of IFAS, SIC, Secretary of the ICWC, BWOs “Amudarya” and “Syrdarya”, CDC “Energy” and others.

Upon completion, it was noted that the meeting was held in a spirit of understanding and commitment to the further development of cooperation, laying a good foundation for capacity building in the management and exchange of information at the regional level.

UNECE has expressed readiness to assist EC ASBP in the development of its information base for programs and projects of the Aral Sea basin, and in the process of monitoring the implementation of regional projects in the framework of the ASBP-3.

 


Posted on February 26, 2016 

Uzbekistan to offer to include two water reservoirs to Ramsar List

offer

Uzbekistan is preparing a package of documents to include two water reservoirs to Ramsar List – Tudakul and Kuyumazar lakes in Navoi region.

Currently, the documents are prepared to include water reservoirs to the Ramsar List within the project “Water reservoirs Tudakul and Kuyumazar – new Ramsar territories in Uzbekistan”.

The project group and local citizens started a draft plan on management of these territories to ensure sustainable use of their resources, preserve bio diversity and improve life standards of population.

The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) — called the “Ramsar Convention” — is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the “wise use”, or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories.

The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance now includes 2,000 sites (known as Ramsar Sites) in 163 countries.

Uzbekistan joined the Ramsar Convention in line with the resolution of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan from 30 August 2001, which came into force on 2 February 2002.

Uzbekistan presently has 2 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 558,400 hectares. The Ramsar List includes Lake Dengizkul and Aydar Arnasay Lakes System. Uzbekistan has about 1 million hectares of wetlands or 500 lakes.

 


Posted on February 24, 2016 

Clean water in every home

clean_water

Andijan region, where 18 city and regional branches of “Suvokova” state unitary enterprise, one cleaning, and 26 intakes, more than 1 200 wells are located, conducts extensive work on the reconstruction of water supply and sewerage system.

In the framework of preparation for this autumn winter season, the region envisaged overhaul 28,1 kilometers and carry out routine repair 58,3 kilometers of water networks, their total length is 5610 kilometers. 120 and 104 percentage was respectively carried out in these two scheduled directions.

This year construction and reconstruction of 63 kilometers of water pipes, 23 wells, and a water management facility are planned in 59 towns. Over 11.5 billion soums will be allocated for these purposes. This will result in improved supply of drinking water to more than 360 thousand households.

The decree of the President dated 30 July 2010 “On measures on realization of the project “Reconstruction of water supply and sewerage systems of Kokand and Andijan cities and water supply system of Fergana, Margilan towns and Rishtan district center” is also consistently carried out in the regions with the participation of the Asian Development Bank. In particular, specialists of the SUE “Suvokova” and LLC “Zhuydamtamirchi” from Fergana conduct systematic replacement of old metal water pipes on the plastic with diameter up to 600 millimeters.

– This project is carried out at the expense of the Asian Development Bank’s credit funds, – said the director of the SUE “Suvokova” Muzaffar Ahunov. – 48 kilometers of water networks are already laid and renewed in the regional center, including on the streets of Dukchi Eshon, Osh, Kolsevaya, Maybahcha, name after Atabekov, Mashraba, Nayman, Altinkul in five districts. In addition, the distribution sites, treatment plants and storage tanks are reconstructed and constructed in the town of Xanabad and Kurgantepa district, villages of Hartum and Harabek in Andijan region, as well as the node swap “Bagishamol”.

High quality and pace of work is facilitated with technology and equipment, acquired by credit.

According to the decree of the President dated February 15, 2012, at the expense of the Asian Development Bank, the construction of ten kilometers of sewer networks and collectors is planned in the region until the end of the year. Today these works has been carried out in a volume of 9,2 kilometers.

 


Posted on February 14, 2016 

Environmental authorities of Uzbekistan and Austria sign cooperation agreement

environment

The State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for nature protection and the Austrian Environment Agency signed an agreement on cooperation in the transfer of advanced technologies and practices, increasing human resource capacity, improvement of environmental regulations and standards.

A document on cooperation between the environmental authorities of the two countries was signed during the visit of the delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan headed by Chairman of the State Committee for nature protection in Austria in view of the preparatory meeting to XXIV economic and environmental forum of the OSCE, which will take place in May 2016.

The program of the visit has allowed to cover a wide range of issues concerning environmental policy and legislation, their impact on the growth sectors of the economy, increasing resource efficiency, implementation of clean technologies and waste management.

In addition, the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for nature protection during this visit signed a Memorandum of understanding with the Austrian cluster “Eco World Styria” Umwelttechnik Cluster GmbH. The signed document envisages cooperation of the parties for the implementation of joint projects and programmes, research, exchange visits of experts on the improvement of waste management system, as well as the introduction of new technologies for wastewater treatment, alternative energy, reduction of air pollution and development of the system of environmental monitoring in the Republic of Uzbekistan.

“Eco World Styria” (the Valley of green technology) being a cluster of innovative companies in the field of environmental and energy technology was established in 2005. Today the total annual turnover of the cluster amounts to 8.5 billion Euro, including in the field of renewable energy and environmental technology – more than 3.5 billion euros.

In 2012, the cluster “Eco World Styria” was awarded the European Commission’s “Regiostars 2012″ as the most innovative project of the economic growth in Europe. An independent audit assigned the cluster a sign “Cluster Management Excellence – Gold”.

 


Posted on February 13, 2016 

Uzbekistan raises requirements for nature protection

nature_protection

The State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for nature protection held a number of meetings with representatives of ministries, agencies and economic entities of Tashkent, in the course of which discussed the legal framework of the state, departmental and industrial ecological control in the field of nature protection, rational use and reproduction of natural resources in the country.

In the framework of the meeting, speeches were addressed by the Deputy of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Chairman of the Public Council of the State Committee for nature protection Dilorom Fayziyeva, Deputy head of Department of economy and organization of nature management of the State Committee for nature protection Vohidjon Haitbaev, chief specialist of the Department of health, ecology and environment protection of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan Bahodir Shukurov.

According to speakers, the environmental sphere in our Republic, along with economic, political and social functions of the state is one of the most important and since the first days of independence, it has been requiring the increased attention. In 1992, the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On nature protection” was adopted. It creates a platform of normative regulation of legal, economic, organizational relations between nature users and government.

The development of the consumer interests of the company and high growth rates in the country industry has put on the agenda the need to empower environmental control.

The work on the draft law “On environmental control” was started on the initiative of President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov. On December 27, 2013, this legislation came into force.

The law defines the types of environmental control: the state, departmental, industrial and public.

The document also defined the procedure and methods of implementation of these controls, the shape of their implementation and execution of identified results. It specifies the rights and obligations of business entities, regulates the powers of public bodies, defines the role of civil society institutions.

The “Regulations on the procedure of state environmental control”, which was adopted by the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers on August 5, 2014, identified goals, objectives and procedure for implementation, the legal authority of state bodies in this area.

The document outlined the scope of activities subject to inspections in terms of compliance with the requirements of the legislation in the field of environmental protection, rational use and reproduction of natural resources. In particular, this also applies to land and water resources, wildlife, and waste management, geological exploration, use and protection of subsoil.

On 8 October 2015 model provisions “On the procedure for implementation of departmental environmental control”, “On the implementation of industrial environmental control” and “On the procedure of implementation of public environmental control” came into force. The adoption of these documents has become the final point in the creation of a new mechanism for regulating relations in the sphere of all kinds of environmental control. The proposed system of measures, actions and decisions will provide further hanging the efficiency of environmental activities and its access to a higher level.

During the discussion the participants exchanged experiences and made suggestions for further improvement of the mechanism of environmental control.

 


Posted on January 25, 2016 

Meeting on water and environmental issues

meeting_water

January 23, 2016 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan hosted an expert meeting with the participation of representatives of relevant ministries and agencies.

During the meeting discussed topical issues in the field of water and environment and climate change, summed up the past year and plans for marked 2016.

The ministries and departments provide information on the results of the participation of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the following events:

– first preparatory meeting for the 23rd Economic and Environmental Forum of the OSCE on the theme “Water Management in the OSCE region – increasing security and stability through cooperation” (January 26-27, 2015, Vienna);

– International Water Forum “Important aspects of rational and efficient use of water resources and environmental protection” (April 2-5, 2015, Ashgabat);

– seventh World Water Forum on the theme “The future we want” (April 12-17, 2015, Gyeongbuk and Daegu);

– second preparatory meeting for 23rd Economic and Environmental Forum of the OSCE on the theme “Water Management in the OSCE region – increasing security and stability through cooperation” (May 11-13, 2015, Belgrade);

– final meeting to 23rd Economic and Environmental Forum of the OSCE on the theme “Water Management in the OSCE area – increasing security and stability through cooperation” (September 14-16, 2015, Prague);

– ministerial conference on the theme “Water and good neighborly relations in Central Asia” (September 7-8, 2015, Berlin);

– fifth high-level conference “EU-Central Asia” on environment and water resources (October 12-13, 2015, Milan);

Participants exchanged views on prospects of cooperation of Uzbekistan with foreign countries, including Central Asian states, as well as cooperation of the republic with international organizations in this field, promoting interests of Uzbekistan on water and environmental issues and climate change.

 


Posted on January 19, 2016 

Russian media about implementation of water-saving technologies in Uzbekistan

russian_media1

At the scientific portal “Ecology of production” posted an article on the issues of water management and efficient cultivation of agricultural land in Uzbekistan.

The publication reports that only in 2008-2012, 748 billion 700 million soums has been directed to this sector. As a result of the measures taken the ground water were kept at an optimum level. It is possible to reduce the area of ​​strongly and medium saline lands, as well as to increase the average yield of cotton fields at 2-2.5 tons per hectare, and rice yield at 2.5-3 kg/ha.

As noted in the material, removing crops that do not require copious irrigation, helped to reduce water consumption in irrigated agriculture. In addition, significantly reduced water-loving cotton planting area from 2 million down to 1 million 200 thousand hectares, and rice – from 180 thousand to 40 thousand hectares.

The Russian edition emphasizes that today Uzbek scientists’ study aimed at improving the system of drip irrigation, and the introduction of advanced foreign technology. For now, this type of irrigation is already being used in some areas of Uzbekistan, and for accumulation of moisture in the soil for the purpose of water conservation in the cultivation of crops used the experience of French scientists on the use of chemical polymers – hydrogels. All this allows to increase the annual yield.

The article also reports on work carried out by large enterprises of water conservancy country destination, the efficient use of water resources, as well as management of state based on principles of basin irrigation control systems, as well as the introduction of market principles at all levels of water use.

In addition, reader’s attention is drawn to measures taken to support further development of science in agriculture, expansion of scale of scientific achievements usage in practice.

In conclusion, its noted that all of this is the result created in Uzbekistan, opportunities and conducted wide-ranging reforms.


Posted on January 13, 2016 

Uzbekistan’s Postal Service puts into circulation stamps of “The Aral Sea catastrophe” series

postal_uzbek

Starting from January 5, “Uzbekistan Pochtasi” JSC has put into circulation the postage stamps of the special issue “The Aral Sea catastrophe”.

Postage stamp “The Aral Sea catastrophe” is devoted to the topic “Disaster risk reduction” on the recommendation of the Universal Postal Union. The postage stamp is made in the form of a mail box.

The stamp depicts the ecological catastrophe of the Aral Sea. On the block there is an inscription in Latin alphabet “Mitigation of consequences of environmental catastrophe of the Aral Sea.”

The postage stamp is multicolor and has offset printing. Moreover, it has comb perforation. The size of a postage stamp is 52×37 mm. The size of the postal unit is 100x80mm. Circulation constitutes 7 thousand copies.

The face value of a postage stamp – 2200 soums.

 


Posted on January 12, 2016 

Natural laboratories

natural_laboratory

State Committee for Nature Protection of Uzbekistan hosted the roundtable “Uzbekistan: the system of protected natural territories” is dedicated to the celebration of the Day of reserves and national parks. It was attended by representatives of the State Biological Control, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, “Uzbektourism” National Company, environmentalists and journalists.

It noted that the system of protected areas plays a decisive role in preservation and restoration of many species of plants and animals, including endangered species. Reserves have rightfully become a natural laboratory where scientists are conducting research work. Preservation, maintenance and further development of a sustainable system of protected areas are the state’s and society’s most important task.

Today, eight nature reserves, two national parks, the Lower Amudarya State Biosphere Reserve, “Jayran” the Republican Center for breeding rare species of animals, several monuments of nature are in Uzbekistan. “Saigachiy”, complex landscape reserve, is also ready to start work at this stage; its main objective is the preservation of the Ustyurt saiga population.

The event noted that changes and additions to in a number of documents were made in 2014 in order to improve the regulatory framework in the field of regulation, protection and use of protected areas. The project, which provides the expansion of the system from 2,3 million to 8,1 million hectares, was fulfilled. In accordance with the Law “On Environmental Protection” Gosbiocontrol State Committee together with the reserves’ inspection have regularly conducted raids in protected areas to detect and prevent violations of environmental laws. For example, employees of the State Biological Control have revealed 5925 violations in 2015, the measures against perpetrators were taken.

Participants of the meeting exchanged their views on strengthening of protected natural areas’ management, as well as coordination of agencies and institutions of civil society.

 


Posted on January 11, 2016 

Kyrgyzstan’s Media on measures to rationalize water and land use in Uzbekistan

kyrgyz_media

Svoboda.kg Information Agency continues to publish articles dedicated to Uzbekistan. The focus of the Kyrgyz media is on water management and efficient cultivation of agricultural land in the country.

In particular, the source noted a number of measures taken in the country to introduce advanced technology and modern technical means in the areas. Thus, the special varieties of fruit plants that do not require copious irrigation are being successfully breeding, area planted with low water consumption grain, vegetable, melons and gourds have been increased. It allows reducing water consumption in irrigated agriculture.

In addition, according to the Kyrgyz edition, an active research work of Uzbek scientists to improve the system of drip irrigation is conducting. In this regard, the article stressed the role of the scientific research conducted in the Uzbek Scientific Production Center for Agriculture and Research Institute of Horticulture, Viticulture and Wine-making named after the Academician M.Mirzaeva. “Currently, drip irrigation is widely used in gardens of Namangan, Surkhandarya, Kashkadarya, Jizzakh regions. Environmentally friendly polymers – hydrogels are used in the cultivation of crops for the accumulation of moisture in the soil for water conservation, so there is an annual increase in harvest”.

Svoboda.kg IA emphasized that high-quality preparation of the land for planting makes it possible to save up to 20-25% of irrigation water. For this purpose, laser leveling of fields is fulfilled in a number of regions of Uzbekistan. The technology is widely used in Germany, Israel, Italy, the USA, Sweden, Japan and other countries.

In conclusion, news noted that “in the result of taken measures, the ground water was kept at an optimum level. It is possible to reduce the area of strongly and medium saline lands. Due to the reforms the average yield of cotton fields has increased by 2-2,5 t/ha, and grain fields by 2,5-3 t/ha”.

 


 

Interaction in mitigating the Aral Sea disaster

aral_sea_problem

An exchange of notes is conducted between the governments of Uzbekistan and China in the direction of the complex expedition of Chinese experts to examine projects under the “Programme of Action on Assistance for the Aral Sea basin countries for 2011-2015″.

Conducting the all-inclusive expedition will be carried out at the expense of grant aid in accordance with the Agreement between the governments of Uzbekistan and the People’s Republic of China on technical-economic cooperation dated November 3, 2007.

At the end of the expedition, the Chinese experts are planning to sel ect priority projects aimed at improving the environmental and socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea area for the subsequent preparation of feasibility studies and their gradual implementation.

The purpose of the planned projects is to mitigate environmental tension in the Aral Sea region through the establishment of forest belts from large shrubs that allows to reduce salt and dust removal, restore biodiversity, develop fish farming sector.

These initiatives are part of the Comprehensive Program of measures on mitigating the aftermaths of the Aral Sea disaster, rehabilitation and socio-economic development of the Aral Sea region in the years 2015-2018 approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on August 29, 2015.

It is noteworthy that the achievement of such important agreements with China took place during the presidency of Uzbekistan in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea. From August 2013 during the presidency of Uzbekistan in the Executive Committee of IFAS it was carried out extensive work on drawing attention and consolidating the efforts of the international community for the realization of joint practical actions, programs and projects.

They are aimed at reducing the negative consequences fr om drying up of the Aral Sea, environmental protection and rational use of water resources in the region, as well as improving the living conditions of the population.

One of the most important events was the International Conference “Development of cooperation in the region of the Aral Sea to mitigate consequences of the ecological catastrophe” in Urgench which was attended by representatives of IFAS founder states, international organizations and financial institutions, donor governments, environmental organizations, the diplomatic corps, as well as authoritative scientists and experts. This forum is designed to mobilize the international community for the implementation of programs and projects aimed at improving the environmental and socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea region, as well as the further development of international cooperation to reduce the negative effects of the environmental disaster.

At the end of the conference the government of Uzbekistan, Executive Committee of IFAS, relevant ministries and agencies have signed a number of official documents on further cooperation and implementation of specific projects aimed at stabilization of socio-ecological and economic situation in the Aral Sea crisis area with international organizations and donors.

In particular, agreements have been reached to attract preferential long-term loans totaling $ 1.9 billion and for the provision of $ 0.2 billion in the form of grants and technical assistance funds.

An increased activity on the implementation of various projects and programs in cooperation with foreign partners in the improvement of the ecological situation in the Aral Sea area is the result of conducted actions, “round tables”, seminars, as well as a number of meetings and negotiations with representatives of international and donor organizations, financial institutions.

The signing of the relevant documents with the Chinese side is another shining example of the Uzbekistan’s success in the period of its chairmanship in the IFAS in attracting the attention and efforts of the international community on the urgent need to respond to the challenges of environmental and social security-related tragedy of the Aral sea.

Nozim Khasanov,

Head of the secretariat of the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea

 


 

Posted on December 10, 2015

Uzbek delegation participated in the OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting

On December 3-4, 2015, the delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan has taken part in the 22nd session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Belgrade (Serbia).

In his speech, the head of the Uzbek delegation has focused the attention of the meeting participants on the important areas of 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council meeting’s agenda.

First. Under the conditions of rapidly changing international situation, growing geopolitical tensions and political confrontation, the ongoing global financial and economic crisis, the growing threat of radicalism, terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking cause particular concern, as well as increasing number of conflicts and confrontations.

The continuing instability in Afghanistan, which tends to further exacerbate, bears a serious threat to the stability and security of Central Asia and wider region.

As speaker noted, the only solution to the Afghan problem is a peaceful political negotiations, achievement of internal consensus between the warring parties in the financial, economic, humanitarian support from donor countries and the active participation of the United Nations.

Uzbekistan firmly convinced that the resolution of any acute contradictions and conflicts is only possible through political and peaceful means, with full respect for the fundamental principles of international law.

Second. Today, climate change and environmental problems unprecedented in scope and destructiveness are in the limelight of the international community. These problems have global character and are leading to unpredictable, sometimes tragic consequences. Thus, the largest in recent history world ecological catastrophe of planetary scale – the tragedy of the Aral Sea occupies special place. The sea was on the verge of extinction over a period of one generation’s lifetime.

A direct consequence of the drying of sea became a dramatic climate change which has been felt not only in Central Asia but also far beyond its borders. In fact, the threatening effect of the Aral Sea disaster is observed today throughout the world.

The most serious impact of the Aral Sea tragedy has had on living conditions and the gene pool of 65 million people in Central Asia. Extremely unfavorable ecological environment, and reducing the lack of drinking water, the growth of serious diseases – this is only a summary and is not a complete list of the consequences of this tragedy.

That is why Uzbekistan can not afford due to the implementation of plans for the construction of huge dams and large hydropower plants on the tributaries of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya, in the basins of which are concentrated oases of livelihoods of millions of people, disruption of the natural flow of the rivers has deteriorated the situation with water supply in the lower reaches, leading to radical disruption of water and ecological balance, exacerbate the problem of the Aral Sea and undermine the environmental safety of the vast region.

We believe that the issues of water and energy issues in Central Asia should be treated in accordance with universally recognized norms of international law guaranteeing a rational and fair distribution of water resources, and ensuring the interests of all states in the region.

Third. In order to ensure peace and security at the regional and global levels, the problem of forming and promoting the ideology of tolerance, mutual understanding and cultural diversity has acquired special urgency.

Uzbekistan for centuries has been one of the centers of enlightened Islam. The state crusaded for strengthening in the minds of people of such eternal values as the pursuit of goodness and peace and tolerance in interethnic and interreligious relations, mutual respect and harmony among people, regardless of skin color and beliefs.

Our country believes that the fight against terrorism should not be transformed into Islamophobia and take shape of clear or hidden standoff with the Islamic world. Questions of promotion of tolerance, mutual understanding and respect between different cultures and religions, problems of social integration should be a priority in the humanitarian “basket” of OSCE.

www.jahonnews.uz

 


Posted on October 30, 2015

Swiss hosted the presentation on achievements of Uzbekistan

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN in Geneva, presentation of Uzbekistan was held, which was dedicated to the 24 anniversary of the state independence of the republic, as well as its cooperation with this organization.

In particular, a national stand was also organized which the achievements of the country over the past period, its trade, economic and tourism potential, as well as a rich historical and cultural heritage were demonstrated.

Visitors acquainted with ongoing reforms in Uzbekistan aimed at democratic renewal and modernization of all spheres of life.

Particular attention is paid to the results of the consistent implementation of the reform and development strategy aimed at creating a modern, competitive and diversified market economy.

In addition, thematic presentations were conducted on the upcoming Tashkent International Investment Forum, as well as our country’s national pavilion at the World Exhibition Expo Milano-2015. The participants were informed in detail about the purpose, importance and opportunities of these activities.

They also spoke about cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United Nations and its specialized agencies in various areas. In this regard, the main priorities indicated by the interaction – the fight against modern threats and challenges to security, stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, human rights, environmental issues and in particular, mitigation of the Aral Sea disaster, economic and social development.

www.jahonnews.uz


Posted on October 22, 2015

Kyrgyz media: “Uzbekistan will direct 4,3 billion US dollars to the mitigating effects of the Aral sea disaster”

The article, devoted to the taken measures in Uzbekistan to mitigate the effects of the Aral Sea tragedy and socio-economic development of the Aral Sea region, has been published on the websites of Kyrgyz information agencies Svoboda.kg and “АКIpress”.

In particular, the materials reported on the adoption of a governmental comprehensive program in the years 2015-2018.

Svoboda.kg noted that this document provides the directing of 4,3 billion US dollars to the region. “These recourses will be directed to carry out a number of projects. The sphere of rational use of water recourses, creating the favorable condition for the health of population, increasing employment and improving life conditions, restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity, are also included to the list of project”, – says the source.

Information agency also underlined that in order to stabilize the drinking water supply, improve sanitary and epidemiological situation the water treatment and sewage facilities will be reconstructed, the supply system will be modernized, and the natural sources of drinking water will be revealed.

The article is also noted about food enrichment with iron and folic acid, iodine preparations, vitamin A and other micronutrients for the promotion of inhabitants’ health in the region and prevention of micronutrient deficiency.

“АКIpress”, in turn, informs that the program provides the whole utilization capacity and production of quality products with high added value,

“The technique and technological re-equipment of flour, oil and fat enterprises and ginneries has been conducted in the Republic of Karakalpakstan and Khorezm region. It is also planned to establish production facilities for deep processing of cotton fiber, fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products, wool and leather mainly in rural areas”.

According to information agency, special attention will be attached to the development and support of small business and private entrepreneurship based on new technologies in the framework of the document.

www.jahonnews.uz


 

Posted on October 12, 2015

“Uzbekistan supports United Nations sustainable development goals until 2030″

Azerbaijani news agencies reported on participation of delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the UN summit on the goals of sustainable development, which held in New York.

For example, Trend news agency published on its website an article devoted to address by Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov at the UNO summit on September 25, 2015.

The article notes that the head of the Foreign Ministry has put forward a proposal for a new agenda for the future of humanity – of sustainable development, designed for 2016-2030.

Quoting the words of Minister, the site emphasizes: “Uzbekistan on the estimates of international financial and economic structures of today takes the fifth place in the world among countries with rapidly growing economies. Over the last 10 years, despite the ongoing global economic downturn, the average growth rate of GDP exceeds 8%. During the years of independent development the state’s economy grew more than 5.5 times,  population’s real incomes – 9 times. Average life expectancy increased from 67 to 73 years, women – 75 years”.

Trend reports that, despite the enormous challenges and tests, the country has become a stable and steadily developing country with a modern diversified economy that ensured the cardinal increase the welfare and quality of life.

In turn Turkish Forum announces large-scale reforms in the health sector, which have led to a decline of one-third of the level of death in children under 5 years, and a similar reduction in maternal mortality. The incidence of tuberculosis in the country declined from the peak of 2002 by 1.6 times.

Special attention is paid source of the initiative of Uzbekistan, providing for the establishment under the auspices of the UN Special Trust Fund for the Aral Sea and the Aral Sea region, whose main task will be to coordinate the efforts and the implementation of targeted programs and projects aimed at mitigating the environmental disaster.

It is reported that the impact of the Aral Sea catastrophe threatening observed today throughout the world.

In this regard, the publication emphasizes that the most serious impact of the Aral Sea tragedy has had on living conditions and the gene pool of 65 million people in Central Asia. In the region there is a lack of ecological disaster and decline in the quality of drinking water, the growth of dangerous diseases and other problems.

Turkish Forum informs that the initiative for the establishment of the Trust Fund received the support of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Information Agency Etnoglobus also writes about the work done in the country over the past few years working to achieve the goals set in the Millennium Declaration.

“Despite the huge challenges and tests, the country has become a stable and steadily developing country with a modern diversified economy, providing crucial growing prosperity and quality of life, steady progress on the path of democratic renewal and modernization,” – the agency sums up.

www.jahonnews.uz


Posted on October 10, 2015

UZBEK DELEGATION TO PARTICIPATE IN “EU – CENTRAL ASIA” HIGH LEVEL CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES

The Delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan headed by the chairman of the State Committee for Nature Protection Bakhtiyor Abdusamatov will participate in the 5th High Level Conference “European Union – Central Asia” on Environment and Water Resources, which will take place on 12-13 October, 2015, in Milane (Italy).

During the conference, it is planned to discuss the results of the implementation of EU projects in Central Asia in the field of environmental protection and management of water resources, to identify priorities for further joint efforts in these areas.

 

www.mfa.uz


Posted on October 09, 2015

“I fully share the concerns of Uzbekistan on severe environmental situation in Central Asia”

The chief editor of the German news portal Usbekistan-Online Gerhard Birkle shared his opinion on the outcome of the participation of the delegation of our country in the September UN summit on sustainable development.

– In his speech, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov quite succinctly and clearly set out the approaches of the republic to global and regional problems.

Uzbekistan achieved great success in the implementation of the Programme of the Millennium Development Goals, is now taking a new agenda – sustainable development, designed for 2016-2030. The country, despite the difficulties of the transition period could provide tremendous progress in socio-economic and humanitarian fields. This is evidenced by multiple growth and diversification of its structure, a steady rise in living standards, the increase in the average duration of the citizens, especially women.

UN summit served as a good platform for the presentation of Uzbekistan its principled vision pressing global issues. I fully understand and support the concerns of the republic occurred severe environmental situation in Central Asia related to the drying up of the Aral Sea. The scale of this tragedy has long gone beyond the region and acquired a planetary character.

I think that the international community should join efforts and to provide real assistance to the Central Asian countries to mitigate the negative impact of the Aral Sea disaster. In this regard, I think is very timely and relevant initiative of Uzbekistan to establish under the auspices of the UN Special Trust Fund for the Aral Sea and the Aral Sea area. In my opinion, the new structure could play a coordinating role in the design, financing and implementation of large-scale projects aimed at improving the living conditions of the population of the Aral Sea region, biodiversity conservation in the region, implementation of the principles of rational use of water resources.

www.jahonnews.uz


Posted on October 09, 2015

Russian expert: Initiative of Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan on the Aral Sea has become one of the most constructive of voiced at the last UN General Assembly

Russian expert community welcomed the speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov at the United Nations summit on sustainable development at the end of September 2015 in New York.

Thus, in an interview to correspondent of Information Agency “Jahon” in Moscow, Сhief researcher of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor Irina Zvyagelskaya and CEO of the International Institute for Strategic Studies “Vector” Andrey Hrienko shared their views and assessments about past events.

Irina Zvyagelskaya:

– First of all I would like to note that address of head of Uzbekistan’s Foreign Ministry has been dedicated to the most important areas of the country, serious challenges encountered and measures to overcome them. Program deepening of reform, structural change and modernization of the economy can be seen in this context as the choice of courses to ensure successful social and economic transformation.

Attention is drawn to the situation in Uzbekistan and concerns around the Aral Sea. Republic works tirelessly environmental problem caused by the drying out of the reservoir and the consequences associated with it, and encourages the international community to work together in this direction. Creation of a special UN Trust Fund is a real step towards the realization of a number of major projects.

Overall performance of A.Kamilov raises questions about the special role of the state in the modern world. Against the background of turmoil in the international arena and the only way of reforms designed and capable of gradual reforms to be effective and successful.

A.Hrienko:

– Speech at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov has attracted international attention by his constructiveness.

First of all, from the rostrum he noted that at present Uzbekistan, on the conclusion of the international financial and economic structures, takes one of the leading places in the world among countries with rapidly growing economies. This by the way takes the state to the level of a particularly active part in solving the world’s problems.

It is in this context, initiatives were made in your country in relation to solving problems of the Aral Sea. A special feature was the fact that not only drew attention to the “tragedy of the Aral Sea” as a worldwide, but also offer real, science-based mechanism to overcome it.

Uzbekistan is deeply reasoned position proposed the creation under the auspices of UN Special Trust Fund with the widest range of powers. Thus it was actually put forward a formula solution of the situation with the participation of the entire international community. According to experts, the initiative has become one of the most meaningful of the announced at the General Assembly in the direction of solving the most pressing problems related to the sustainable development of mankind.

There is every reason to believe that the international community will offer Uzbekistan’s Aral Sea as a tool for preventing impending global ecological catastrophe.

In addition, it should be noted also that the Uzbek leadership has for a long time on their own, as far as possible to successfully solve the whole complex of the region’s environmental problems.

www.jahonnews.uz


 

Posted on October 08, 2015

N.Joshi: Uzbekistan’s initiative to establish Trust Fund for the Aral Sea deserves respect and support

Address by Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov at the recent United Nations Summit on sustainable development has caused wide interest among the scientific and analytical circles of India.

In particular, Director of the Research Foundation “India-Central Asia” N.Joshi noted the following:

– In his report minister Abdulaziz Kamilov submitted extensive information on the results of the work done by Uzbekistan in achieving the goals set in the Millennium Declaration.

Under the leadership of President Islam Karimov’s considerable efforts in ensuring the growth of well-being and quality of life, self-promotion on the path of democratic renewal and modernization of the country.

I would also like to draw attention to the approach your country with respect to solving environmental problems in Central Asia.

Given the nature of the planetary catastrophe of the Aral Sea, the country proposes to expand the joint actions and to generate targeted financial mechanisms in this area, in particular under the aegis of UN Special Trust Fund for the Aral Sea and the Aral Sea area. I think that the initiative of Uzbekistan deserves respect and support.

www.jahonnews.uz


Posted on October 07, 2015

“Uzbekistan has shown a willingness to work closely with the international community”

South Korean expert community with great interest acquainted with the outcome of participation of delegation of Uzbekistan in the United Nations summit on sustainable development, which has been held in late September 2015 in New York.

In particular, in an Jahon Interview Agency in Seoul, the South Korean university professor “Daksung” Kim Song Jin noted that in his speech the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov provides a balanced assessment of the glorious path traversed by the republic.

– The head of the Uzbek Foreign Ministry provided detailed information on the progress made in social and economic development and clearly outlined the environmental challenges facing the international community – the expert conciders.

South Korean professor elaborated on the problems of the Aral Sea.

– Address of Foreign Minister of the Republic to the UN member states with an appeal to give due attention to the disaster in the Aral Sea region is of great importance in the context of sustainable development, – Kim Song Jin stressed. – Uzbekistan, in turn, has shown a willingness to work closely with the international community to solve this issue. This is evidenced by the country’s initiative to establish a UN-sponsored Special Trust Fund for the Aral Sea and the Aral Sea area.

www.jahonnews.uz


Posted on October 05, 2015

“The Aral Sea tragedy demands urgent action by the international community”

Participation of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the UN summit on sustainable development goals, which has been held recently in New York, excited a wide resonance in the Chinese expert circles.

Yang Bo, Deputy director of the Center for the Study of Central Asia at the Shanghai University of International Studies:

– The report of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov on the last UN summit provided important information on the current development of the republic. It also clearly indicated a global problem requiring urgent action by the international community, such as the Aral Sea tragedy.

Indeed, the scale of the environmental disaster has long gone beyond one country or region. She has found the world and can be solved only by joint efforts of the international community. So important are the development and implementation of specific measures to mitigate the effects of the crisis.

Earlier, in 2013, the UN General Assembly has already approved as an official document proposed by Uzbekistan “Program of measures to eliminate the consequences of the drying of the Aral Sea ecosystem and prevent disasters in the Aral Sea region”. During the Summit on Sustainable Development of the Republic took the initiative to create under the auspices of the UN Special Trust Fund for the Aral Sea and the Aral Sea area, indicating that the country’s commitment to the speedy solution of environmental problems.

Danhua Zhang, Deputy director of the Research Institute for Public Diplomacy of the SCO at Shanghai University:

– Uzbekistan cooperates effectively with the UN, with particular emphasis on the implementation of commitments in the framework of this global structure. At the September summit in New York, the world acquainted with achieving the country’s Millennium Development Goals, and expressed support for its plans for the future in the context of sustainable development, designed for 2016-2030.

As an expert, which tracks developments in Central Asia, is delighted by the fact that Uzbekistan ranked fifth among countries with rapidly growing economies. Moreover in the last 10 years, despite the ongoing global economic crisis, the country shows a steady GDP growth of over 8%. This is a logical result of the country’s deeply thought-out strategy for socio-economic progress.

www.jahonnews.uz


Posted on September 30, 2015 

fm_uzbekADDRESS BY THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN ABDULAZIZ KAMILOV AT THE UNITED NATIONS SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

(New York, September 25, 2015)

Dear Mr. Chairman!

Distinguished heads of delegations!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

It gives me a profound satisfaction to welcome all of you present in this hall, and very briefly dwell on our comments and proposals on the problems being discussed today at the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development Goals for 2016-2030.

First, I would like to underscore that the Republic of Uzbekistan supports the new agenda for the future of humanity put forward by the United Nations Secretary-General – the Sustainable Development Goals aimed at 2016-2030, which must become a logical and appropriate continuation of the Program for Millennium Development Goals for 2000-2015 coming to an end.

We have already used this high rostrum of the United Nations in 2010 to inform the UN General Assembly about the concrete steps made by Uzbekistan along the path of achieving the goals stipulated in Millennium Declaration.

Assessing the work accomplished for over the past years, today we have all grounds to state that Uzbekistan despite enormous challenges and trials, – once one of the most backward republics on its potential and poverty with a lop-sided economy has turned into a steadily and stably developing country with a modern diversified economy, which ensures a radical growth of well-being and living standards of population, as well as confident advancement along the path of democratic renewal and modernization.

According to the international financial and economic structures, at present the Republic of Uzbekistan occupies a fifth place in the world among the states with rapidly developing economy, and during the last 10 years in spite of ongoing global economic crisis the average GDP growth rates made up more than 8 percent.

For over the years of independent development, i.e. during 24 years, Uzbekistan’s economy has grown more than 5,5 times, the population’s real incomes have grown 9 times. The average life expectancy of people grew from 67 years to 73 years, and of women – up to 75 years.

About 60 percent of state budget is being channeled to social development of the population, including to education – 10-12 percent of the GDP and the share of item of expenses in the state budget expenditures makes up 35 percent.

This is especially important if to take into account that over 60 percent of the country’s population makes up the youth at the age of up to 30 years.

The large-scale reforms in the sphere of health allowed yet in 2009 to achieve, as envisaged in the Millennium Development Goals, the decrease of the mortality rate of children of up to 5 years by third. And the decrease of maternal mortality by one third was achieved in 2013.

From 2009 the reduction of the level of spreading of HIV/AIDS was ensured. The indicators of tuberculosis sickness rate decreased as compared to the peak level of 2002 to 1,6 times. Starting from 2013 not a single case of malaria was registered in the country.

The measures undertaken in the country in the sphere of raising the ecological sustainability allowed to reduce the volume of pollution emissions per capita from 95 kilograms in 2000 to 61 kilograms in 2015. For over the last 15 years it was able to reduce the GDP energy intensity more than 2 times.

The state of affairs with regard to gender equality has tangibly changed. About 50 percent of total number of engaged in the economy make up women.

Dear participants of the Summit!

We should say that in Uzbekistan we well comprehend how rapidly is changing our surrounding world of globalization and Internet; the financial and economic crisis and unpredictability of global markets are continuing; the confrontations and conflict situations, the scale and severity of competition are growing, which in their turn, put forward yet new extremely responsible goals and tasks before each and every state.

Adding to the aforementioned there are more large-scale natural cataclysms and climate change, which lead to unpredictable and sometimes tragic consequences.

There is no need to speak that the experience accumulated by us for over the past period will serve as a good basis to achieve the program objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals which will be adopted at today’s United Nations Summit.

I would like to especially underscore that the Program of deepening reforms, structural changes and modernization of economy, expanding the scale of private ownership and entrepreneurship aimed at 2016-2020 and adopted in Uzbekistan early this year will be a wonderful basis for this.

Our main target goal, as has already been spoken about, to ensure Uzbekistan’s joining the ranks of democratically developed countries with a steadily developing diversified economy and high level of living standards of population.

A major guideline for us will be Uzbekistan’s joining by 2030 the ranks of states with an income level of over average world indicator.

A special attention is being paid to creating the decent living conditions for a rural population, eradicating the dividing line between town and village in terms of access to housing and municipal services, to the services of social and market infrastructure. We will continue the realization of a unique comprehensive program on construction of comfortable individual rural housing. The construction of such housing, apart from quality improvement of housing conditions, renders an enormous influence on radical change of lifestyle, worldview of the rural population and narrowing the gap between the urban and rural way of life.

Dear friends!

Today the problems of ecology and climate change of a global nature – unprecedented both on their scale and destructiveness – are continuing to remain on the focus of attention of the international community.

The largest in the newest world history ecological catastrophe of a planetary scale – the tragedy of Aral Sea, which for over a span of lifetime of one generation turned out to be on the verge of full disappearance, takes a special place in this row on its scales and consequences.

The dramatic climate change felt not only in Central Asia, but also in other regions became as a direct consequence of drying up of sea. The new saline desert with an area of 5,5 million hectares of land has emerged on the exposed part of Aral. For more than 90 days a year the sandstorms are raging there carrying to atmosphere annually over 100 million tons of dust and poisonous salts to many thousands of kilometers.

The threatening impact of the Aral catastrophe is now observed throughout the world. According to international experts, the poisonous salts originating from the Aral region are discovered on the Antarctic coast, Greenland glaciers, Norway forests and many other parts of the Earth.

The Aral tragedy rendered the most serious impact on the living conditions and gene pool of 65 million people residing in Central Asia. The extreme adverse ecological environment, lack and decrease in quality of potable water, the growth of dangerous diseases – this is just a short list of consequences of the Aral tragedy far from being full.

Uzbekistan hopes that the catastrophe of the Aral Sea region will be surely taken into consideration in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. We understand that the climate change and everything related to many problems, which are today being discussed over the course of this summit, have an immediate relation to this issue that requires in line with the words pronounced by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his trip to Aral in 2010 «a collective responsibility of the entire world and not only of the countries of Central Asia».

In 2013 the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly has already approved «The Program of Measures on Eliminating the Consequences of Drying up of Aral and Averting the Catastrophe of the Ecological Systems in the Aral Sea Region» as an official document proposed by Uzbekistan.

Taking into account the universal nature of the Aral catastrophe, it is necessary to expand the concerted actions and form purposeful financial mechanisms in this direction.

In this regard, it is expedient to establish under the UN auspices a special Trust Fund on the Aral Sea and Aral Sea Region, the main task of which will be the coordination of efforts and implementation of purposeful programs and projects in the following key directions:

– protecting health and preserving population’s gene pool, elaborating the system of effective stimuli for a social and economic development of the Aral Sea region and creating the necessary conditions to ensure decent living conditions for population residing in this region;

– preserving the ecological balance of the Aral Sea region, adopting the consistent measures to fight desertification and introducing the reasonable water consumption;

– recovering and preserving the unique biodiversity of flora and fauna which now remains on the brink of extinction;

– using the limited water resources of the region, firstly, the transboundary water arteries – Amudarya and Syrdarya in the interests of all countries of the region and in strict compliance with the norms of international law.

We cannot allow so that, as a result of realization of plans of construction of gigantic dams and large hydropower stations on the tributaries of Amudarya and Syrdarya on the basins of which the oases of life support of millions of people are concentrated, the natural flow of these rivers is disturbed and the situation with water supply in the lower reaches is more worsened, which would lead to radical breach of the water and ecological balance, aggravation of the problem of Aral and undermining of ecological safety of the vast region.

Thank you for your attention.

www.mfa.uz


Posted on September 29, 2015

Uzbekistan proposes to establish a special trust fund under UN auspices

As previously reported, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York.

During the meeting there were discussed issues of mitigation of environmental catastrophe of the Aral Sea. It was stressed that this issue is devoted to the main part of the speech of the Uzbek delegation at the UN summit on sustainable development.

It was announced the proposal for the establishment of Special Trust Fund for the Aral Sea and the Aral Sea area under the auspices of the UN, taking into account the need to mobilize the international community in this direction.

UN Secretary General, for his part, expressed his support for the initiative of the Republic on the establishment of such a structure under the auspices of the Organization. In addition, according to the secretary general, now efforts are being made to mobilize the financial resources of the donor community to the budget of the United Nations Green Climate Fund, created in 2010 to assist Member States in the fight against climate change. In this regard, it was announced the possibility of use of resources of this structure to solve environmental problems in the region.

UN Secretary-General conveyed warmest greetings to President Islam Karimov. He also expressed his sincere gratitude for the hospitality during his visit to Uzbekistan in June this year and vivid impressions from visiting ancient Bukhara.

www.jahonnews.uz


 

Posted on September 12, 2015

ON THE PARTICIPATION OF THE DELEGATION OF UZBEKISTAN IN THE CONCLUDING MEETING OF THE 23RD OSCE ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL FORUM 

On September 14-16, 2015 the Delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan lead by the chairman of the State Committee for Nature Protection Bakhtiyor Abdusamatov will participate in Concluding Meeting of the 23rd OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum on “Water governance in the OSCE area – increasing security and stability through co-operation”.

It is expected that the delegations of the OSCE member states, the partner countries, a number of global and regional international organizations, academic and business circles will participate at the meeting in Prague (Czech Republic).

www.mfa.uz


 

Posted on September 04, 2015

ON THE PARTICIPATION OF THE DELEGATION OF UZBEKISTAN IN THE CONFERENCE “WATER AND GOOD NEIGHBORLY RELATIONS IN CENTRAL ASIA”

On September 7-8, 2015 the Delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan lead by the chairman of the State Committee for Nature Protection Bakhtiyor Abdusamatov will participate in the Ministerial Conference “Water and Good neighborly relations in Central Asia” in Berlin.

It is expected that the delegations from the Central Asian countries, the European Union, the OSCE, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and other international organisations will participate at the upcoming event organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federative Republic of Germany and GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit).

www.mfa.uz


Posted on June 14, 2015

Opinions of deputies of the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan on the visit of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Uzbekistan

Abdurashid Abdukodirov, a member of UzLiDeP in the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan: 

– Thanks to transformations carried out under the supervision of the head of our state each year authority of Uzbekistan in the international arena is steadily growing, interest in our country and its centuries-old history is increasing. One good example of this trend is the effective cooperation of Uzbekistan with the United Nations, which had been developing in the areas of peace and security, health, environment, education, culture, tourism and others.

The peaceful policy of Uzbekistan, its efforts to achieve security and stability in the region are in tune with the activities of the UN. In particular, through participation in the UN Summit President Islam Karimov put forward the important and significant initiative for the preservation of peace and stability, the conversion of the Central Asian region into a zone of security and sustainable development, among which occupies a special place in the idea of ​​creating a Central Asian zone free of nuclear weapons (CANWFZ). All these efforts are highly appreciated in the international community. We proudly listened to the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on June 12 during the meeting with Islam Karimov about Uzbekistan’s active participation in multilateral discussions within the United Nations and our country’s contribution to the solution of regional and global issues.

Thus, today an important place in the activities of the United Nations to achieve high gains of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were comprehensive guide to all States, as well as upcoming new agenda for the future – sustainable development. In this context, we stressed that UzLiDeP attaches particular importance to the effective use of the opportunities of Parliament and deputies, other possible mechanisms for the implementation of the foreign policy priorities of Uzbekistan. Thus, by signing the Millennium Declaration in 2000, our country has committed itself to achieving the MDGs.

We emphasize that Uzbekistan, despite all the difficulties associated with the instability of the global economy, managed to strike a balance between the most important key development objectives, namely, economic growth based on structural reforms and improving the welfare of all sections of the population. It is generally recognized that Uzbekistan has made significant progress in achieving the MDGs, the rule of law and protection of human rights, protection of motherhood and childhood, improving the education system, which are the result of sustainable and people-oriented socio-economic reforms.

In general, the last meeting of Islam Karimov and Ban Ki-moon has shown that, on the one hand, the UN is interested in further strengthening the cooperation with our country, on the other hand, Uzbekistan, attaching great importance to have close partnership with the UN and its institutions, ready for serial effective cooperation, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by the end of the year and the goals of sustainable development, which is planned to take during the upcoming General Assembly.

The second important conclusion is to increase the role of the United Nations against the background of grave concern to the growth of radicalization of conflict and violence, strengthening political and economic confrontation, the ongoing global financial crisis globally. In an increasingly difficult situation in the world Uzbekistan considers the United Nations as the only universal international organization for the maintenance of global security and stability, a unique structure to address the many complex inter-state and international issues.

To’lqin Karimov, a member of UzLiDeP in the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan: 

– Official visit of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon to Uzbekistan gave a good opportunity to continue the established productive dialogue and exchange of views on strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United Nations, including in areas such as countering nuclear proliferation, sustainable socio-economic development, combating the threat of international terrorism and drug trafficking, the rational use of water resources and others.

Analyzing the course of the meeting highlight such topics as the settlement of the situation in Afghanistan and its restoration, the solution of environmental problems, which can not but affect the interests of the electorate UzLiDeP. For example, in the election program UzLiDeP contains the importance of addressing the Afghan problem through peaceful means, ensuring respect for national customs, culture and religious values ​​of the multinational and multi-confessional people of Afghanistan. Domestic and international experts agree that Uzbekistan as a friendly neighbor of Afghanistan has given him broad support in order to achieve stability in the country. Uzbekistan, with the support of international financial institutions, in particular, the ADB is implementing projects for the construction of transport communications, provides electricity to the population of Afghanistan and implement the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Great attention has been paid to one of the global planetary ecological disasters of our time – the drying of the Aral Sea water area which since 1965 fell by more than 4-fold, 10-fold increased water salinity. Negative global phenomena shows that without joint efforts and close cooperation with the United Nations to solve the existing socio-economic problems of the population of the Aral Sea region is impossible. In this context, we emphasize the importance of effective implementation developed under the current chairmanship of Uzbekistan to the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea “program of measures to eliminate the consequences of the drying of the Aral Sea ecosystem and prevent disasters in the Aral Sea”, which was adopted as an official document of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

In UzLiDeP believe that the United Nations has consistently pursued an active and fruitful activity of international security, promotion of the ideas of a nuclear-free world, solving urgent for all humanity of sustainable development, as well as the many pressing global problems, environmental, social and humanitarian issues. The results of the current visit of UN Secretary General to our country, confident in UzLiDeP, will be another contribution to the dynamic and effective cooperation across the board. The signing of the framework program of the United Nations for development assistance for 2016-2020 is an important milestone in this process.

www.jahonnews.uz


 

Posted on June 02, 2015

Meeting at the Oqsaroy

President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov on June 2 at the Oqsaroy received Turkmenistan’s Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredov who has arrived in our country with an official visit.

The head of our state noted the successful development of Uzbek-Turkmen cooperation in many spheres.

Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan conveyed President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov’s warm greetings and words of respect to the President and people of Uzbekistan, and confirmed the willingness of the Turkmen leadership to uplift the bilateral relations to a higher level that would meet the longer-term interests of our two peoples and countries.

As it was stressed during the conversation, the multifaceted relations between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have been acquiring today a dynamic nature, distinct with stability, consistency and fruitfulness. The friendly interaction between the two nations have been advancing successfully on a robust bedrock of centuries-old common history, the proximity of spiritual and cultural values, unwavering principles of neighborliness, mutual respect and sympathy of the Uzbek and Turkmen peoples.

The tangible results achieved thanks to joint efforts in the sociopolitical, trade and economic, cultural and humanitarian and other areas have created a reliable foundation for the confident and steadfast consolidation of the mutually advantageous partnership.

The volume of bilateral trade turnover has been growing dynamically. It exceeded 410 million U.S. dollars in 2014, while the growth indicator reached 16.6 percent.

The Turkmen side has been consistent in its support for the acting presidency of Uzbekistan in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, including the implementation of the third phase of the Action Plan to Assist the Countries of the Aral Basin and the Program of Measures Directed at Weathering the Consequences of Drying Aral Sea and Prevention of a Catastrophe of the Environmental Systems in the Aral Sea Region that was adopted as an official document of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The meeting at the Oqsaroy also served for the detailed exchange of views along international and regional issues of shared interest.

www.jahonnews.uz


Posted on May 01, 2015

Meeting of Senior Officials of Central Asian countries in Vienna

On April 29-30, 2015 the delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan as part of senior officials of Ministries of Agriculture and Water Resources, Foreign Affairs, and the Executive Committee of the Central Council of the Ecological Movement took part in the second meeting of senior officials of relevant agencies of Central Asian countries on international water law in city of Vienna (Austria).

During the meeting issues related to the practical application of fundamental principles and norms of international law in the field of transboundary water management in Central Asia were discussed.

The work is organized by the Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, the event was also attended by representatives of UN institutions, the World Bank, the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and other international organizations.

www.jahonnews.uz


 


Posted on March 12, 2015

Uzbekistan’s experience in demand by international community

Steady advancement of Uzbekistan on the path of democratization and liberalization of society and the economy, progress in creating a high quality of living conditions for its citizens and improving their well-being are highly appreciated in the world. This is evidenced by the ratings of numerous international institutions and research organizations, in accordance with which our country goes out to all the higher positions, which evoke a sense of pride and belonging.

Today, Uzbekistan – dynamically developing state and a full member of the world community, which plays an important role in the system of international relations. His wide-ranging experience in implementing democratic and socioeconomic reforms is growing interest in the international community as a successful model of steady progress, experts and political scientists studied in many countries.

This is largely due to the active cooperation of Uzbekistan in the framework of international and regional organizations that are considering our country as an important and time-tested reliable partner in addressing pressing issues on the international agenda.

Along with this, the authoritative international organizations are showing increased interest in the political and economic processes taking place in our country, its successes in sequential reforming the state and the society, ensuring the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens, improving their well-being.

In recent years, modern development and achievements of Uzbekistan is increasingly regarded with great interest and are discussed in the framework of multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and other organizations.

For example, in the UN headquarters in New York on a regular basis as official documents of the General Assembly adopted the information on the results of large-scale reforms in our country. These documents reveal the results achieved in areas such as maintenance of high rates of economic growth, improving the welfare of the population, reform of the judicial system, education and health, the environment, youth policy, food safety, building and strengthening of civil society and NGOs.

Successful experience in the modernization of the state and society in Uzbekistan is also the subject of increased attention of international institutions within the framework of the UN. Among them – the United Nations Office at Geneva, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations HIV / AIDS, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and others.

Since the beginning of 2015 among the member countries of the United Nations as official documents of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly were distributed informational materials about the development of civil society in Uzbekistan, about the experience of our country in improving the institutional framework of the activities of NGOs, as well as on the results of socio-economic development of Uzbekistan in 2014 and key priorities of economic program for 2015.

In addition, these materials have been distributed to 57 participating countries, 11 cooperation partners of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the institutions and the OSCE field missions, as well as the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the countries of the CIS.

The growing attention and interest of the international community is manifested in a variety of activities – briefings, presentations and meetings, which are held in the UN headquarters in New York and Geneva, the OSCE in Vienna and the CIS in Minsk. This is evidenced by the numerous responses of leaders and representatives of competent intergovernmental bodies, positively assesses the achievements of our country in the field of human rights and interests, the process of democratization of state power and control, liberalization, modernization and diversification of the economy.

In particular, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Andrey Vasilyev stressed that ECE attaches great importance to cooperation with Uzbekistan. “Uzbekistan – is a key country in the Central Asian region, with a dynamic and diversified economy, – he said. – I have more than ten years regularly visit the republic and each time I witness how it is developing intensively. Much attention is paid to supporting small business and private entrepreneurship, service sector, infrastructure development, not only in the capital, but also in remote regions. Uzbekistan is an important partner for the ECE environmental, housing development, innovation development, entrepreneurship and other areas We also actively cooperate in the field of housing and land, and we are very interesting and necessary experience of Uzbekistan in this matter. We hope that cooperation in these areas will continue successfully. ”

According to the OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, the Republic of Uzbekistan is an important member of this organization. According to his confession, our country plays a significant role in promoting peace, security and friendship on a global scale, makes a contribution to the activities of the OSCE.

In turn, the WHO Regional Director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab notes that against the background of global and regional financial crises in Uzbekistan has been significant progress in ensuring long-term sustainable development.

It appreciated the efforts made by the country to improve the health and education systems, which play an important role in the formation of harmoniously developed young generation. In particular, according to J.Yakab, Uzbekistan has made good progress in reducing maternal and child mortality, ensuring gender balance, improving the quality of education. Thus, the republic has made a contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Deputy Director of the Regional Office for Europe, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Sylvie Motard the high level of cooperation with our country in the field of ecology and promote issues such as the “green economy”, protecting the environment and biodiversity. However, she stressed that UNEP adequately appreciate not only bilateral relations, but also a significant contribution of Uzbekistan in regional platforms such as the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) and the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).

“I am aware of the upcoming presidential elections in Uzbekistan, which will be held on March 29 of this year, – she said. – This is a very important historical moment in the life of the state. The fact that four candidates are presented as candidates for the top job, says that policy reforms that are being implemented in the country. We, as part of the UN system, very pleased with this circumstance. Taking this opportunity, I want to wish success of upcoming elections”.

Head of the Department of International Relations Inter-Parliamentary Union Anda Filip appreciates the active participation of Uzbek women in public life, particularly in the parliamentary activities. In this regard, it also welcomes the implementation of reforms in the country to improve the institute of parliamentarism, expanding and strengthening the powers of the legislature, as well as ensuring parliamentary control over the activities of state bodies. At the same time, as an important factor in achieving sustained progress and Uzbekistan A.Filip notes prevailing in our country an atmosphere of peace, harmony and tolerance between people of different nations and nationalities who are working together for the benefit of their common homeland.

Like a lot of attention and positive evaluation of the international community once again confirm the correctness and effectiveness of deep thoughtfulness elected leadership of the development of Uzbekistan, indicate a wide recognition in the world successes of our country, the full support of its domestic and foreign policies.

www.jahonnews.uz


Posted on November 03, 2014

LAND OF LIFE 

In recent decades the people have increasingly become indifferent to the environment by pursuing goals of progress and forgetting about the close and tenuous relationship between organisms of the nature. This has caused the emergence of non-healing wounds on the body of the planet – environmental disasters of a global scale in different parts of the world. One of the largest disasters of this kind that has taken place in recent history is the tragedy of the Aral Sea. Correspondents of Uzbekistan Today searched for solutions at the Urghanch international conference ‘Promotion of cooperation in the Aral Sea Basin to mitigate consequences of environmental catastrophe.”

SAND CASTLES

Ecological balance is a very fragile structure; it is easy to break yet is incredibly hard to recover as this may take hundreds of years. It is pretty important to understand the basic principle: time is not reversible and one has always to pay double for mistakes. In pursuit of ambitious projects leaders of the Soviet Union were blind to the ecology, their only concern were indexes, performance, plans, using people as well as nature just as instruments for achieving goals. A good example of this is the current situation with the Aral Sea. Despite these tragic lessons, some countries present again with big projects, which will force the Aral Sea and the whole region as well to experience even worse environmental disasters…

Of course, it is already obvious that even colossal financial investments will not return its former magnificence to the Aral Sea. Experts from over 25 countries and international organizations participated in the conference, and said that it is not possible to recover the sea in its previous borders in the foreseeable future. The process has gone too far and is almost irreversible. And the main problem is not the environmental component itself.

The Aral Sea’s crisis zone covers the territories of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and indirectly – Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. That is why the process of solving related problems is rather complex – it is necessary to consider the opinions of experts, financial capabilities and interests of five countries, not to mention those of representatives of international financial institutions. This was the main goal of the conference; the significance of the tasks requires more effective coordination of efforts, joining of resources at national, regional and international levels to prevent an even worse disaster in the area. The only goal is to rescue first of all the more than 60 million people who live around the dying sea – the people whose lives depend on the decisions taken, including those made at the conference.

The President of Uzbekistan has also stressed this fact while addressing the participants of the forum. As the President pointed out, plain statistics is not able to picture the full extent of the humanitarian catastrophe in the Aral Sea region, to describe feelings and aspirations of millions of people living there. Shortage of water resources, low-quality drinking water, soil degradation, climate change, growth of incidence rate, especially children, the set of related socio-economic and demographic problems – these are cruel realities, which the population of the adjacent regions of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan has to face every day. Drying out of the Aral Sea has caused dramatic climate changes in the entire Central Asia.

Today, as the Aral Sea has become a desert area of 5.5 million hectares, it is hard to imagine that as recently as 70 years ago it was one of the largest reservoirs of the world with astonishing primeval beauty. The region’s widlife had been represented by 38 species of fish, unique animals, up to 1 million saigas, 638 species of plants. All of this was destroyed by man in just a few decades, and most of region’s flora and fauna gene pool has vanished. The area, once renowned for its unique natural resources, has become a resemblance of a post apocalyptic movie world where saksaul and symbolic tumbleweed remind humans of the importance of careful fulfillment of projects affecting ecological balance.

In the early 1960s the Aral Sea used to play a main role in the development of region’s economy, having become ‘the heart’ of fishing industry. Annual amount of catch in the Aral Sea Basin exceeded 35,000 tons. Over 80% of region’s population was busy with catch, processing and transportation of fish and fish products. Now only the ship graveyard ¬–tourists’ place of interest, old Muynak fish cannery and world-known ‘Aral fisherman’ monument which has become the symbol of the tragedy remind of that days of prosperity. Moreover, fertile soils of Amudaryo and Sirdaryo rivers’ estuaries, as well as high-yielding pastures provided more than 100,000 people engaged in livestock farming, poultry farming and agriculture with jobs. Now, instead of this wealth descendants inherit only salty and sandy Aralkum, which inexorably occupies the territory of the Aral Sea Basin. As specialists say, annually over 75 million tons of dust and poisonous salts amounting to 400 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide rise to the atmosphere from the drying sea. Consequences of pollution deteriorate due to the fact that the Aral Sea is situated on the path of strong airflow directed from west to east, which carries over aerosols to the higher atmospheric layers. Signs of salty flows are traced all over Europe and even in the Arctic Ocean.

POPULATION IN PRIORITY

On the first day of the conference, the participants had an opportunity to see for themselves what consequences can be caused by humans’ vanity and challenging nature. They visited the regional oncologic center and the branch of the Republican Specialized Center of Urology. Water pollution, large-scaled salt and dust carry-over from the bottom of the dried-up sea have contributed to the growth of somatic diseases among the population of the Aral Sea region such as anemia, diseases of kidneys, blood, gastrointestinal, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, cholelithiasis and other diseases. Children suffer particularly violently from the negative impacts of hazardous environment. For example, the content of dioxin in the blood of pregnant women and breast milk of nursing mothers in Karakalpakstan is five times higher than those in Europe.

Looking at experts who came to Uzbekistan, it was evident that many of them had not fully imagined the real situation in the zone of ecological disaster, where the population has to live. Of course, many of them have heard of the Aral tragedy. But, alas, the vast majority could only imagine life in the area, recalling the big picture. Without seeing this, it is difficult to comprehend the real value of ecological balance of nature and water, which is lacking in the region. Frankly speaking, Uzbekistan Today reporters were shocked to some extent by what we saw. But it was another matter – we have been to the Aral Sea region and have visited the ship graveyard and other sights, but this trip has made us to reevaluate the life of the region. We used to leave the region with sad thoughts about the vast desert that was once a sea, and now only ‘ships of the desert’ plough through it instead of ships. This time I have seen a completely different side of life of the region. And this is due to the work of many people who are making huge efforts to change the situation, to help the population and supporting it. Our specialists, experts, businesspeople and representatives of international organizations – these are just the people who keep on hoping that the region will become a better place to live. The conference participants were able not only to see, but also experience the unique work being undertaken to save the life of the region. The core element is people. Not really much information about them is being published, there are few who know them. They have dedicated their lives to a difficult, but very important work. President Islam Karimov has emphasized this in his message. “I think everyone will agree that we have no right to let hopelessness born in the people living here. And our duty is to create opportunities for families to live adequately, to own businesses and to provide new jobs and sources of income,” the head of state underscored.

The basis of this work was laid in early 1993 by the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), founded by Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. To attract the attention of the world community to this issue Islam Karimov first told about the tragedy at the 48th session of the UN General Assembly. After two years, the representatives of countries which are exposed to destructive consequences of the ecological disaster the most, appealed to the international community seeking assist in rescuing the Sea and the respective region. Islam Karimov came up with an initiative to create the Council on the problems of the Aral Sea and the Aral Sea region under the auspices of United Nations Environment Program. As a result, from 1995 to 2012, various international donors allotted more than USD 1.1 billion to change the situation in the region. In addition, at the expense of funds of the countries of Central Asia two programs have been implemented to assist countries of the Aral Sea Basin. Thus, significant work has been conducted to develop mechanisms of joint management of the Aral Sea basin’s water resources, rehabilitation of ecological disaster areas, providing the population with clean drinking water and improvement of its health, reducing poverty and unemployment. The total sum of IFAS members’ contribution in realization of projects in 2003-2010 was more than USD 2 billion.

The global nature of the disaster was also assessed by UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon, who visited the region in August 2010. After a trip to the area, the Secretary General called the death of the Aral Sea as “one of the most serious environmental disasters in the world” and said that the struggle with its consequences is a “collective responsibility around the world, not only in Central Asia.”

Uzbekistan for its part is undertaking great efforts to mitigate the repercussions of the Aral tragedy. Over the past ten years, the volume of investments from the government aimed at these objectives exceeded $1.2 billion. In 2011, for the preservation and restoration of landscapes, flora and fauna, promotion of economic and human development a unique Lower Amudarya state biosphere reserve with a total area of 68.7 thousand hectares was created.

Implementation of the first phase of the project to create local reservoirs in the Amudarya delta allowed to put into operation five water-outlet structures, 45 km of bank protection dams, build adjustable water ponds with a surface area of 70 thousand hectares, totaling 810 million cubic meters. In the last 15 years over 180 thousand hectares of the Amudarya river delta was filled with water, several local lakes were created and it is planned to expand their water surface up to 230 thousand hectares.

In the zone of influence of the Aral crisis plantations on the area of 740 thousand hectares were created, including dry seabed of 310 thousand hectares. In the coming years it is planned to carry out a reforestation of 200 thousand hectares of dried sea bed.

Over the last 15 years in rural areas of Karakalpakstan around 1.7 thousand km of water networks were commissioned, the provision of rural drinking water increased almost four times, more than 100 rural health clinics, maternity homes, and most of the Republican Cancer Center were constructed, reconstructed and equipped with medical equipment. From 1997 to 2012 in Karakalpakstan, Khorazm, Bukhoro and Navoi regions modern outpatient clinics aimed at holding over 32.6 thousand patients per shift have been created. Hospitals with 5.8 thousand beds have been reconstructed and 840 rural healthcare facilitates have been created. As a result, compared with 1997, the number of congenital anomalies in Karakalpakstan decreased by 3.1 times, the maternal mortality rate decreased twice and the infant mortality by 2.4 times.

But most importantly, the conference participants stressed that it does not end there, and joint efforts to increase the efficiency of work to mitigate the impact of the negative consequences of the Aral Sea tragedy in the lives of people must be more efficient and effective. After all, the main purpose of the meeting of experts in Urganch is the mobilization of resources and efforts of the international community for the implementation of programs and projects aimed at improving the environmental and socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea region, as well as ensuring the further development of international cooperation to reduce the negative impacts of this environmental disaster.

This message was also emphasized by the Uzbek President Islam Karimov: “It is clear that without substantial assistance of the UN and other international organization and partner nations it will impossible to solve this global problem. A wide range of severe consequences of the Aral tragedy requires the formation of a new multi-faceted assistance program aimed at effectively overcoming many challenges facing the people in the economic, social and environmental spheres of the Aral region. A key role in the development and implementation of such a complex program of assistance to the region should belong primarily to international organizations including the UN, the financial institutions in the face of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and authoritative international environmental organizations. This will allow to involve in the implementation of this program not only the resources of international organizations and financial institutions, but also the possibility of friendly partner countries “, the President stressed.

Investments, numbers, plans for the future – without a doubt, these important results of the conference will be a new stage in support of the population of the Aral Sea region and improving the conditions of his life. But that is the work of experts. The main conclusion, which was drawn for themselves, the readers and correspondents Uzbekistan Today, is the courage of the local people. We would like to quote the words of one of the residents of Urganch, who we met on the first day of the conference. Despite the problems with the environment, responding to the questions of foreign experts, he put it simply said: “We’re fine. Life goes on after the catastrophe …”

«Uzbekistan Today» newspaper

 


Posted on October 30, 2014

EFFECTIVE COORDINATION OF EFFORTS 

Initiated by President Islam Karimov, an international conference “Cooperation in the Region of the Aral Sea Basin to Alleviate the Impact of the Environmental Catastrophe” took place on October 28-29 in the city of Urgench.

The forum seeks to mobilize the efforts of the world community to implement programs and projects dedicated to improving the environmental and socio-economic situation in the region of the Aral Sea and to boosting the international cooperation to weather the negative repercussions of the ecological disaster.

It was attended by officials of 24 prominent international and regional organizations, financial institutions, among them being the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Center, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, as well as scientists and experts in the fields of environmental sciences, climate change, water resources management from 26 nations, including Austria, Hungary, Germany, Spain, China, Latvia, Malaysia, the United States, France, Switzerland, South Korea, Japan among others.

The welcoming speech of Islam Karimov, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Chairman of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea was read out by the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Rustam Azimov.

In his video message to the international conference, Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of this forum to address issues of the ecological crisis in the region of the Aral Sea, a disaster that has been recognized as one of the most wide-scale anthropogenic catastrophes and that which has inflicted a considerable damage to the health of millions of people and the environment.

The gathered at the event were demonstrated a video film narrating the problems associated with the unfolding situation in the basin of the Aral Sea as well as those concerning the realization of region-wide projects.

The greeting message of UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova was read out by the Deputy Director General of UNESCO – Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Sciences in Asia-Pacific Hubert Gijzen.

Speaking at the forum, Executive Secretary the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Christian Friis Bach, UNDP Deputy Administrator Ayse Cihan Sultanoglu, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP Shun-ichi Murata, Director of ADB Division for Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Akmal Siddiq, Head of the Regional Office of the IDB Hisham Taleb Maruf and others noted that in terms of its ecological-climatic, socio-economic and humanitarian repercussions, the Aral crisis poses a direct threat to the sustainable development of the Central Asian region, to the health, gene pool and the future of the residents of this area. In circumstances when the frontiers of the environmental crisis zone keep expanding, the Aral problem can acquire an even greater disastrous nature without attracting the attention of the world community to addressing it.

One of the reasons behind Aral’s drying out is associated with mismanagement and thoughtless waste of natural resources in the Soviet era, which was underscored at the conference.

The consequences of atmosphere pollution are being reinforced by the fact that Aral is located on the way of powerful air flow from the West to the East, which leads to the removal of aerosols to the upper atmosphere.

Speaking from high rostrums over and again, Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov repeatedly stressed the importance of taking effective measures to weather the repercussions of the Aral disaster, the consequences that have long gone beyond the borders of one region. Thus, practically in the very wake of national independence, Uzbekistan became one of the initiators of establishing the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea. At the 48th session of the UN General Assembly on 28 September 1993, Islam Karimov raised this issue and drew the attention of the world community to the Aral Sea problems. During the UN Millennium Summit in New York on 8 September 2000, the President of Uzbekistan came up with an initiative to set up a council for the Aral Sea and surrounding areas under the auspices of the UN Environment Program.

The systemic measures taken in our country are particularly instrumental in ameliorating the environmental situation in the Aral Sea region and alleviating the impact of the ecological crisis. Laws have been passed that regulate the use of natural resources and designed to uplifting the effectiveness of nature protection activities. Uzbekistan has acceded to principal international documents in this realm, including the Convention on the Protection and Use of Trans-boundary Watercourses and International Lakes. Wide-ranging projects are being implemented to address issues concerning the shortage of water resources and desertification, rational water consumption, combat salinization and degradation of crop lands, improvement in the access of population to drinking water, formation of essential infrastructure to treat diseases resulting from the mounting negative impact of the environmental and climate change.

Thus, the realization of the first stage of a project entitled “Creation of Local Reservoirs in the Amudarya Delta” has facilitated the construction of five water outlet structures, 45 kilometers of bank-protection dams, creation of ponds in the total area of 70 thousand hectares and with a capacity of 810 million cubic meters, regulated with engineering prowess. Within the last 15 years, 180 thousand hectares in the Amudarya delta have been filled with water and local lakes have been created, the total area of which it is intended to expand up to 230 thousand hectares in the future.

In the Aral crisis impact zone, plantations have been carried out on 740 thousand hectares of land, including that on the site of the exposed seabed over an area of 310 thousand hectares. In 1997-2012, modern outpatient clinics were commissioned in the Republic of Karakalpakstan, Khorezm and Bukhara regions, medical institutions for 5.8 thousand beds have been erected or reconstructed, and 840 rural medical units are operating in these areas. Owing to the measures taken, the number of congenital anomalies in the Republic of Karakalpakstan has diminished 3.1 times, maternal mortality decreased twofold, and child mortality declined 2.4 times compared to indicators of the year 1997.

Instrumental in ameliorating the ecological situation in the Aral Sea region has been the international conference “Aral Problems, Their Impact on the Gene Pool of the Population and on the Flora and Fauna, and International Cooperation in Alleviating Their Repercussions” that took place in 2008 in Tashkent under the initiative of President Islam Karimov and with support from the UN. The action plan worked out at that conference constituted the basis for the third Program for Assistance to Aral Basin Countries for 2011-2015.

The World Bank facilitates the implementation of this program, according to World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia Saroj Kumar Jha. “It is designed to improve the environmental and water resource situation and achieve sustainable development in the Aral Sea basin. The total volume of investments assigned by us to the implementation of national and regional projects has exceeded one billion US dollars. This international conference will allow us to define new dimensions of cooperation and coordinate the efforts of all interested parties in addressing the existing ecological issues in the region.”

During panel sessions of the conference, participants discussed adopting additional measures to preserve the gene pool and boost the health of the population residing in the environmental risk zone, mobilizing necessary economic stimuli and mechanisms for bolstering the living standards and quality in the Aral area, restoring the ecological system and the biodiversity in the region.

The conference participants appreciated highly the organization of the forum in Urgench and expressed confidence that it will afford a new impetus to bolstering the international cooperation in weathering the impacts of the drying out Aral Sea.

Participants approved a final document of the international conference.

www.uza.uz


Posted on October 29, 2014

TO THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE «DEVELOPMENT OF COOPERATION IN THE REGION OF THE ARAL SEA TO MITIGATE CONSEQUENCES OF THE ECOLOGICAL CATASTROPHE» 

Dear guests!

Distinguished participants of the Conference!

It gives an enormous satisfaction to welcome the delegations of the member-states of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, representatives of international organizations and financial institutions, governments of the donor countries, ecological organizations, diplomatic corps, respected scientists and high-profile experts who are participating in the International Conference «Development of Cooperation in the region of the Aral Sea to Mitigate Consequences of the Ecological Catastrophe».

The forum, which opens up today, is dedicated to discussing the issues related to one of the most complex problems for the region of Central Asia – the ecological catastrophe of the Aral Sea and the toughest consequences brought about by this tragedy for the gene pool and health of the population, its living standards, flora and fauna of the Aral Sea region.

Rather recently the important role belonged to the Aral Sea in terms of the development of economy of Central Asia, production of food, ensuring population’s employment and formation of a steady social infrastructure. The annual fish catch in the basins of the Aral Sea region used to make up 35 thousand tons. The fertile lands of the delta of Amudarya and Syrdarya, high-yield pastures and basins ensured jobs for millions of people in the sphere of cattle-breeding, poultry farming, fish breeding and production of agricultural crops.

However, thoughtless construction of the large-scale hydrotechnical facilities on the largest rivers of the region and overregulation of the natural watercourse of transboundary rivers of Amudarya and Syrdarya turned out to be one of the biggest planetary ecological catastrophes in the recent history. The Aral Sea – once unique, most beautiful and one of the largest inland basins of the world – has in fact during a lifetime of one generation found itself on the verge of full disappearance which turned out to be an unprecedented calamity and caused an irreparable damage to the life of local population, eco-system and biodiversity of the Aral Sea region.

For over the past 50 years the cumulative runoff of the rivers of Amudarya and Syrdarya into the Aral Sea decreased nearly 5 times, the volume of water mass of the Aral Sea was reduced more than 14 times and the level of its salinity increased almost 25 times which has led to nearly full extinction of fish and marine organisms that had earlier dwelt in the waters of the Aral Sea.

The locally growing vegetation and population of wildlife are rapidly diminishing in the Aral Sea region which was recently famous for its enormous biodiversity. 12 species of mammals, 26 types of birds and 11 types of plants are on the brink of full extinction. The new sand desert of Aralkum of more than 5,5 million hectares of area, which emerged on the place of basin, is steadily spreading to the entire Aral Sea region annually poisoning the atmosphere by about 100 million tons of dust and poisonous salts carried by sandstorms and hurricanes far beyond the Aral Sea region.

However, the bare listing of statistical figures are not able to describe the entire scale of the humanitarian catastrophe unfolded in the Aral Sea region and convey the feelings and aspirations of millions of people living here. The shortage of water resources and poor quality of potable water, degradation of lands, climatic changes, growth of population’s, and firstly, children’s diseases and the most complex set of related socio-economic and demographic problems – this is a severe reality which the population of adjacent regions of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan is facing on daily basis.

Drying up of the Aral Sea brought about the dramatic changes in the climate of entire Central Asia which provoked the exacerbation of shortage of water resources, aggravation of seasonal droughts and length of the cruelest winters, rapid melting of the mountain glaciers of Pamir and Tien-Shan and worsening of the conditions of land farming in the countries of Central Asia.

To enormous regret, today it has become obvious that it is impossible to fully recover the Aral Sea.

The most important task for now is to reduce the baneful effect of the Aral crisis on environment and life of millions of people living in the Aral Sea region, including by implementing the deeply thought-out and targeted projects backed up by appropriate sources of funding.

In our opinion, the main reserves are in the following directions:

First, to preserve today’s fragile ecological balance of the Aral Sea region, struggle against desertification and improve the system of management, prudent and reasonable use of water resources;

Second, to create conditions for reproduction and preserving the gene pool and health of the population of the Aral Sea region, develop the social infrastructure, broad network of medical and educational institutions;

Third, to create necessary social and economic mechanisms and incentives to raise living standards of population, develop the base infrastructure and communications. I think that everybody will agree that we don’t have a right to let people living here to nurture the feelings of despair, and our duty is to create for them all conditions for a decent living, develop their own businesses, ensure new jobs and sources of income.

Fourth, to preserve and recover the biodiversity of wildlife and vegetation, including by establishing the local water basins, preserve the unique flora and fauna of this region.

It is these key issues that remain in the focus of attention of the «Program of Measures on Eliminating the Consequences of Drying up of Aral and Averting the Catastrophe of the Ecological Systems in the Aral Sea Region» proposed by us from the high rostrum of the United Nations which was disseminated as an official document of the Sixty Eighth Session of the UN General Assembly.

This speaks about the fact that the world community considers the tragedy of the Aral Sea as a global ecological catastrophe and recognizes the high topicality to urgently react to the challenges of ecological and social security of the region’s population of many millions.

The support by the United Nations and other development partners extended to the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, established in 1993 by the UN and five Central Asian states, testifies about the aforementioned. During the past period, the IFAS implemented two programs for a total amount of over 2 billion dollars to render assistance to the countries of the Aral Sea basin supported by the international donor community.

In this regard, allow me to express gratitude to the institutions and partner countries which extended assistance in tackling the most acute problems faced by the states and population of the Aral Sea region. Among such active partners are the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the UN agencies, the Islamic Development Bank, the USAID, the European Union, as well as Japan, Korea, China, Germany, France, Switzerland, Kuwait and others.

Since 2013 the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea with the support of the United Nations, European Union, leading international organizations and financial institutions has been implementing the Third Assistance Program to the countries of the Aral Sea basin that includes over 300 projects for the implementation of which it is necessary to mobilize over 8,5 billion dollars.

At the same time, we must openly recognize that despite ongoing projects and programs a lot more needs to be done. The countries of the region do not fully possess the sufficient own funds or material and technical capacities to overcome the ecological, socio-economic and humanitarian consequences of the Aral catastrophe on the environment and life of people residing here. In this regard, it is obvious that without substantial assistance on the part of the United Nations, other international organizations and development partner states it is impossible to address this planetary problem.

The broad spectrum of grave consequences of the Aral tragedy requires formation of new multifaceted assistance program aimed at effective overcoming the multiple challenges faced by the population, economy, social sphere and environment of the Aral Sea region.

The key role in developing and implementing such a comprehensive assistance program to the Aral Sea region must belong, above all, to the international organizations – the United Nations, financial institutions such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and high-profile international ecological organizations. This will allow to attract resources of not only international organizations and financial institutions, but also capacities of friendly partner countries to implement this program.

Practically all IFAS member-states, as much as other countries of Central Asia are implementing their national programs of water saving, recovery and development of the Aral Sea region. The principles of integrated water resource management and modern water-saving technologies are being widely introduced; the measures are taken to diversify the agricultural production, and many others.

A special attention is paid to the quality and standards of life of people, development of housing, social and transport-communication infrastructure, construction of modern rural houses, secondary schools and vocational colleges, medical stations, construction and reconstruction of automobile roads in the Aral Sea region. The programs on improving the reclamation condition of lands are being implemented.

I am convinced that the targeted, multifaceted and systemic interaction between the states, UN structures, international financial and ecological organizations, which are not indifferent to the destiny of the Aral Sea region and its population, will allow to develop and implement the efficient programs and projects aimed at addressing the most acute problems in the Aral Sea region.

Dear participants of the International Conference!

Allow me to express to all of you our sincere gratitude for deep understanding of the large-scale catastrophic consequences of drying up of the Aral Sea and your tangible contribution to the cause of saving the ecosystem of the Aral Sea region.

I wish all participants of the conference a productive work, sound health and success in your noble endeavors.

Sincerely,

Islam Karimov,

President of the Republic of Uzbekistan,

Chairman of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea

www.mfa.uz

 


 

Posted on September 29, 2014

fm_uzbekADDRESS BY THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN A.KAMILOV AT THE GENERAL DEBATES OF THE 69th SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Dear Mr. Chairman!

Distinguished heads of delegations,

Ladies and gentlemen!

I would like to speak about some most important issues on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly.

First, the growing regional and international security challenges and threats, escalating conflicts and wars, aggravation of geopolitical confrontation between the large «centers of power» capable to lead to the new spots of tension in the world and exacerbate addressing the ongoing global financial-economic crisis now raise a serious alarm and deep concern.

Uzbekistan firmly believes that tackling any acute contradictions and confrontations is possible only by political way and peaceful means given strict observance of fundamental principles of international law enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

The persisting instability in Afghanistan which exhibits a tendency to further escalate poses a serious threat to stability and security of Central Asia and greater region. In the unfolding situation the accelerated drawdown of the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) may turn to be counterproductive, and this can yet more complicate the state of affairs in Afghanistan.

Today one can say with confidence that all interested parties in resolving the Afghan problem are unanimous in one opinion – there is no military way to achieve peace in Afghanistan. President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov stated about this yet in 2008 at the NATO Summit in Bucharest and in 2010 – at the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit.

The presidential elections in Afghanistan this year have vividly demonstrated that the Afghan people are tired of bloodshed and violence, long standing misery and devastation, and today they wish peace and stability, and enjoy a right to define their fate on their own.

The only reasonable way to tackle the Afghan problem is to search for a political settlement of the conflict through peaceful negotiations and achieving consensus, establishing a coalition government in which there would be represented all confronting parties, national and religious groups of Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan adheres to the policy of non-interference in internal affairs of Afghanistan. Uzbekistan builds and will develop the stable and friendly relations with Afghanistan proceeding from the national interests of both countries and exclusively on bilateral basis rendering support to the very government which the Afghan people will elect on their own.

Second, in the conditions of ongoing global financial-economic crisis, transport and communication development and strengthening of regional economic cooperation are one of the key conditions to ensure stability and sustainable development of Central Asia.

The implementation of large infrastructure projects in the transport and communication sphere which connect our region with global markets will promote the interregional trade and economic cooperation, attraction of investments, development of social and industrial infrastructure, as well as steady progress of neighboring regions.

Firstly, we speak about such projects as the International transport corridor «Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman» which will link the countries of Central Asia with Middle East through the shortest, reliable and secure route.

Uzbekistan’s assistance to construction of the railroad route «Khairaton-Mazaree-Sharif» – the first and so far the only functioning railroad linking Afghanistan with external world – became historically landmark event.

Third, today when the states of Central Asia, as much as many other countries of the world, are experiencing the growing shortage of water resources the fair and reasonable use of water resources of transboundary rivers of Amudarya and Syrdarya becomes an extremely important for the life support and well-being of the population of Central Asia.

Uzbekistan firmly adheres to the principle position that the issues of reasonable use of water resources of transboundary rivers of Central Asia must be resolved in line with universally recognized norms of international law and in the framework of relevant UN conventions on the use of international watercourses which clearly define the principles of preventing damage to the environment and interests of neighboring countries.

We believe it is unacceptable that certain countries of the region promote the projects of construction of large hydropower stations with gigantic dams without conducting an international, truly independent, unprejudiced and professional expert examination.

The implementation of such projects without a thorough analysis of the entire spectrum of their repercussions may disturb the natural flow of transboundary rivers creating a threat to the water, food and environmental safety of Central Asia. It may lead to the growth of tension and conflict potential in the region. The construction of such grandiose hydro-technical facilities in a high-mountain and highly seismic zone with a possibility of earthquakes of 9 and higher magnitude may create a threat of devastating man-made catastrophe.

I would like to underscore that in the conditions of aggravating ecologic problems the growing number of countries in the world refuse the construction of gigantic dams and opt for small and medium-size hydropower stations which do not cause damage to the environment, safety or social-economic well-being of the population.

Fourth, a dynamic development of the economy and modernization of all spheres of the country’s life allow Uzbekistan to ensure implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule.

For over the years of independence Uzbekistan’s economy grew almost five-fold and per capita income increased 8,7 times. This testifies to the growth of the level and quality of life. During the last ten years Uzbekistan’s annual GDP growth has been exceeding 8 percent. By 2030 we intend to increase the per capita GDP to 9,3 thousand dollars.

About 60 percent of state expenditures are channeled to funding the sphere of social development, of which over 34,3 percent – go to education. The coverage of school-age children with secondary schools makes up almost 100 percent.

The share of women in the employment structure grew to 45,4 percent. The tangible successes are achieved in the sphere of improving the health of mother and child: the mortality rate among children below 5 years of age decreased 1,8 times and maternal mortality rate – 1,6 times.

Uzbekistan will further put all efforts to sooner achieve all intended plans in implementing the MDG and will continue carrying out the large-scale programs in terms of the post-2015 development.

Thank you for your attention.

www.mfa.uz


Posted on August 04, 2014

PROCEEDINGS OF THE HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON REGIONAL RIPARIAN ISSUES IN THE CONTEXT 

Statement by Mr. RustamAzimov,

First Deputy Prime-minister and Minister of Finance

of the Republic of Uzbekistan 

Madam Chair,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Assessment studies of the Rogun HPP are not consistent with generally accepted international standards

To begin with, I would like to particularly emphasize that until today Uzbekistan has not participated in any meetings initiated at interim stages of the so-called “assessment studies” of Rogun Hydropower Plant construction project.

It was reasoned by our sincere belief that organization of those studies, selection of consultants, financing arrangements, defining the terms of reference and other key aspects which are crucial for the final results of the studies, do not meet internationally recognized standards of independent, impartial, objective and transparent project appraisal.

Primarily, our belief is based on the fact that contrary to an obvious logic and principles of sound practices, the roles of the bidding organizer and of the principal of the World Bank financed “studies” had been assigned to the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, the party most interested in the process. This completely contradicts to generally accepted standards of equal treatment of all interested parties and, thus, is totally unacceptable.

Another critical issue is suspension of all construction works on the site until the studies are completed. Conducting full-fledge construction and installation activities on the site, while the feasibility of the construction is not yet determined, is not consistent with a basic logic and explicitly reflects the attitude towards the whole exercise.

The World Bank had numerous opportunities to establish for itself that concerns of Uzbekistan are well groundedby witnessing construction works at the site of Rogun Hydropower Plantperformed under disguise of rehabilitation activities and about USD 300 million annual allocations from the state budget of Tajikistan for these purposes. The scale of these expenditures is a clear demonstration of the scope of the construction works in progress.

In addition, a professionally conducted studies, claiming to be a complete assessment, had to include a comprehensive evaluation of the potential adverse impact of the project on environment and run-off conditions throughout the whole the Amudarya river basin, and also the detailed analysis of the feasibility of alternativesto such a massive project as the Rogun Hydropower Plant project.

Views of Uzbekistan on all those issues were timely submitted to the World Bank. Nevertheless, those views were not taken into account, notwithstanding their fundamental importance, and no appropriate answers to questions steaming from these views are provided in the published studies.

Uzbekistan hoped that the World Bank would adhere to the basic principles of good faith, transparency, objectivity and best international practice in its activity on the Rogun Hydropower Plant Project.

We have to state with much regret that our hope was vein. The World Bank, with persistence worthy of better cause, ignored the majority of arguments and well-reasoned points concerning widespread threats of the project of man-made, environmental, social and economic nature. It is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the published reports failed to provide any convincing responses to the key issues raised by the Republic of Uzbekistan repeatedly.

In this situation, the Authorities of Uzbekistan have taken a decision to send its delegation to today’s meeting to state our principal views on the Project, and to present our assessment of the findings of the so-called “assessment studies” of Rogun Hydropower Project

  1. Critical issues on the project’s fundamentals

Over the last two days, our experts, who have a vast experience in designing, building and operating large-scale hydro technical facilities in the region, another time provided detailed conclusions and comments on the studies. Therefore, I would like to focus on key issues and the fundamental position of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Rogun Hydropower project.

To our much regret, the Techno-Economic Assessment Study For Rogun Hydroelectric Construction Project, 3 volumes of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and the World Bank Note on Key Issues for Consideration on the Proposed Rogun Hydropower Project failed to provide any convincing or at least decisive and competent answers to the key issues related to vital interests of the riparian countries in the lower the Amudarya, in particular, of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Outdated project design

To start with, I would like to remind once again that Rogun Hydropower Plant Project design was developed 44 years ago, during the period of Soviet gigantomania, and at present time is totally outdated both in terms of technical approaches, construction standards, environmental and safety standards. The consultants’ reports give an impression that they did not understand or consciously ignored the fact that the approaches to construction of such massive facilities along with technical standards have completely changed over the past period:

First, the methodologies of seismic loads estimations have changed fundamentally, new requirements to seismic modeling have been introduced, the criteria for dam stability factors have become a way more stringent, requirements on application of non-linear models that take into account ground flow and new, stricter methods for defining basic hydrogeological characteristics have been introduced;

Second, the environmental standards have changed completely and the relevance of thorough analysis of environmental risks has increased significantly, especially, at the background of Aral Sea disaster.

Besides, RogunHydropwer Project is not merely an outdated one. Since it aims construction of the highest dam in the world situated in the area of tectonic fault and on a massive salt dome, the project design is extremely complicated technically, yet still based on engineering solutions and standards of the past century. For this reason, just regular review cannot fully embrace all aspects of the project and the requirements to assessment of the project shall be by far stricter.

The documents presented contain a number of omissions, shortcomings and miscalculations, which potentially will lead to poor decisions inclined to exceptionally serious disastrous consequences for the Central Asian region, due to insufficient consideration of the real risks of the project including:

  1. a) The risk of man-made disaster

High seismicity of the Hissar-KokshaalskyandIlyaksko-Vakhsh faults areas selected for the construction of the dam, right above moving tectonic plates has been confirmed in the consultants’ reports. Since the beginning of 2013, the US Geological Survey has reported on 250 earthquakes in the area of construction of Rogun Hydropower Plant of magnitude 4 and above equivalent to Richter scale, including 12 strong earthquakes of magnitude 6 and above . According to geological studies and expert estimations there is a high probability of disastrous earthquakes of magnitude 9 and higher in the region.

It is worth recalling the catastrophic earthquake of 1911 of magnitude 9, which caused formation of Usoy Dam and Sarezlake whose immense hazard is recognized by UN, the World Bank and other international organizations.

However, while being well informed that high seismicity of the construction area is one of the biggest risks of the project, and not excluding the scenario of Rogun dam rupture, which in consultants opinion will ”dramatically affect” the downstream countries, their proposal is limited to conducting seismic evaluation at further stages of the project and creating a micro seismic monitoring network.

Such recommendations cannot be considered as competent conclusion or even more or less logical recommendation. They absurdly recommend us to build another Lake Sarez with our own hands being fully conscious of the consequences, and then stay busy monitoring it regularly.

Another extremely dangerous aspect is that the highest in the world 335 meters dam and main hydraulic structures are intended to be constructed on 100 m salt dome, without designing a package of proven protection measures.

We are greatly concerned that the key expert evaluations of the project impact on the salt dome were carried out in the laboratory conditions, which absolutely do not correspond to the reality. In actual conditions, under high water pressure and with occurrence of lime stone deposits, the processes of dissolution can expedite considerably, and, as it was mentioned in the geological report, form cavities up to 7-8 meter large, which inevitably will lead to a complete collapse of the dam.

The fact that the consultants have proposed only to drill a few wells and to monitor the process of possible salt diffusion, confirms the absence of the really effective design solutions that could exclude the risk of the dam collapse caused by the salt deposit erosion.

In this regard, one is bound to ask a natural question: how millions of people should feel when their lives depend on the laboratory tests of consultants and the quality of monitoring over the salt diffusion process under the base of the dam that can collapse at any time and unleash billions tons of water with wave of hundred meters, wiping off everything on its way? Compared to this wave, the 15 meter wave of the 2011 tsunami in Japan that caused Fukushima disaster, can look like a light sea breeze.

Lack of distinct answers to above questions is not the only omission in the consultants’ reports. Critical neglect in their work identified by Uzbekistan experts include erroneous figures for the maximum mudflows. The consultants’ conclusions indicate that mudflows occurred at least once a year over the period from 1971 to 1991, and the maximum volumes of mudflows reached 3,100 million cubic meters in 1983 and 1,185 cubic meters in 1992. Those conclusions implicate that anti- mudflow dam equal to Rogun dam size shall be constructed on Obi-Shur, but this is complete nonsense.

The list of similarly serious flaws include the proposed dam design that is almost fully identical to that of the initial design developed in 1978; in addition to the lack of 3-dimensional model of the dam that would take into account the complex terrain, etc. The Uzbek experts have made reasoned comments on each of these aspects, but nobody heard them, let alone took the comments into consideration.

But the key shortcoming of the technical reports is that on each more or less important aspect of the project consultants recommended to conduct additional research and studies at the next stages of project design development.

We cannot accept that after 3 years of studies, consultants and experts failed to develop specific answers to the following vitally important questions concerning the project:

– exposure to man-made disasters related to geological conditions of the site, potential mudflows, salt dome, etc.;

– ensuring the rights of countries in the middle and lower reaches of the Amudarya to guaranteed volumes and regime of water flow, particularly, during vegetation season;

– environmental risks for the entire region;

– review of effective alternative approaches to resolving the winter power shortage problem of Tajikistan.

Competent and persuasive answers to every party concerned were replaced by recommendations to continue studying these issues during the next stages.

This suggests, neither the World Bank, nor its consultants possess the requisite and sufficient information, or adequate qualification for well-grounded competent conclusions regarding the technical safety of the project and feasibility of its implementation. In other words, the decision on implementation of the project based on the findings of the so-called assessment studies cannot be accepted in principle.

In this regard, a very serious question has been raised whether those multi-volume reports and conclusions are credible for taking any well-grounded decisions. All complicated and sharp questions that require unequivocal answers have been avoided or delayed “for the future”. Therefore, these materials in their present form can represent anything – an essay, preliminary review, thesis, but not professional, qualified and unequivocal assessment of the Rogun Hydropower Project.

Thus, Uzbekistan refuses to consider submitted documents as expert conclusions on the Rogun Hydropower Project as they do not meet the standards of professional expert project review.

Meanwhile, a vivid example supporting the view that construction solutions at the backbone of the Rogun Hydropower Project can cause man-made hazards is the accident on its site in 1993, and the disaster on Sayano-Shushen Hydropower Plant in Russia which have cost the lives of 75 people in 2009. The technical and design solutions developed for this HPP developed in the same period and by the same institutes that designed Rogun HPP.

  1. b) The issues of water supply, environmental issues and natural resources

An impartial analysis shows that the construction of Rogun Hydropower Plant will impact the flow of the Vakshriver, and, consequently, flow of the Amudarya river which will be destructive for water, food and environmental safety of downstream countries.

The World Bank materials suggest that Rogun HPP operations can preserve the “historical flow” of the river Vaksh, which is an absolute nonsense. The consultants support their view by the figures for current average summer flow used in winter, when 4.2 billion of cubic meters of water are transferred from summer to winter period. However, the reason for taking this flow as the historic is not clear, since it covers only the last 20 years out of almost 100 years of observations. Moreover, it is the very period of last 20 years when Tajikistan hydropower authorities changed the regulation regime of the Vakhshriver as the owner of Nurek hydropower system, reducing the summer historic flow by 4.2 billion cubic meters of water, which are held up annually to build up the winter power potential.

The capacity of the Rogun reservoir is sufficient to accumulate the entire Vakhsh river flow in low water year (14 cubic km). It is estimated that if both Rogun and Nurek reservoirs are used in power regime, and there is no doubt, that the Republic of Tajikistan will apply exactly that regime, the water shortage in the middle and lower reaches of the Amudarya in the midterm perspective will annually make about 11.5 cubic km during vegetation period, and 6.5 cubic km throughout a year.

The reports omit convincing arguments and modeling results that would substantiate the statement that river flow will be regulated to benefit of the downstream countries, improve water supply and prevent floods. Therefore, assurance that the Rogun Hydropower Project will benefit the downstream countries (by supplying additional water in dry years) are intentionally misleading, as it is totally clear that the proposed flow regimes will cause disastrous damage for the areas in lower reach, and it will be even more severe during the dry years.

The World Bank experts only casually touched upon the key issue of Rogun HPP construction enable to increase the annual volume of water withheld in the reservoir to 7.4 cubic kilometers.

This fact is the essence of the project – to obtain a mechanism, or a tool in other words that will enable its owner to dictate unilaterally the harsh terms of water discharge to downstream countries, especially during vegetation of agricultural crops.

Furthermore, taking into account the extreme water scarcity in Central Asia, this mechanism can be converted into explicit tool of political pressure on downstream countries, provoking escalation of confrontation and growth of conflict potential in the region.

The decrease in the Amudarya river flow by 7.4 cubic kilometers per annum, which was admitted by the consultants, will turn 385 thousand hectares into barren land. In a low water year, this figure could exceed 500 thousand hectares. Among immediate consequences is the loss of income sources by 9.5 thousand farmers. If the farmers’ and hired laborers families are taken into account, the above number exceeds 1.5 million people who lose source of income.

The most explosive prospective outcome in this situation is a potential of conflict escalating not only between the governments, but primarily between populations of neighboring countries, with millions of people prepared for any actions to access potable and irrigation water for their own and their children. It is frightening even to picture the consequences.

In response to these concerns, the World Bank only expresses “hope that Tajikistan will provide reasonable assurances to downstream countries”. But how? Who will guarantee unconditional enforcement of international law, protection of interests of downstream countries – the World Bank or its consultants? The Bank prefers not to answer these apparent questions.

The shallow and unprofessional approach of the consultants is highlighted by the fact that the estimates of maximum water discharge of the Vakhshriver are based on the methodology used in the Southeast Asian countries and other regions, where the watercourse is formed exclusively by rainfall precipitation. It is a common fact that the watercourse in rivers of Central Asia, particularly the Vakhshriver is formed by ice and snow cap melting. Therefore, in this case, the estimate of impact assessment shall be based on the calculations of maximum air temperature, quantity and length of solar days, cloudiness, etc., such data have been omitted by the consultants, hence their impact assessments and conclusions of insignificance of Rogun HPP on the watercourse of the Vakhsh and Amudarya rivers turn out to be unjustified and unprofessional.

Furthermore, actual throughput of existing facilities of the Vaksh Cascade is about 5400 – 5760 cubic meters/second, if we take the consultants’ estimationof maximum water discharge at the level of 8160 cubic meters/second, then as per requirements of the regulatory documents, additional water discharge facilities through the entire cascade of HPPs needs to be constructed with the correspondent increase in the cost of Rogun Hydropower Project. Otherwise, all cascade facilities will be destroyed. But consultants did not reply rationally to this question either.

  1. c) Socio-economic impact

Absolutely unprofessional or biased approach of the studies proven by the fact that the World Bank’s report and conclusions on the project’s environmental and socio-economic impacts limited to assessment of impact on Tajikistan’s area in proximate vicinity to the project site. Mainly, it is the assessment of impact on resettlement of approximately six thousand families in the project area.

It is quite difficult to grasp the logic of the impact assessment of the massive project located on one of the largest rivers of Central Asia that excludes assessment of social impact and losses in the middle and lower reaches of the Amudaryariver. It is difficult to interpret this logic other than as intentional desire to hide the project’s real threats to the fragile environmental balance of the Central Asia region, and, first of all, its threat to the Aral Sea basin area, which directly affect sustainable development of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

The magnitude of omissions in the studies conducted by the consultants hired by the Government of Tajikistan becomes evident at the background of research by universities of New Mexico and North Dakota in USA. This research shows that the water scarcity resulting from the construction of Rogun Hydropower Plant will cost Uzbekistan USD 600 million annually in agriculture alone, reduce the country’s GDP by 2 %, and make jobless at least 340 thousand of its citizens. Uzbekistan will be forced to remove 506 thousand hectares (around 11% of total irrigated agricultural land) from agricultural use. In dry years, losses in agriculture sector will increase to USD 1 billion.

Still, what money can compensate the adverse impact on lives and means of livelihood of millions of people living in the middle and lower reaches of the Amudaryariver in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, forced resettlement of hundreds of thousands of them and associated sufferings and losses brought by implementation of this project.

The researchers are definite in their conclusions – the construction of Rogun HPP will trigger immense losses to Uzbekistan’s economy. In summer time, the reduced water flow in the Amudarya will result in water shortages and drought, which subsequently will lead to loss of income for millions of people employed in the agriculture sector in lower reaches of the river. In winter season, the Amudarya will rise, leading in the downstream to flooded orchards and fields, direct hazards to local population, massive destruction of buildings, roads, and other infrastructure.

According to the consultant’s reports, it will take 16 years to fill the water reservoir after completion of construction of Rogun HPP. During this period, the basin of the Amudarya, one of the two main rivers in the region, will experience extreme water shortages.

The fact that the consultants merely ignore catastrophic deterioration of living conditions of millions of people residing downstream cause sincere indignation.

The consultants, and probably World Bank, are not concerned about this. It is obvious that the project’s IRR has been calculated without taking into account exposure of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to all risks and potential losses omitted by the consultants.

Then, what is the value of these studies, if they assess the risks of the project on selective basis and try to “disregard” the concerns of a party that is exposed to the project risks most of all?

How can Uzbekistan, or if it had to be any other country in its place, agree with implementation of such a project? I presume the answer is obvious to everyone.

III. Global views on construction of massive hydro facilities

Given the catastrophic risks, associated with construction of new massive hydro facilities, their enormous costs and questionable end benefits, it is natural that most countries are critically reviewing the feasibility of building large hydropower plants since they do not meet modern environmental standards and requirements of anthropogenic safety.

In this regard, I would like to refer to the recent study of experts of one of the most reputable research centers in the world, which is the Oxford University (UK).They conducted a statistical analysis of all 245 large dams built in the world in the last 70 years and found that large dam projects experienced 100% cost overrun on average, and even higher in case of dams built in low-income countries.

The authors of the study noted that “developing countries in particular, despite seemingly the most in need of complex facilities such as large dams, ought to stay away from bites bigger than they can chew.”

According to the experts, the cost of construction of Rogun Hydropower Plant is about USD 5 billion. Based on the international experience, we can confidently assert that the actual cost of construction will take up to USD 10 billion, and with the enabling infrastructure – up to USD 15 billion, that exceeds the GDP of Tajikistan by two times.

Oxford’s specialists, based on their research, haveconcluded that “the scale of contemporary large dams is so vast that even for a large economy the negative economic ramifications could likely hinder the economic viability of the country as a whole”, and “such enormous sums of money ride on the success of megaprojects (such as large dams) that company balance sheets and even government balance-of-payments accounts can be affected for years by the outcomes”.

These words are clearly and logically confirmed by Chile, Brazil and other countries rejecting plans to build large hydropower plants this year, and also by the U.S. Congress adopting in January 2014 the statutory prohibition of support financing of any project aimed at construction of dams higher than 15 m by any international financial institution, where the United States is a shareholder, which naturally applies to the World Bank.

I think that every person present here is well aware that these acts, adopted at the state level, cannot represent a random decision, but carefully thought out action, which logically and naturallyvalidated by life itself. These decisions and legally issued documents are the outcomes of a very thorough study conducted on every appropriate level: scientific, expert, administrative, and at the background of the catastrophic events that have taken place over the past decade.

In this regard, we unfortunately have to state that the assessment studies and conclusions of the World Bank completely ignore and contradict the decisions taken by its member-countries, including legal act adopted by the state, which is the largest shareholder of the Bank. We believe that there is a big misunderstanding, or even an opportunistic approach, which can have very serious negative consequences. Everyone needs to remember that the opportunistic approach never provided benefits to anyone. Thehuge negative effects of the project, of which we warned long time ago, could be prevented by adherence to principled approach only.

  1. Summary and suggestions

Given the above, Uzbekistan states that multi-volume work carried out by the team of the consultants under the aegis of the World Bank is absolutely unacceptable due to the following reasons:

– the project ignores the interests of the riparian states and the norms of international law, including the relevant UN conventions on use of international water resources, focusing on satisfaction of the interests of one country only and completely disregarding the interests of other countries in the middle and lower reaches of the Amudarya.

– the economic section of the report analyzes the impact of different options to cover the shortage of power in Tajikistan, but does not provide an assessment of the project’s damage to the riparian countries, although consultants recognize that the area affected by the project include downstream countries and the Aral Sea;

– insufficient study of technical issues creates a danger of catastrophic risks of destruction not only of the proposed Rogun HPP, but of the entire Vakhsh cascade of hydropower plants.

The most important omission is that the World Bank and consultants accidentally or intentionally overlooked that Tajikistan’s winter power shortage is about 500-600 MW, but not 3,600 MW, which is the capacity of proposed Rogun HPP.

Unfortunately, the consultants neglected in-depth study and analysis of the most obvious, pragmatic and least costly options to solve the Tajikistan’s winter power shortage problem that could become much more attractive alternatives to the Rogun HPP. Uzbek experts studies show that development of hydropower resources of Tajikistan through construction of small and medium hydropower plants could potentially generate up to 30 billion kWh of electric power during the cold season, which is significantly more than the expected output of the Rogun Hydropower Plant at this time of the year (4-6 billion kWh), and requires by far less investments.

We state with regret that it is difficult to ignore the clear and concise logical sequence in the World Bankactions. This year, the Bank has approved financing and implementation of CASA 1000, the high-voltage transmission line project. In fact, the project was approved without determining reliable sources of power generation in sufficient volumes, the exact route of the line, taking into account significant potential losses of power during its transit, final cost of capital investments, and agreed power and transit tariffs

It is obvious that without above key inputs that set a basis of any investment project in the power sector, analyzing feasibility and subsequently approving the project is illogical. The very fact that Kyrgyzstan already today has to import 500 million kWh of power during summer time proves the haste and irrationality of CASA 1000.

Naturally, that both Asian Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank refused to finance this project due to its above shortcomings. Nonetheless, this project was approved by the World Bank.

Yet, today, the World Bank makes conclusion on the viability and feasibility of the Rogun Hydropower Project, and although we have been repeatedly told that these two projects are not connected to each other anyhow, it is clear and obvious to any impartial observer that it is not true.

Thus, our analysis shows that further implementation of the Rogun Hydropower Project, the attempts to push it forward by all means can lead to very serious, irreparable consequences in Central Asia. Both initiators of the project and institutions lobbying it shall realize that its implementation will lead to the following disastrous consequences in the nearest future:

– large-scale environmental changes and worsening of already existing problems in the region;

– disruption of the water flow regime and loss of hundreds of thousands of hectares of cultivated areas in the middle and lower reaches of the Amudarya;

– man-made disasters and deaths of many thousands of people living in the area of ​​the potential shock wave;

– socio-economic consequences in the form of water shortage, drought, famine, loss of income sources by millions of people;

– and most importantly, to escalation of tensions and of conflict potential in the region of Central Asia.

Given the evolving situation when there are no guarantees of unconditional fulfillment by all parties of the UN conventions and international law norms which require that such projects on trans-boundary rivers could be implemented only after obtaining written consents of all downstreamcountries, we believe that continuing preparation of this project and the World Bank’s position of silent approval of the project’s unilateral implementation causes the great harm to the entire Central Asian region and lead to the most serious negative consequences.

Considering the above, Uzbekistan proposes:

– results and conclusions of assessment reports shall be deemed unsatisfactory and insufficient to form a competent conclusion regarding construction of the Rogun HPP;

– to conduct another thorough elaboration and expert assessment of alternative options, including the construction of medium and small hydropower plants with daily accumulation reservoirs, expansion of existing and construction of new thermal power plants based on coal deposits of Tajikistan and use of other rational options that will address the problem of power shortage in Tajikistan faster and with significantly lower capital costs, but without disturbing the water balance and creating catastrophic man-made, environmental and social threats to the region.

  1. Conclusion

Summing up, I would like to state that the findings of the consultants and the panel of experts on Rogun Hydropower Project are completely unacceptable to the Republic of Uzbekistan.

We have to state that the panel of experts and consultants were guided by the principle “to pleasure everyone”. To be more specific, they were guided by the desire to push forward at any cost the project, designed during the Soviet gigantomania era, and ignoring the interests of people and the states in the middle and lower reaches of the Amudarya.

Therefore, there is not a single talk over our agreement with the main conclusions of the documents presented by the Bank.

Uzbekistan never, and under no circumstances, will provide support to this project.

Thank you for your attention.

www.mfa.uz


Posted on January 10, 2014

POSITION OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN ON THE ISSUE OF WATER MANAGEMENT IN CENTRAL ASIA

Currently, the rational use of natural resources, especially water and energy, is one of the most serious problems. Various and ambiguous approaches in this sphere impede development, lead to conflicts and sometimes to ecological catastrophes.

Thoughtless regulation of major transboundary rivers, carried out during the second half of the last century, has put our region on the brink of ecological disaster. Evidence of this is the tragedy of the Aral Sea, which almost over the life of only one generation has turned from a beautiful and unique sea into a drying and vanishing water reservoir, and the Aral Sea region from flourishing oasis – into a desert.

The drying up of the Aral Sea is directly related to the rational use of water resources in the region of two major rivers – the Amu Darya and Syr Darya. Any change in the volume and the flow regime of the rivers threatens with an irrevocable disruption of the fragile ecological balance in Central Asia.

That is why we cannot agree with some of the approaches to the use of water resources in Central Asia. Any attempt to implement projects on construction of large hydro-structures at the upper reaches of these rivers bearing serious security risks in terms of environmental, social and technological hazards is counterproductive and dangerous.

Ignoring these serious challenges jeopardizes the development prospects and the overall survival of tens of millions of people in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

Water and energy issues in Central Asia, including construction of new hydro-structures on rivers should be considered in accordance with universally recognized norms of international law, which are guaranteeing a rational and fair distribution of water resources, and ensuring the interests of all states in the region.

In particular, the UN Convention “On the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes” of March 17, 1992 and UN Convention “On the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses” of May 21, 1997 clearly state that all decisions on the use of transboundary rivers, including the construction of hydropower facilities, must not in any way harm the environment and infringe the interests of neighboring states.

Today, Uzbekistan, like other Central Asian countries, which located in the downstream of transboundary rivers experiences a serious shortage of water resources. That is why, guided by these international legal principles and norms of all hydropower projects envisaged to be constructed in the upper reaches of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya must be consistent with the downstream countries after a credible, independent and impartial assessment of the feasibility of their implementation.

In accordance with international standards, Uzbekistan stands for a clear allocation of priorities in the use of water. First, limited water resources of the region should be used for drinking and sanitary needs, secondly, to ensure food security and environmental needs, and then for industry and energy.

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Posted on January 10, 2014

THE PROBLEMS OF THE ARAL SEA

One of the gravest global environmental disasters of modern times is the tragedy of the Aral Sea facing the countries of Central Asia and their population of some 60 million. Its environmental, climatic, socioeconomic and humanitarian consequences make it a direct threat to sustainable development in the region, and to the health, gene pool and future of the people living there. The Aral Sea region crisis directly affects Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and affects Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan indirectly.

The Aral Sea region had a large variety of flora and fauna; its waters contained 38 species of fish and a range of rare animals; it was the habitat of 1 million saiga antelopes; and its flora included 638 species of higher plants.

Until 1960, the Aral Sea was one of the largest closed bodies of water in the world. It was 426 kilometres long and 284 kilometres wide, with an area of 68,900 square kilometres, a volume of water of 1,083 cubic kilometres, and a maximum depth of 68 m.

The Aral Sea played a vital role in the development of the regional economy, its industries, sources of employment and sustainable social infrastructure. In the past, the Aral Sea was among the richest fisheries in the world: 30,000 to 35,000 tonnes of fish were caught annually in the waters of the Aral Sea region. More than 80 per cent of those living along the Aral Sea shore were employed in catching, processing and transporting fish and fish products. The fertile lands of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya deltas and the rich grazing lands provided employment for more than 100,000 people in livestock rearing, poultry breeding and raising agricultural crops.

The Aral Sea also served to regulate the climate and mitigated the sharp fluctuations in the weather throughout the region, exerting a positive influence on living conditions, agriculture and the environment. In winter, arriving air masses heated up over the waters of the Aral Sea. In summer, they cooled down over the same waters.

The problems of the Aral Sea arose and expanded into a threat in the 1960s, as a result of the feckless regulation of the major cross-border rivers in the region — the Syr Darya and Amu Darya, which had previously provided some 56 cubic kilometres of water to the Aral Sea each year. A jump in the population in the area, urbanization, intensive land development and the construction of major hydrotechnical and irrigation facilities on the water courses of the Aral Sea basin carried out in previous years without regard for environmental consequences led to the dessication of one of the most beautiful bodies of water on the planet. Within a single generation, an entire sea was virtually destroyed. The process of environmental degradation continues, and the Aral Sea region is becoming a lifeless wasteland.

Since the 1990s, all the countries suffering the destructive consequences of the Aralcatastrophe have spoken out regularly at the United Nations and in other international and regional organizations to alert the international community to the problems of the Aral Sea and their close connection with regional and global security. In 28 September 1993, during the forty-eighth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and on 24 October 1995, during the fiftieth session, representatives of the countries of Central Asia appealed to the international community to provide assistance in saving the Aral Sea and the surrounding region, and warned that this problem could not be resolved without the support and assistance of international financial institutions and developed countries, with the United Nations in a coordinating role.

Enormous efforts are being devoted to practical counter-measures at the regional and national level, a key example being the establishment of the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) by Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan in January 1993.

The main goals of IFAS are to preserve the biological heritage of the Aral Sea region and to reduce the destructive impact of the ecological crisis on the environment and, most importantly, on the livelihood of the region’s inhabitants.

The efforts of IFAS have borne fruit in the form of the three programmes to assist the countries of the Aral Sea basin (ASBP-1, ASBP-2, ASBP- 3).

As the key founder of the IFAS, Uzbekistan attaches great importance to strengthen its activity. During its chairmanship in the IFAS (1997-1999), Uzbekistan made active efforts to develop the Fund’s legal basis, to establish relations and collaboration with the international organizations and financial institutions, in order to promote sustainable development in the Aral Sea basin. In October 1997 the International technical meeting of the donors was held in Tashkent. The main outcome of the meeting was the start of realization of the international project «Water resources and environment management in the Aral Sea basin».

The International conference on the Aral Sea, which was held by initiative of Uzbekistan in March 2008 in Tashkent, gave significant impulse for considering the Aral problem on international level. It was proved by participation in the conference of representatives from more than 90 international organizations, leading financial institutions of Japan, Germany, China, Arab countries and the well-known research centers. The forum adopted the Tashkent Declaration and the Actions Plan, that determined primary projects for about 1.5 billion dollars to mitigate the harsh consequences of the Aral Sea catastrophe.

On national level, Uzbekistan takes tremendous measures to combat negative impacts of drying of the Aral Sea. Hundreds of programs and projects have been realized since early 1990-s.

A 1.3 billion-dollar-plan to finance projects and measures in the Aral Sea region has been approved for 2013, providing for the creation of small local bodies of water in the Amu Darya delta, construction of water intake facilities with desalination installations, the creation of protective forest plantations and ornithological monitoring of bodies of water in the southern part of the region.

In August 2013 the chairmanship of IFAS passed to the Republic of Uzbekistan.

On September 16, 2013 “Programme of measures on eliminating the consequences of the drying up of the Aral Sea and averting the catastrophe of the ecological systems in the Aral Sea region”, initiated by the Uzbek side, was circulated as an official document of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly. The Programme was fully supported by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

“Programme of measures on eliminating the consequences of the drying up of the Aral Sea and averting the catastrophe of the ecological systems in the Aral Sea region” includes the following fundamentally important measures on combating negative impact of the drying of Aral Sea:

  1. Creation of conditions for life, reproduction and preservation of the gene pool in the Aral Sea region.
  2. Improved measures to manage and save water. Protecting natural bodies of water in the Aral Sea catchment area.

III. Implementation of large-scale measures to plant forests on the dessicated bed of the Aral Sea and prevent desertification in the region.

  1. Preservation of biodiversity, restoration of biological resources and protection of flora and fauna.
  2. Further institutional reinforcement and strengthening of cooperation between countries in the region, in the framework of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, and stepped-up efforts to alert the international community to the Aral Sea catastrophe.

However, the continuous deterioration of the environmental, socioeconomic and humanitarian effects of the desiccation of the Aral Sea and the degradation of human habitation in the region make it obvious that, without substantive assistance from the United Nations and the international community, it will be impossible to resolve what is by definition a problem that affects the whole planet.

October 28-29, 2014 Urganch, Khorazm region hosted International Conference “Development of Cooperation in the Region of the Aral Sea to Mitigate Consequences of the Ecological Catastrophe” to mobilize the efforts of the international community to implement programs and projects aimed at improving the environmental and socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea region, as well as the further development of international cooperation to reduce the impact of the environmental disaster.

The outcome of the International Conference was conclusion of agreements on the implementation of national and regional projects totaling 3 bln. USD., 200 mln. of which is grants.

On March 24, 2015 in Tashkent EC IFAS together with regional bodies of the Fund organized round table on topic “Development of cooperation for ecological disaster mitigation in the region of the Aral Sea ” And held a special session on the problems of the Aral Sea in the framework of the 7th World Water Forum (12 -17 April 2015, Daegu and Gangbuk, Republic of Korea).

During its chairmanship in the IFAS Uzbekistan jointly with other states-founders of the Fund and in close cooperation with international donor organizations intends to take necessary steps for the implementation of the Programme of measures.

 

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Once again on the issue of construction of Rogun Hydroelectric Power Plant

July 12, 2012

Over the past few years the attention of wide circles of international community, respected environmental organizations, experts of research centers in many countries engaged in studies of water management construction, riveted to the persistent efforts of Tajikistan on reanimation of the project on construction in the headwaters of Amu Darya of the complex of structures of Rogun Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) with the capacity of 3600 MW.

Previously it has been repeatedly noted that the construction project of Rogun HPP carries significant and massive technological, social, environmental and socio-economic risks and dangers, which is why its implementation induces justified opposition and objection of respected International Organizations and eminent experts, as well as countries in downstream of Amu Darya.

It is primarily due to the following main factors. First of all, these include the technical project solutions for construction of Rogun HPP that do not meet current requirements and has been developed during the Soviet era, 35-40 years ago, with the distinctive feature of the period of pursuing gigantomania, and based on outdated standards, construction norms and rules that fall short of current requirements of ensuring the construction of hydraulic structures that are safe in all respects. This was repeatedly stated by the eminent professionals and experts.

Large-scale problems and accidents encountered by the builders of large HPPs built in the last few decades (“Three Gorges” in China, “Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP” and “Boguchanskaya HPP” in Russian Federation, large HPPs in South America, etc.) led to a reasonable conclusion that the standards and requirements that apply at present to such hydro facilities have dramatically changed and this caused in many cases the revision, suspension or even rejection of projects on their construction.

Besides, already during the engineering of Rogun HPP project Soviet specialist could not find adequate technical solutions for a number of major issues that remained unresolved. These include, in particular, measures to offset the inevitable effects of filtration and impact of a huge mass of water on a strong (more than 100 meters thick) layer salt that lies at the base of the dam, as well as the high mobility of rock masses in the area of construction. Since then problems only worsened, as evidenced by the crash and complete destruction of a temporary bridged Rogun dam in 1993, as well as several other subsequent accidents.

Secondly, the project incorporates the construction of the dam with unprecedented in the world practice height of 335 meters in the rock mass with repeatedly confirmed seismicity of 9-10 points on the Richter scale.

The construction site of Rogun HPP is situated in relatively newly formed mountain ranges of Vakhsh tectonic fault, an integral part of the chain of regional Southern Tian-Shan and Hissar-Kokshaalsk faults. The seismicity of these zones is the highest in Central Asia, with the repeated cycles in the form of regular earthquakes up to 10 points. Such earthquakes, that occurred in Tajikistan in the first half of last century, claimed in total the life of more than 100,000 people. It is suffice to recall the earthquake in 1911 of more than 9 points, which led to the formation of Usoy natural landslide dam and Lake Sarez with the capacity of 20 billion cubic meters of water.

This region is entering the stage of high seismic activity. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are up to eight earthquakes recorded weekly in the Pamir-Hindi Kush mountain range, which includes the Rogun HPP construction cite. A strong earthquake occurs in Tajikistan every four year and devastating one – every 10-15 years. Based on data analysis, some experts predict that over the next ten years one should expect strong destructive earthquakes in this mountain range. This is also confirmed in research studies by seismologists, including Tajik scientists.

In addition, construction of such a huge dam would require moving and disposing of 80 million cubic meters of soil, which, along with the 14 billion tons of water reservoir, will create additional pressure on the mountain. This will increase seismic vulnerability of the region, and one can surely predict that construction of the Rogun HPP will increase frequency and intensity of earthquakes in this area.

What would be the consequences of destruction of such a HPP caused by earthquake or human factor? Scientists and engineers estimate that dynamic pressure of 14 cubic kilometers of water trapped in the reservoir is capable to create giant waves – the so-called man-made tsunami – with more than 100 meters in height, rushing down to the Vakhsh River at a speed as high as 500 km/per hour. It can completely destroy the Nurek dam, all other HPPs and hydro sites along the Vakhsh cascade and can flood the towns of Nurek, Sarban, Kurgantyube and Rumy. Moreover, while continuing its destructive movement, the flood wave would demolish dozens of towns and villages in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, causing to incalculable consequences and death of many hundreds of thousands of lives.

Thirdly, the Rogun HPP Project poses a long-term and irreversible threat to environment of the region as well as in the socio-economic sphere.

Construction of a gigantic HPP would break delicate ecological balance in the region, having a devastating impact on water resource management and environmental situation. The formation of a water reservoir of 14 cubic kilometers will require a significant limitation of the Vakhsh River flow for at least 8-10 years, which will disrupt long-term water flow regulation in the region and increase water deficit up to a disastrously high level.

The construction of the HPP would completely disrupt the structure of natural water flows by decreasing the water flow sharply during the growing season and increasing water feed in the autumn-winter period, which will result in severe water scarcity, drought in summer time, as well as disastrous winter floods for downstream state of the Amu Darya.

A hydrological regime change of the Amu Darya River will also increase channel losses, which makes up to 15% in low-water period, accelerate the drying of downstream lakes and wetlands, emergence of new salt marshes and saline takyr surfaces, which would become major sources of salt transposition to adjacent farmlands, reducing soil fertility and crop yields on the ground.

As a result, this will worsen environmental disaster of the Aral Sea, which has a global impact.

It will also completely destroy economic basis of production and the prevailing modus vivendi way of more than 10 million people living in the Amu Darya downstream oasis in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, who will be doomed to drought, hunger, and eventual displacement.

It is estimated that direct economic loss of the downstream countries, including Uzbekistan, resulting from the construction of Rogun HPP, make up more than $ 20 billion with no state willing to compensate. Additional economic and social problems will emerge as a result of forced displacement of people suffering from water shortage, causing sharp social instability to increase in the region.

As a result, total economic damage from this project is unquantifiable, and how, in what currency and what numbers the suffer and misery of millions of people could be estimated?

It is obvious that the construction of such dam contradicts not only to technical standards, economic logic, but also to the common sense, in general.

Precisely these threats from construction of Rogun HPP station are causing legitimate concerns of the international community and wide range of international organizations, such as United Nations, International Commission on Large Dams, World Water Council, International Union for Protection of Nature, as well as members of the European Parliament, Parliaments of the United States, Belgium and other countries, scientific and research centers of Japan, USA, the Netherlands, South Korea and other states.

As result of broad discussion of the problems associated with this project at various levels in the United Nations bodies, international scientific-practical forums and conferences, implemented over past few years, brought an understanding and clear formulation of principal position of the international community on necessity of carrying out of in-depth objective independent international expertise of this project.

It should be noted that opinion of independent experts goes inline with the norms of the international law in the field of transboundary water resources management. A number of UN conventions, such as The United Nations Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes of September 18, 1992; The 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Uses of International Watercourses, adopted by the UN General Assembly on May 21, 1997, are clearly defining the requirements for compulsory consideration of interests of all parties, located in zone of influence of transboundary water facilities, before taking decisions on elaboration of the projects associated with a transboundary effect.

Moreover, The Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, which entered into force in 1997, envisages a full accounting of environmental consequences from construction of such facilities, and implementing of in-depth assessment of their impact with attraction of all interested parties.

Taking into account the opinion of international organizations and structures, and on the basis of international law, the World Bank decided in 2010 to conduct an independent international expertise of the project of construction of Rogun hydro-power station and provided USD 20,0 million for its implementation. A number of European firms from France, Switzerland and other countries are involved in this studies and its completion is expected at the first quarter of 2013.

In its turn, the government of Tajikistan took commitments in 2010 not to carry out construction works on Rogun hydro-power station’ site until the completion of independent technical, economic, social and environmental impact assessment from. At the same time Tajikistan pledged to the International Monetary Fund to stop campaign on forcible fund-raising from the population to finance the project of construction of Rogun hydro-power station.

However, unfortunately, at the present time it must be noted that, regardless of its commitments to the World Bank and IMF, the Tajik side is continuing to implement its “idee fixe”, unilaterally grossly violating the achieved agreements to prevent construction works at Rogun hydro-power station.

Numerous facts indicate that Tajikistan, in hidden from the international community, is carrying out behind closed doors a wide range of works on construction cite, which was started in the 1970s. At the present time massive construction works are being carried out on the site of Rogun HPP, its constructional drainage tunnels, turbine hall, quarries and other facilities of the station.

Both, the Tajik authorities have been actively attracting foreign contractors (from Russia, Ukraine and other countries) to carry out works on designing the Rogun HPP facilities.

At the same time the Tajik side has been making contracts for supplies of equipment, components and materials needed for launching the first phase of the plant. Particularly, so far the equipment for launching the first power unit has been procured, produced and delivered. Shortly production of equipment for the second unit is to be finished and preparation for delivery is underway.

Along with allocation of significant budget funds for the last several years (more than USD 200 million annually), Tajikistan in violation of its obligations before the IMF has lately enhanced the compulsory sale of Rogun shares to the population despite harsh financial conditions of majority of people in the country.

All these actions are taken under enormous pressure of the Tajik leadership who recently claimed “that who against Rogun project is the enemy of the Tajik nation”.

Natural question arises – what is final objective of the construction or Rogun HPP, why despite numerous objections and violating all norm of international law, Tajikistan has been trying to complete in accelerated paces the first stage of the plant?

The answer is clear – their final objective is to complete the first stage of the plant and put the World Bank and the entire international community in front of the fait accompli and thus legalize that which is actively opposed by the expert community and international structures.

Distorting the real situation, misleading and hiding the real works from the world community, the Tajik side has been trying to win time and finish the started works, to cross the line of no return when international experts will have to put up with the fait accompli of completed Rogun HPP.

At the same time the Tajik side through the controlled media and experts on payroll has been irresponsibly speculating, completely distorting facts and arguments of international experts, manipulating figures with a view to convince the people of Tajikistan that there is no alternative to the construction of Rogun HPP.

Thereby they have been trying to distort the real state of affairs and use all possible and impossible means to accomplish their goal which is construction of the Rogun HPP while ignoring all catastrophic risks and dangers which this project may entail.

One should stress that many of international experts and neighboring countries of Tajikistan located in the lower reach of the Amudarya river have been proposing a reasonable alternative which might address the problem of a reliable power supply to Tajikistan at a significantly less cost and time not creating a large-scale man-made, ecologic, social and economic threats for both Tajikistan and its neighbors. That alternative is the construction of a number of small scale hydropower plants. Considering this alternative has been one of the most important directions of the World Bank activities.

Following conclusions can be made from the aforesaid:

First. It is not normal when the Tajik side has been continuing the construction of the Rogun HPP ignoring numerous warnings and recommendations of international experts and specialists gravely violating its commitments on suspending all civil works until the completion of the World Bank expert examination.

Second. The policy adopted and pursued by the Tajik and which is based on covert continuation of the construction of the Rogun HPP may entail the gravest and unpredictable consequences impossible to mitigate. It cannot be ignored.

Pravda Vostoka newspaper


Aral Sea Area Returns to Life

July 02, 2012

Former fishermen of Karakalpakstan learn new skills

 The process of rehabilitation of economic activity of population in the area of ecological catastrophe caused by the drying up of the Aral Sea, the world’s fourth largest lake was presented to the participants of presentations under the project of the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Global Environment Facility and United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The project on ‘Achieving Ecosystem Stability in Degraded Land in Karakalpakstan and the Kyzylkum Desert’, which was launched four years ago, is called to help the local communities with adapting to the changing environment and arrange economical activity in the new conditions. Over $ 2.9 million was invested in the project.

The presentation was attended by deputies of the Oliy Majlis and officials of local administrations, representatives of the Ecology Movement and environmental public organizations, scientists and senior executives of UNDP, State Committee for Nature Protection, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Agriculture and Water Economy of the Republic and journalists.

The venue of the presentation located in Kazakhdaryo village, which is 120 kilometers away from Nukus, the capital of Karakalpakstan, where under the project the ex-fishermen learn the skills of livestock breeders, farmers, public services specialists that would provide their stable earnings.

In the village, which was left by the sea for more than 100 kilometers, dilapidated hulls of the fishing boats resemble of the past. Today’s typical picture of the village are the silver sand dunes that approach from the former bed of the sea, and dust storms, which annually lift to the air more than 150 million tones of salt, dust and sand from the seabed. They are carried by air currents to thousands of miles, and fall as salt rains and snow. Shelter belts of black Haloxylon, saltwort, kandym and other desert plants are called to withstand the elements and stop the shifting sands stepping on Kazakhdaryo village.

Participants had the opportunity to visit the pilot area of plantations in nine hectares, which is located five kilometers away from the village, and make sure in the effectiveness of the proposed methods of sand fixation. The plants have got well acclimated to the former seabed and were successfully tested by the past dry year.

The results of rehabilitation of degraded lands were demonstrated by the example of gardens of two households. Their owners consisting of 40 people, have successfully completed the field farming school under the project and successfully applied their knowledge in practice. They cultivated orchards, so the residents have got the opportunity to provide themselves with vegetables and other foodstuffs and the cattle with fodder. Participants of the presentation could taste apricots, cucumbers, eggplants, Bulgarian pepper, and other gifts of young orchards and gardens grown in the village. It is obvious that the field farming school guided by instructors from the Tashkent State Agrarian University is effective.

Desert-grazing livestock farming was organized on a scientific basis as well. A comprehensive veterinary service center was established in the village and the necessary equipment was supplied within the project. With the support of the project the zoology and veterinary specialist was trained to handle the high-tech process of artificial insemination of cows and sheep.

Three business plans were implemented in Kazakhdaryo with the assistance of the project to demonstrate the capacity of alternative sources of income and raise the employment of the population. The projects envisaged the establishment of small businesses: a greenhouse economy, carpentry and sewing workshops. Participants made sure in the effectiveness of their management.

For instance, the workshop established by Tozagul Atamuratova, took up the revival of national ornamental traditions of the Karakalpak people and the manufacture of pattern-based gowns, dresses, clothing sets and souvenirs. The goods are in high demand. The shop owner informed the presentation participants on her intention to produce national souvenirs for sale to foreign tourists visiting Nukus.

Irina Bekmirzaeva, the project manager, informed of tangible social and economic changes that took place in the village of Kyzyl Rawat, the second zone of an ongoing project, which is located 250 kilometers from Bukhoro.

The experience will be applied in implementation of desertification counteraction plans in the Aral Sea and other regions of Central Asia under other projects.

“Uzbekistan Today” newspaper


17 June – World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

June 14, 2012
Desertification is an issue of global importance, which has severe consequences on international environmental security, poverty eradication, socio-economic stability and sustainable development.
110 countries of the world are under the threat of land degradation. Every year, humanity loses 12 ml. hectares of land, that equal to the territory of Benin. Vanishing land could produce up to 20 ml. tons of grain annually. The volume of lost revenues per year makes 42 bl. USD due to the land degradation.

Desertification is defined as “land degradation in arid, semiarid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climate change and human activities”. Land degradation in arid regions is defined as a decrease or loss of biological or economic productivity of dry lands. Main reason of this is generally human activities – excessive processing of agricultural land, overgrazing, deforestation and poor irrigation. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, third surface of the Earth affected by degradation, which consequently influence the lives of more than 1 billion people in over 100 countries.

There is an indissoluble link between livelihood, rich biodiversity and soil ecosystem. Fertile soil is capable of giving life, and its “health” depends largely on the cultivation methods. These methods influence the yield, the quality of food we eat, and the mechanisms of interaction with the ecosystem. Our growing dependence on ecosystem also means that with increasing the fertility of the soil we, thereby, improving life standard’s quality. Worrying about fertility of land, we contribute to the development of biodiversity of ecosystems, which are inexhaustible storehouses of natural resources, and as yet undiscovered by mankind services for future generations.

The most critical situation is in the drylands. Particularly unstable soil, sparse vegetation, and harsh climate lead to desertification.

In 1995, the UN General Assembly proclaimed June 17 the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (Resolution 49/115) in order to raise awareness and in connection with the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification.

The General Assembly of the United Nations decided to proclaim the period from January 2010 to December 2020 the UN Decade for Deserts and Desertification, in order to promote action for the protection of drylands due to continuous deterioration and degradation of increasingly more land around the world. The decade will become favorable opportunity to implement changes needed to ensure that dry lands benefit humanity for many years. Uzbekistan is an arid country, much of which consists of arid and semi-arid areas (70% of the territory). Natural ecosystems in arid and semiarid zones of the country historically prone to natural salinity and are under the threat of moving sand, dust storms and hot winds, exacerbated by lack of water resources. Climatic conditions of Uzbekistan, the limited area of land suitable for agricultural use and scarce water resources force us to seek more efficient ways of using land and water resources and natural wealth.

Realizing the importance of combating desertification, as part of achieving sustainable and safe development of the country, the Uzbek government aimfully uses every opportunity to address the problems associated with land degradation, desertification and drought. One of the steps was signing of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought (CBD), on December 7, 1994 and ratified the Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan on August 31, 1995. The Center of hydrometereological service under the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan (Uzhydromet) is responsible for the implementation of the CBD in Uzbekistan.

A number of international projects aimed at solving the problems linked to land degradation were implemented. Multilateral country project on capacity development, implemented between 2010 and 2012 by the United Nations Development Programme, Global Environment Facility, the German Agency for International Development and the Global Mechanism of the UN Convention is part of multilateral country activities of the “Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM)” aimed at raising potential of Uzbekistan related to land degradation. The objectives of the project are integration of sustainable land management (SLM) in the national policy and legislation, effective mobilization of resources for the implementation of SLM initiatives, better cooperation between government agencies and land users, as well as sharing and dissemination of best SLM practices. The project focuses on public awareness on land degradation and desertification.

Press service of the


State committee for nature protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan


About Environmental Activities

June 11, 2012

Presentation of the publication Second Environmental Performance Review of Uzbekistan took place in the capital within the ecology week.

It was prepared by the UN Environment Program, Economic Commission for Europe, the leading experts from France, Finland, Germany, the United States and other countries, Uzbek scientists and specialists. A team consisting of national and international experts during 2008-2009 took a thorough study of the effectiveness of environmental activities in our country.

The Second Environmental Performance Review of Uzbekistan was published under the UN auspices in the Uzbek, Russian and English languages. It details the outcomes of socio-economic and ecological reforms in environmental protection, which were carried out starting from 2001, since the release of the first edition, as well as the economic foundations of environmental protection, the results of monitoring of land, water and natural resources, energy policy, and national capacity in addressing climate change challenges.

“The ongoing reforms are an important factor for nature protection and ensuring of environmental sustainability,” said Nairman Umarov, Chairman of the State Committee for Nature Protection of Uzbekistan. “A consistent work on mitigation of the negative impact of environment on human health and development of the society is underway. It has formed a solid legal and institutional framework for environmental development. The national movement plan empowers the phased work on ensuring the protection of land, water, air and other natural resources, and mitigation of the negative impact of environmental problems of global and national scales.”

As a result of this work the emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere reduced twice and sewage discharge into the water – three times. The work on protection of rivers and groundwater, expansion of areas of nature reserves and protected areas, stabilization of ecological situation in the Aral Sea is effective as well.

Uzbekistan fulfills all the requirements of international conventions signed. The Second Environmental Performance Review of Uzbekistan suggests a detailed analysis of the outcomes achieved in this direction and tasks for the future.

“Uzbekistan Today” newspaper


Rogun hydropower station can lead to dangerous catastrophe in Central Asia

July 21,2011

Popular Russian public-political publication Federalnaya Gazeta (Federal Newspaper) published an article of chief editor Zulfiya Bonoeva “Rogun Project – catastrophe for Central Asia”.

The author raised actual issue on water use, construction of large hydropower stations at trans-boundary rivers, and its destructive impact to ecologic system of the region.

The article underlines that nature shows its character to humanity. Global climate change, natural and man-caused catastrophes, which cause to large number of victims, are evidence for it.

In this context, the author noted that construction of gigantic dam – Rogun hydropower station – at Vakhsh river, can lead to dangerous catastrophe for all region of Central Asia and create threat to life of 50 million people.

The paper cited Academician and honourable director of Institute of Seismology of the Science Academy of Tajikistan Sabit Negmatillaev, who said that there were earthquakes with magnitude of nine in Tajikistan territory, Karatag, in 1907, in Pamir in 1911 and in Hait in 1949, similar to that earthquake in Japan in March 2011. Academician forecasted that it is expected that in next ten years, there will be similar earthquake in Pamir-Hindu Kush mountain chain.

The article said that in case of earthquake, like in Japan, there will be sharp growth of tension at dam. It added that dam will not be able to stands such pressure and will fall, creating real tsunami.

 Break of dam will result in catastrophe in Central Asia, first of all, for Tajikistan. The catastrophe will also damage other waterworks facilities at Vakhsh cascade and flood large number of cities and settlements in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, the article added.

The Russian paper said that in case of break of Rogun dam, the height of wave, which will rush down-stream, will make at least 100 meters and its destructive power will be higher than Japanese tsunami.

The article quoted expert of French Geopolitics Institute Pierre-Emmanuel Tommann, who said that construction of Utopian hydropower projects in Central Asia with large dam is unsufficiently considered in the view of consequences.

French expert said that intention of Tajikistan to construct Rogun hydropower station is extremely risky. He called all those, who realize this project, to listen to voice of sense and solve all issues based on general norms and principles of international law.

Construction of Rogun power station, the author underlined, can also negatively impact glaciers, which feed Vakhsh river.

At the end of the article, the author said that hydro power problem can be solved due to small hydro power stations, which will not change rivers-bed and their construction is more economically attractive.

www.UzDaily.com


Switzerland to help train water management specialists

July 19, 2011

An Uzbek-Swiss agreement on implementation of the project “Development of professional skills in the field of water management in Uzbekistan” was signed in Tashkent.

The document was inked by the first deputy minister of higher and specialized secondary education, director of the Center for specialized professional secondary education Jahongir Ismailov and the ambassador of Switzerland Ann Boti.

The goal of the project is to create a new model of cooperation among the professional colleges and water resources management enterprises in preparation and retraining professionals for the sector.

The three-year project will be implemented in nine colleges in Ferghana, Namangan and Andijan regions. They will become regional centers for training professionals for the water management, supply and canalization systems. Besides, working specialists will be able to raise skills in these colleges.

The signed project is part of the Agreement on technical and financial cooperation and humanitarian assistance signed between Uzbekistan and Switzerland in 2002. The share of the Swiss side in the project is USD 3.4 million.

www.uza.uz


 

World day to combat desertification and drought observed in Tashkent

June 17, 2011

Tashkent hosted a seminar on 17 June 17 devoted to World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. The seminar, organized by the Centre of Hydrometeorological Service at Cabinet of Ministers and State Committee for Nature Protection, was attended by scientists, experts, representatives of relevant ministries and international organizations.

First Deputy General Director of the Centre of Hydrometeorological Service of Uzbekistan B.Kadyrov, deputy chairman of the State Committee for Nature Protection K. Sodikov and others noted the impact of ongoing work of the rational use of land resources, improvement of soil fertility, attraction of modern technologies in Uzbekistan. Specific activities are undertaken to improve land reclamation, rehabilitation of drainage networks, and reduction of erosion of pastures.

In accordance with the decree of President Islam Karimov of 31 October, 2007, the Ministry of Finance established the Fund for the amelioration of irrigated lands, which serves to increase the efficiency of work in this direction.

As a result of work in the construction, reconstruction, repair of irrigation facilities, improving soil fertility, 12,893 kilometers of drainage networks were cleared in 2010, improving reclamation of 266,000 hectares of irrigated land.

Drying of the Aral Sea is a major cause of desertification in the region. In 1995 Uzbekistan signed the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Center of Hydrometeorological Service at Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan is considered the national executive agent of the convention.

On the basis of national programs, established by the relevant government, community organizations in collaboration with environmental programs and UNDP, large-scale projects are being implemented. Scientists and specialists conduct effective research in order to stabilize the environmental situation in the Aral Sea and to prevent the vanishing of sand dunes in the steppe regions, by improving soil fertility and application of advanced technologies in agriculture.

The workshop heard presentations on the accomplishments in the fight against soil erosion and desertification, the execution of tasks on the prevention of desertification identified in the national program strategies and activities on regional cooperation in land management, information systems implementation in water resources use.

www.uza.uz


Ramsar Convention’s 40th anniversary marked

February 03, 2011

The Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan held an event devoted to the 40th anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran on 2 February 1971 and known as the Ramsar Convention.

The aim of the convention is to preserve the nature in its initial form, protect the flora and fauna and ensure rational use of natural resources.

At present, a large number of projects is being implemented to pursue the tasks set out in the intergovernmental treaty, ratified by 160 countries, including Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan ratified the Ramsar Convention in 2001, and has carried out a widescale work to implement the document.

In particular, Dengizkul lake in Bukhara region was included in the list of wetlands of international importance. The basins of Aidarkul-Arnasay lakes were included in the system of internationally protected lakes.

The event participants listened to reports on implementing international norms in using natural resources and protecting the environment, ensuring ecological safety in the country and other issues.

www.uza.uz


New approach is needed to solve environmental problems – experts

November 24, 2010

International conference on transboundary environmental problems in Central Asia was held in Tashkent on 16-17 November. Some of its participants spoke to UzA.

Sanjay Kumar Pandey, Professor, School of International Studies (India):

“The Aral Sea region is provided with water from two main sources – the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. Therefore, the giant hydropower station and dam construction project in their upper reaches can cause very serious damage to ecology of the region and lead to dangerous man-made socio-environmental and humanitarian consequences. It is clear that the reduction of the volume of water will also affect the water balance and sustainable development.

“To solve transboundary and environmental problems in Central Asia, establishment of an open dialogue and new approaches to the issue are required. The international environmental conference organized in Tashkent is a good example of this approach.”

Trevor Tanton, Professor, University of Southampton (UK):

“The conference on transboundary environmental problems in Central Asia was dedicated to very important issues, because today’s environmental problems in the region of Central Asia are of global significance.

“We had the opportunity to get acquainted with the environmental situation in the Sariasiya district of Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan. One cannot remain indifferent seeing the tremendous damage that is caused to the environment, public health, flora and fauna by emissions of the Tajik Aluminum Plant. The main reason for this is the plant’s outdated technology.

 This company should promptly update its equipment and technology. This will help reduce the harm to the environment.”

Yuri Bondarenko, Director General, Ukrgidroenergostroy consortium (Ukraine):

“I believe in the conditions of Central Asia, especially in the mountainous areas, it is advisable not to build large hydropower plants, but small power stations, which carry a much lower risk. The international law in this area requires conduction of an independent international expertise and a detailed study of all of its aspects.

“Having familiarized with the situation in Sariasiya, I was convinced that the Tajik Aluminum Plant is making a huge damage to the area. Indifference is unacceptable here. This multi-faceted and dangerous problem should have been solved long ago in a unified and coordinated way. The administration of the plant should modernize the enterprise and provide it with new green technologies.”

www.uza.uz


Toward Sounder Environment The Tashkent Environmental Declaration is signed

November 22, 2010

Tashkent hosted the international conference “Transboundary Environmental Problems of Central Asia: Application of International Legal Mechanisms for their Solution.” It was crowned with the signing of Tashkent Environmental Declaration.

Over 250 delegates took part in the international forum consisting of representatives from more than 30 foreign countries, 60 international organizations. The conference was organized by the Environmental Movement of Uzbekistan. The day before the conference experts, academics and ecologists had the opportunity to get familiarized with the situation in the Aral Sea area and Surkhondaryo region where the environment and health of population are affected by the negative influence of detrimental industrial discharges of the Aluminum Plant of Tajikistan.

President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov sent his welcoming letter to the conference participants where he noted: “At the turn of millennia the world faced unprecedented problems and calls linked with abnormal natural changes that threaten to life of the mankind, existence of flora and fauna across the globe. Unfortunately, Central Asia faces these burning threats as well where the thoughtless regulation of major transboundary rivers and construction of ecologically negative industrial objects implemented in the second half of the last century, have brought our region to the verge of ecological disaster.”

The head of the state has also underscored that today it is necessary to save the nature for the present and future generations, to save it from new dangerous projects that could worsen the living conditions of population in our and other regions.

The President of Uzbekistan also has expressed confidence that the views of participants would be heard by the international financial institutions, organizations and other interested structures on which it depend the protection of present and future generations from tragic fate to live in conditions of bad ecology.

So, at the final Tashkent Ecological Declaration the experts have come to the common conclusion that it is impossible to admit the artificial reduction of volumes and regime of run-off of transboundary rivers to the Aral Sea that could bring to deterioration of the ecological situation in the Aral Sea zone, health of the population, living conditions of millions of people of the area. It is also necessary to carry out measures on restraining the expansion of desertification and soil salinization through the tree-planting and other agrotechnical and special actions in the ecological disaster zone.

The declaration also stipulates the necessity of creating the conditions for the expansion of employment and growth of incomes of the population in ecologically unhealthy regions of Uzbekistan at the expense of development of small business, first of all, less-water-retaining industrial and agricultural productions, as well as sphere of services.

During the forum the international experts repeatedly urged the governments of the countries and international organizations to unite the efforts in solving the transboundary problems and decreasing the ecological threats linked with the Aral catastrophe, building of hydro constructions in upper streams of transboundary rivers of Central Asia and expansion of aluminum manufacture in region. The participants also offered to support the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan in its activity on the environment protection, as well as taking into account transboundary influence, and also the involvement in this process of the wider public.

“The fact that Uzbekistan raises and discusses these problems and ready to adopt the experience of other countries in order to find the solution is worthy of respect. This is quite timely conference. It is obvious that the countries of the region ought to cooperate and solve the current ecological problems together. The actions undertaken by Tashkent create the basis for it. International codes should be kept. After all, we all strive for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and ecological safety is one of the main components of it,” noted M. Gopalakrishnan, Secretary General, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage.

Parviz Morwedge, Director, Global Scholarly Publications, Professor at the State University of New York said the Aral Sea is the ecological catastrophe not only of Central Asia but the whole world as well. Toxic chemicals from the bottom of Aral Sea were found in the blood of penguins in the North Pole.

“Uzbekistan makes everything to resist the ecological threats. However, all world scientific, academic and diplomatic circles should participate – irrespective of national differences. All of us should make the contribution in combating consequences of this catastrophe of the universe,” he underlined.

The attendees of the plenary sessions of the conference noted that irrational use of water resources have been occuring during the last decades in Central Asia caused the change of the runoff regime of the rivers Amudaryo and Sirdaryo that led to one of the sharpest global ecological tragedies – drying of Aral Sea. Experts are assured that large-scaled projects on building of hydro constructions with huge dams in upper streams of the transboundary rivers of Sirdaryo and Amudaryo can cause an irreparable damage.

“It is necessary to consider that the area round Aral Sea is supplied with water due to the streams of two main rivers – Amudaryo and Sirdaryo. Any reduction of water of these rivers means radical infringement of existing frail ecological balance of the whole region. Therefore, the building of Rohun hydroelectric Power Station, the project of which was developed 40 years ago, should be immediately stopped. It is rather difficult to imagine the scale of humanitarian disaster which can be evoked by the dam construction. There is a reasonable offer for the region countries – to build small hydroelectric power stations,” noted the head of the magazine “Business. Culture. Sports”, Austria.

Not all countries of the region joined the UN Water Convention and it interferes to the efficient management of transboundary water resources.“In case of building of Rohun hydroelectric power station, it is rather uncivilized approach of Tajikistan that is considered the first user. As sources of all water resources are formed just in the territory of this country. This phenomenon should get more civilized character where interests of the neighbouring states should be considered and the norms of international conventions implemented,” considered Nikolay Monastyrev, head of the Scientific Research Institute “Ecology and Alternative Energy”, Ukraine.

During the discussions it was noted that the international financial institutions and organizations should promote strengthening the ecological stability of the region, including through the fair efforts for interaction with the civil society residing within the zone of influence of projects till the approval of these projects and openness of dialogues.

“There are certain agreements signed by states, and moreover, there are international documents regulating the relations in similar situations. Now it is necessary to initiate legal acts, to conduct researches, monitor the situation in transboundary rivers. It is also necessary to study the state of rivers within this period. It should be impartial, and the member countries should work together. The experience of the European countries illustrates that it is possible to do. Today, any democratic state should take into account the interests of other countries, international norms in solving the transboundary problems,” commented Bella Krasnoyarova, chief researcher, the Institute for Water and Environmental Problems.

The conference participants comprehensively discussed the issues concerning the negative influence of harmful industrial emissions to the environment produced by the Tajikistan Aluminum Plant during the last 35 years.

“We visited Surkhondaryo region and saw by ourselves the problems the locals face. The first action that should be done is to reduce harmful emissions. Probably, it is necessary to organize any regional forum, association on wildlife management where the interests of the states should be considered,” stressed Nikolay Monastyrev.

As a whole, during the conference and visits to Aral Sea area and Surkhondaryo region it was repeatedly noted in similar situation none can stay indifferent. It is time for decisive actions for the sake of life of future generations of the region because it directly depends on the ecology situation today.

www.sarkaritel.com


Ecological disaster Waiting to happen in Uzbekistan

 November 20, 2010

Environmental issues and ecological disasters are gradually assuming the centre stage of international security. The international community is already seized of this serious issue and initiatives being launched both at the global and regional to avert the dreadful impact it would have on mankind. If we wish to leave a safe and a healthy planet for our future generations, measures have to be taken now.

It is with the aim of spreading awareness on this issue, especially those relating to Uzbekistan, that the just concluded international conference was held. Uzbekistan has two major environmental concerns among others.

One is the drying up of the Aral Sea once considered as the fourth largest enclosed lake now reduced to a mere skeleton of its former glory. The second major concern is the aluminum plant in Tajikistan near the Uzbek border. The plant of soviet era relic is polluting four districts of Surkhondarya with disastrous impact on the flora, fauna and importantly on human beings.

Participants to the conference were taken to these main environmental sites; the Aral Sea and the districts of Surkhondarya region to assess for themselves the deep adverse impact it has had. The second day was devoted to presentation of papers and discussions of this problem. The nearly hundred delegates drawn from various countries included expert’s academies, diplomats and administrators. From the visit to the two environmentally degraded sites it was clean that.

• A collaborative and a cooperative approach is essential as these issues respect no boundaries.
• International organization such as the U.N. or the European Union should be encouraged to play a more active role. The European Union’s strategy for central Asia included environmental problems. E.U. engagement on the issue can be further activated.
• A coordination committee should be set up to monitor developments on a regular basis, so that international agencies can take appropriate action.

Prof. Nirmala Joshi
Professor (Retd.) JNU
www.sarkaritel.com


Uzbekistan pursues consistent work to solve environmental problems

November 19, 2010

International conference “Transboundary environmental problems in Central Asia: application of international legal mechanisms to solve them” was carried out in Tashkent on 16-17 November. UzA correspondents asked the opinions of some of the forum participants.

Carlos Fernandez-Jauregui, director of global network for water assessment and counseling of WASA-GN (Spain):

“Our company consults on use of water. Today, management and efficient use of water resources are one of the most urgent issues in the world.

“The actions to solve the environmental problems of the Aral Sea basin states, the use of natural water resources, including streams of Amudarya and Syrdarya, should be based on mutual consent and beneficial for everyone. Issues of joint water management in the region should be solved on the basis of international norms. National interests of all countries in Central Asia must be taken into account.”

Jean-Jacques Brian, expert on health, disability and food (France):

“Human health and life depend largely on the purity of air, water and soil, as well as products rich in natural and useful microelements. However, the Aral Sea salt dust reaches even the remotest areas, and toxic substances emitted by aluminum plant in Tajikistan destroy the natural balance in southern Uzbekistan, and all this causes serious damage to human health.

“The Aral Sea tragedy has been worrying the world for many years. Tashkent international conference is crucial for the future of the region. Improving the current situation depends primarily on solving the problem of water use. Successive measures taken by Uzbekistan to settle the environmental issues serve to improve the situation. Joint effort, interaction of all states in the region and of all countries are very important.”

Isabelle Lo, chairman of the Council on the Environment (Singapore):

“The drying of the Aral Sea as a result of reduced flow of Amudarya and Syrdarya is a striking example of how disastrous the consequences can be of irrational use of water resources. It is very distressing that along with loss of economic and ecological significance of the Aral Sea, huge salt dunes have been formed on the drying seabed.

“In order to solve on the Aral Sea crisis, ensure sustainable development and improve the living standards of the people and the environmental situation, joint action by countries of Central Asia and representatives of international organizations is required.”

Onur Orhan, expert of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (Turkey):

“International conference on transboundary environmental problems in Central Asia focused on the most urgent issue of today. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan should reach a mutual agreement on the activity of the Tajik Aluminum Company, which is one of transboundary environmental problems in Central Asia and represents a threat to human life, flora and fauna.”

www.uza.uz


Transboundary environmental problems discussed

November 18, 2010

One of the most important tasks for the whole mankind today is to preserve the environment and ensure environmental sustainability, including through effective solution of transborder issues, without which sustainable development in the 21st century is impossible.

 This was the topic of the international conference “Transboundary environmental problems in Central Asia: application of international legal mechanisms to solve them” held in Tashkent on 16-17 November.

The forum was attended by experts, scientists and environmentalists from 30 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Britain, Germany, India, Spain, Italy, Canada, China, South Korea, Netherlands, Russia, USA, Turkey, Ukraine, France, Switzerland and Japan, as well as representatives of more than 60 international organizations and financial institutions – the UN, OSCE, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Wildlife Fund, World Conservation Union and others.

The Chairman of the Board of the Central Council of the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan, Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis Boriy Alikhanov opened the conference.
The First Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Rustam Azimov read the message from the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov to the participants of the international conference.

Protection and preservation of the environment are of great importance for further progress, including food security, and in general for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially in today’s conditions of climate change, said secretary-general of the International Commission for Irrigation and Drainage M.Gopalakrishnan. He stressed that the use of water resources should not be considered only in terms of hydropower energy. In complex regions like Central Asia, use of small power stations is preferred, he said.

“The Aral Sea disaster is one of the reasons to raise the question of the expediency of building giant hydroelectric plants,” Gopalakrishnan noted.

He praised the creation of the Environmental Movement of Uzbekistan, as well as amendments to the electoral laws that made it possible for the environmentalists to occupy seats in the parliament.

According to him, to address environmental issues, especially cross-border ones, an open dialogue is required, and one good example of this approach is the current international conference in Uzbekistan.

Speaking to forum participants, head of the Ecological Movement Boriy Alikhanov drew the attention to the fact that many cross-border environmental problems in Central Asian region were a direct result of the reckless economic activity in the past.

This is primarily the consequences of the Aral Sea crisis, which are increasingly acquiring global nature, and the desire of some states of the Aral Sea basin to implement projects on construction of huge hydro structures disregarding the interests of other countries.

Another issue he raised was the activity of the Tajik Aluminum Company (TALCO), which has for over 35 years caused huge damage to the nature, health and socioeconomic development of the southern regions of Uzbekistan.

The participants emphasized that after attaining independence Uzbekistan has paid a lot of attention to environmental protection and public health, improving the ecological situation in the country and throughout the region. The country has a legal framework created in line with international standards, aimed at rational use of natural resources and protecting people’s health.

 Several state programs and national action plans are also being implemented in this area.

 Uzbekistan has ratified major UN conventions and other international documents in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development, and has been fulfilling all of its commitments.

“This work, held with active involvement of non-governmental organizations, is an integral part of a complex socioeconomic policy of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, carried out in the interests of security and human rights, including the right to dignified life in supportive environment,” said professor at New York State University (USA) Pervez Morvidge. One proof of the effectiveness of this policy is the GDP growth of 8.1 percent last year, despite the global economic crisis. Uzbekistan today sets an example for many nations in solving economic and environmental problems.

 The scholar noted that all countries should take into account the ecological interests of each other. At the same time, he drew attention to the inadmissibility of the situation when one country builds industrial plants, and the population of the neighboring states suffers from it.

Editor of the Austrian magazine “Business, Culture, Sport” Manfred Tichy said that all countries should abide by relevant UN convention on transboundary watercourses. He said that their trip to the Aral Sea showed that the unreasonable use of water resources has in a short period of time led to environmental disaster and human suffering. Rogun hydropower station is a vivid example when one country tries to implement the project that would harm another country. The 30 to 40-year-old project, born during the Soviet megalomania, which does not meet the requirements of environmental and technological safety, should not be implemented,” he said.

 The editor stressed that Austria was also a mountainous country, and the evaluation of the project has shown that in such regions it was extremely dangerous to build gigantic dams, especially since this area is seismically dangerous. He noted that mountainous countries of Europe had decided to recommend to other similar regions to construct small hydropower stations, which are much less expensive, cost-effective and most importantly safe.

Foreign experts have emphasized in their speeches that it was President of Uzbekistan who first drew the world attention to the urgency and importance of environmental issues, many of whom have already moved beyond the regional level. Among them, in particular, is the complex set of environmental, socioeconomic and demographic problems of planetary impact in the Aral Sea region.

 President Karimov, in his speeches at international high-level meetings, called on the international community to come together and adopt comprehensive measures, not only for improving the environmental situation, but also to create the enabling environment and living conditions of future generations. On the initiative of the head of Uzbekistan, Nukus and Tashkent declarations were signed, and the International Aral Sea Rescue Fund was created. At the meeting of the fund heads of states in April 2009, President of Uzbekistan put forward the concept of the third phase of the Program of Action to Assist the Aral Sea Region for 2011-2015.

The participants were able to see for themselves how serious the problems discussed at the conference were. One day before the event, a group of conference participants visited the Republic of Karakalpakstan, namely Nukus and Muinak district, and saw the disastrous consequences of the shrinking of the Aral Sea. Another group visited Sariasiya district of Surkhandarya region, whose population and economy has been affected by the negative impact of harmful emissions from the TALCO plant.

 The conference participants were struck by the consequences of human destruction of local ecosystems, causing a disastrous effect on human health, flora and fauna, leading to land degradation and creating a threat of humanitarian catastrophe. In addition, before the conference an exhibition of photographs from the zones of ecological disasters – the Aral Sea and Surkhandarya was organized.

The volume of the Aral Sea, once one of the largest inland bodies of water of the planet, has shrank 13 times, and the area more than 7 times, the water level has dropped by 26 meters, the salinity in some parts has reached 280 grams per liter. On the dried Aral seabed, a new desert with the area of more than 5 million hectares has formed. Many small lakes have also dried up.

 Annually, up to 100 million tons of saline dust rises into the atmosphere from here. More than half of the gene pool of flora and fauna in the Aral Sea region has been lost, and many species are listed in the Red Book as endangered. These negative processes are accompanied by loss of land resources, worsening living conditions, and difficult socioeconomic development of the Aral Sea area.

The Regional Advisor on Environment of the European Economic Commission Bo Libert said that all of this was a consequence of past approaches to economic development through the uncontrolled consumption of natural resources. He noted that any activity in the sphere of nature use must be based on the principles of preventing harm to the population, ecology and environmental management.

 According to the expert, Uzbekistan today demonstrates the effectiveness of the complex solution of development issues, and actively participates in the implementation of UN conventions on environmental issues. Many international organizations, including the World Bank, are collaborating on this area with Uzbekistan, carrying out large joint projects, including those on water resources management.

At the conference, it was noted that a very complex ecological situation was being observed in the border areas of Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan with Tajikistan, from where the winds, ground and surface waters distribute hundreds of tons of pollutants emitted by TALCO. The most dangerous to human health, flora and fauna are components of its emissions like hydrogen fluoride, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide.

 The damage to the environment and health of the population of the southern regions of Uzbekistan has been estimated in hundreds of millions of dollars. Back in 1994, an Uzbek-Tajik intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in improving the environmental situation in the area of the negative effects of the Tajik Aluminum Plant was signed. However, many of the planned activities were not implemented, the technologies applied at the plant have outdated, and a number of cleaning plants are not operating. Despite this, the plant plans to expand production, which means increase in toxic emissions – according to preliminary estimates from 21,700 to 32,000 tons per year.

In the view of the international experts, projects of construction of new giant hydro stations upstream of transboundary rivers Amu Darya and Syr Darya, primarily Rogun HPS, pose the risk of destruction of the already fragile ecological balance in Central Asia. They emphasized that the desire of some countries to exploit cross-border water resources in violation of international norms, without consideration of interests of other states in the region, was causing great anxiety.

 As international experience and research results show, possible consequences of such construction are extremely dangerous. Such actions may not only deepen the ecological crisis in the Aral Sea area, but also lead to technological and humanitarian disasters, making vast areas uninhabitable for millions of people.

In this regard, executive director of the US Banks Information Center Chad Dobson drew the attention of the conference participants to the fact that large-scale hydropower projects should be implemented for the benefit of the entire population of the region, for their prosperity, and not for one country or individual production, which is also environmentally harmful. International financial institutions sometimes substitute the concepts.

 Power generation facilities should primarily be used not to build new environmentally unsafe aluminum industries, but to address the immediate needs of the population, including stable supply of electricity, he said. According to Chad Dobson, the World Bank and other financial institutions should cooperate with civil society, listen to their opinion, and make decisions only after the majority of the population supports such projects. All interested parties should be able to participate in making decisions about the construction of these hydro stations. The expert expressed his belief in the need for extensive public consultations on these issues to ensure the transparency of all procedures.

Hydropower projects planned to be implemented now have long been outdated, they do not take into account the high seismicity of the zone of the construction, which is up to 9 on the Richter scale, as well as landslide and mudflow processes occurring here. For the last 110 years, more than 20 strong earthquakes have been registered here. In world practice, there are no precedents of construction of giant hydropower stations in such areas. Rogun HPS project in Tajikistan envisages raising the dam with the height of 335 meters, which has no analogues in the world.

 In the case of its destruction, the height of the wave at the initial point will exceed 250 meters, and at 1,500 kilometers from Rogun, in Karakalpakstan, the wave will reach 6-7 meters in height. Areas up to 1.5 million hectares will be flooded, including over 700 settlements on the territory of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, where about 5 million people live.

Even with the most favorable conditions, the work of the Rogun HPS in the planned energy regime would lead to sharp deterioration of living conditions of millions of people in the lower reaches of the Amu Darya. The salinity of water in the river will double, and its flow during the growing season will be significantly reduced. Direct losses of crop production, and related processing industries and fish resources are estimated at almost USD 20.6 billion over five years.

In this regard, the conference participants emphasized that there were alternative options for obtaining the same amount of electricity like Rogun would provide by building small hydropower stations, which is much cheaper and does not create the above mentioned threats. President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, in his speech on 20 September at the UN Summit on Millennium Development Goals, highlighted much greater rationality of such approach to the development of hydropower sector.

 The head of the state has repeatedly drawn the attention to the fact that any construction projects on transborder rivers should be conducted only on the basis of international expertise, which should ensure that the volume and flow regimes of the rivers is not violated, and the ecological situation in the region does not deteriorate.

The conference concluded that all regional states should strictly abide by international norms acting in this sphere. In accordance with the UN Conventions on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, and on Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, the Helsinki Rules of Using the Waters of International Rivers, the Geneva Convention on the Impact of Hydropower Production to Other States and other international documents, coordination of construction and conditions of operation of hydropower facilities with all countries located in transboundary river basins should be mandatory.

During the conference, thematic sessions were held, which discussed the problem of transboundary pollution in Central Asia, improvement of cross-border cooperation through integrated water resources management, children’s health, conservation of biodiversity in ecologically disadvantaged regions, climate change in the Aral Sea region, influence of large industrial enterprises on the environment and other pressing environmental issues.

On the results of the conference, the Tashkent Environmental Declaration was adopted. It notes that regional states should strive for cross-border cooperation, in accordance with the key international documents defining basic principles of management of transboundary rivers, to prevent harm to other states of these rivers’ basin. It recommends to precede the construction of any large hydropower station in the upper reaches of transboundary rivers in Central Asia with an independent international technical and environmental audit, conducted in a transparent manner for the benefit of the population of all states in the region.

The declaration also notes that international financial institutions and organizations should contribute to environmental sustainability in the region, including through collaboration and open dialogue with civil society in all countries in the zone of impact of proposed projects.

 The document stresses that in accordance with recommendations of international environmental organizations, it would be more rational to commence construction of safer and more fuel-efficient small power plants, as well as to expand the use of environmentally friendly renewable energy sources, including solar and wind power. The conference participants also recommended to take necessary measures to ensure that the level of emissions from the aluminum enterprise is within international norms.

The Declaration identified the major environmental problems in Central Asia. These are avoiding artificial reduction of the volume and flow regime of transboundary rivers, implementation of measures to curb the spread of desertification and soil salinization in the zone of ecological disaster and to create conditions for increasing employment and income growth in this area through the development of small businesses, primarily industrial and low water consuming agricultural productions, as well as services sector.

The participants called on the governments and international organizations to join efforts in addressing transboundary environmental problems and reducing environmental threats. They stated that international environmental organizations should support the Environmental Movement of Uzbekistan in its efforts to protect the environment.

All of this should ensure a more balanced way to solve the problem of transboundary natural resources, and harmonize the socioeconomic and environmental development across the region.

Nobody has the right to cover their needs at the expense of others and nature, which should be preserved for future generations, the conference said.

www.uza.uz


Projects of Gigantic Hydropower Plants in the Central Asian Region Threaten the Security of Millions of People

March 05, 2010

Construction projects of gigantic hydropower facilities in Central Asia are a great concern for all those who objectively review the possible consequences of their hasty implementation. Uzbekistan fundamentally and consistently calls for the need of an independent international assessment of such projects’ impact on environmental and water balance in the region, as well as threats of anthropogenic disasters.

Today this view is shared by many independent experts in various countries. For example, the article “Epos rather than reality: the fate of the mega hydropower plant in Central Asia remains unclear…” written by the director of the Bishkek branch of the Institute for CIS Countries, doctor of historical sciences, professor, member of Russian Geographical Society, Aleksandr Knyazev, and published in several online news agencies, gives an unbiased, deep and thorough evaluation of the problem.

It is an impartial opinion of the author, who could not be suspected of lobbing anyone’s interest.

He notes that the water basin of Amudaryo and Syrdaryo rivers constitutes a single organism providing water supply and well-being in Central Asia. He underscores that the interests of Uzbekistan in the use of transboundary rivers of Syrdaryo and Amudaryo are not just ignored in the upper reaches. “The fact that Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are already running construction of hydrotechnical facilities allows us to speak about large-scale threats to security, first of all for Uzbekistan, as well as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan,” Aleksandr Knyazev writes.

At the same time, the expert draws attention to the fact that “there are strict international regulations that govern the construction of such facilities which are ignored in the upper reaches of rivers. However, neither Kyrgyzstan nor Tajikistan are signatories of all international conventions associated with this issue, particularly the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Helsinki, March 17, 1992), which Russia adheres to since October 1996, the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (New York, May 21, 1997) and many others. However, because of purely selfish understanding of their own national interests, the two republics, got stuck on hydropower plant projects as a certain cure to save their economies, and stubbornly insist on the implementation of these plans using semi-primitive methods, due to scarce and mostly borrowed budgets and in endless search for a foreign investor.

He also recognizes the absurdity of the allegations that the country in whose territory the transboundary waters are formed may dispose it at their discretion, and the invalidity of debates about which of them are internal, and which are not.

“If we proceed from the fact that the rivers Narin-Syrdaryo and Amudaryo with their inseparable feeder Vakhsh are transboundary watercourses (it can be easily seen on a map), then Kyrgyzstan simply does not have the right to build Kambarata hydropower stations without permission from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Tajikistan has no right to build a hydroelectric power station on the transboundary river without the consent of not only Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, but also Turkmenistan which is located downstream. It does not matter how many times we say that Vakhsh is an internal river, it still is one of the main feeders of Amudaryo, so in this case all the international principles on the use of transboundary rivers must be applied,” pointed out Aleksandr Knyazev.

The author clearly declares that “the current situation with Rogun hydropower plant can be easily compared with the Kyrgyz Kambarata-2, which Kyrgyzstan is also building on their own. Both of these projects are finally crimes directed against their own people, and neighboring countries. The quality of this construction clearly does not meet the necessary requirements – a dam for Kambarata-2 that is being built can serve as an example of that. After unique, in general blasting works in December last year for the transfer of soil, Kyrgyz builders did not achieved the necessary results. Not to mention the fact that the created ground obstruction did not reach the design height, irregularities in the blasting operations resulted in a large number of voids, which are now being primitively covered: by raking up and pouring ground from outside. The safety of such facility is quite arguable.”

He noted the challenge of ensuring the safe operation of existing hydropower facilities repeatedly raised by experts: “It would be far more efficient to put in order Tajikistan’s Nurek and Kyrgyzstan’s Toktogul hydropower stations and their reservoirs inherited from the USSR. In both cases, the small accumulation of water is connected, along with objective reasons, with the fact that throughout the post-Soviet time, no one has been seriously engaged in preventive work, upgrading of these stations, siltation of reservoirs exceeds all permissible limits. The recent accident at Nurek hydropower plant brought no serious consequences, but it is a quite serious signal both to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

In the context of all these issues Knyazev declares: “Therefore we must reach agreement. Otherwise – nothing prevents Uzbekistan from blocking Rogun, Kambarata, whether any of them will be built, even if it will require military intervention. And the leadership of Uzbekistan would probably be right, since it will be ensuring the safety of not only ten million of its own population, but also the safety of the population of the three regions of Kyrgyzstan (Osh, Jalalabad and Batken), and one of Tajikistan (Soghd) located in the Kambarata projects’ zone, the Farg’ona Valley.”

“We can only be sure about the fact that the construction of new dams on the background of reductions in water and its growing deficits, its use for energy purposes, without serious consideration can lead to extremely negative consequences for the water balance and sustainable development,” writes Aleksandr Knyazev.
The expert agrees with Uzbekistan’s demands to comply with the requirements of the country’s interests and security of its population.

“Each country has its own national interests, so the only solution is to find a compromise, each side must make concessions. And the behavior of Uzbekistan can not be called aggressive, more likely – extremely worried. The leadership of Uzbekistan is absolutely right, if it is already thinking about the possibility of applying the most serious action against Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan the interests of Uzbekistan will not be taken into account in these projects. And the emotionally discussed height of the dams and their character is not that important, but the quality of dams, scientific approach in defining the potential volume of reservoirs, everything associated with the margin of safety, security – these are all to be the most important things.”

The author cites his Russian colleagues who acknowledge such facts as “unfounded, illiterate use of energy resources, inefficiency and backwardness of the technologies, lack of qualified engineers and skilled workers.”

And, finally, the last argument of the initiators of construction of large-scale hydropower facilities is huge economic benefits that allegedly can be obtained as a result of their construction and operation are estimated by the scientist with great skepticism.

“…The big question is also the economic feasibility of the projects,” he writes, analyzing the calculations of highly questionable payback for these projects.

At the same time he concludes that for the population it would be much more efficient, economically profitable and safer to build a network of small hydropower stations in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Speaking of potential external participants of these projects, the author warns: “We all remember how a few years ago, the Chinese side quickly shut down the Zarafshan hydropower plant construction project in Tajikistan – identical to those inRogun and Kambarata, but with smaller-scale, realizing the possible conflict with Uzbekistan, a key country in the region. The recent proposals of the Kyrgyz side to participate in the hydropower projects were treated with barely hidden skepticism by China.

In this regard, he also notes: “Naturally, Russia’s hydropower activities abroad should not be a source of regional conflict that, in relation to projects in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, seems quite real.”

The published article is not always straightforward. Not all the proposals and conclusions of the scientist can be agree on, for example, in the part concerning the establishing water and energy consortium. But fundamentally important is that Knyazev is aware of the seriousness of the problem, recognizes the validity of the anxiety, Uzbekistan’s concern about the potential of large-scale threats to safety of millions of people living in the region.

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