In the first half of 2016 commercial banks of Uzbekistan on the basis of the priority economic tasks implemented extensive measures to commissioning of the major high-tech and modern facilities and capacities, modernization, technical and technological renewal of production in the industrial sector.
In particular, during the reporting period the total amount of credits channeled towards the real sector of the economy increased by 26.2% compared to the same period last year, and today, their volume exceeds more than 48 trillion soums (currency rates of CB RU from 19.07.2016, 1$= 2958.87 soums).
The volume of investment credits, compared with the same period last year increased by more than 1.2 times and as of July 1, 2016 amounted to 5.8 trillion soums.
These figures were presented at the expanded meeting of the Board of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the results of the banking system in the first half of 2016.
The I International Fruit and Vegetable Fair ended at the UzExpoCentre in Tashkent.
The fair, held in accordance with the resolution of the President of our country Islam Karimov “On measures on organization and holding annual International Fruit and Vegetable Fair” from June 1, 2016, was organized by the ministries of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Agriculture and Water Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the holding company “Uzbekozikovkatholding”, the Association “Uzbekozikovkatzahira”, specialized foreign trade company “Uzagroeksport”.
According to the holding company “Uzbekozikovkatholding” during the fair were signed and concluded 270 contracts for the export of fruit and vegetable products valued at over 2 billion dollars. The vegetables will account for 27 percent of export products, grapes – 25%, fruits – 20%, dried and processed products – 17.6%, legumes – 8.4%, melons – 2%. Fair is over, but the signing of the contracts is ongoing.
The participants of the scientific-practical conference “The superiority of fruits and vegetables in Uzbekistan” conducted in the framework of the I International Fruit and Vegetable Fair, got acquainted with the climatic conditions, high consumer qualities of vegetables and gourds cultivated in Uzbekistan, the results of ongoing work in the field of modernization and diversification. The conference provided an opportunity to discuss and exchange views and experiences on the implementation and introduction of cost-effective technologies in the cultivation of fruit and vegetable and melon production, improvement of the system of processing and export of fruits and vegetables, products protection from diseases and pests, breeding and seed production, the use of water-saving technologies.
The agrarian sector of Uzbekistan is dynamically developed. Currently, this sector of the economy of our country makes a significant contribution to the country’s gross domestic product and has a considerable share in exports. All of this – the result of wide-ranging economic reforms implemented under the leadership of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. During the reorganization of economic industries, including fruit and vegetable sector and related processing industries, diversification and modernization, technical and technological renovation of production – great transformations in this sector were carried out.
Departments of fresh and dried fruits, citrus, vegetables, melons, legumes, nuts, spices, beverages, packaging technology, refrigeration, transport and logistics operated at the international fair. Production of fruit and vegetable sector of Uzbekistan has been widely represented in the exhibition of more than 170 companies from all regions of our country. They have demonstrated a wide range of fruits and vegetable products, and offered their services. The presentations of potential of the regions in the fruit and vegetable sector also were conducted.
Participation in the I International Fruit and Vegetable Fair of more than 300 business representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Japan, Italy, France, Malaysia, India, Russia, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and other countries once again illustrated the interest of foreign manufacturers and trading companies in cooperation with Uzbekistan.
According to the foreign participants, such effective cooperation is developed through favorable investment and business environment established in our country. Foreign investors and partners, working along with other sectors, in the agricultural sector, have been provided tax and customs benefits, other preferences that creates favorable conditions for the successful business managing in our country.
Participation of the many domestic manufacturers in the fair allowed to expand the scope of their partners. According to experts, the holding of International Fruit and Vegetable Fair creates for producers in Uzbekistan a good opportunity to establish direct business relations with foreign partners and increase the supply of our products to the world market.
In the framework of the event, participants visited the enterprises, farms, orchards in Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khorezm, Jizzakh and other regions and familiarized with the results of reforms for the development of agriculture, the cultivation process of fruits and vegetables, a system of high-quality storage and packaging, preparation for export.
In short, this fair, initiated by the President of our country, contributes to the negotiation and the signing of contracts between entrepreneurs of our country and foreign partners, exchange of experiences, enhance the perspectives of cooperation, attract foreign investment, improve the export potential of Uzbekistan.
The International Festival “Magic of Dance” began in the Ichan Kala State Museum Reserve in Khiva.
At the festival, organized jointly by the Ministry of Culture and Sport Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the National Company “Uzbektourism”, Khorezm regional khokimiyat (administration) and other organizations, it was noted that great attention, which is paid under the leadership of the President of our country to the development of culture, art and folk dance yields tangible results. The International Festival “Magic of Dance” is aimed at promoting national traditions and values of our people.
The festival was attended by dance collectives and ensembles from different regions of our country, a number of foreign artists.
As part of the festival, will be held photo exhibition “History of Dance Art of Uzbekistan”, master-classes, meetings, theatrical performances, exhibition of national clothes, national dishes competition and other events.
Today, environmental problems stand in line with the most pressing challenges, determining the level of well-being of the entire world civilization.
Climate change, air pollution, water scarcity, irrational use of water, biodiversity loss, soil degradation and waste disposal problem pose a tough challenge for humanity.
Violation of environmental postulates entails problems and disasters, the tragic consequences of which fail to be eliminated for decades. It would be appropriate to recall the prediction of the great scholar Abu Rayhon Beruni, who warned a thousand years ago: “If people commit violence against nature, in flagrant violation of its laws, the day will come when it will bring unimaginable calamities down on their heads, and they will not be able to stop any power.”
The truth of these words is evidenced by the severe consequences of the Aral Sea ecological disaster: extinction of certain species of flora and fauna, degradation of water and land resources, sprawling threat of desertification. Today, this catastrophe has outgrown the boundaries of the region. It has turned global, requiring close attention of international organizations, politicians, researchers and experts.
In the context of global environmental change, environmental protection is deemed a global challenge. Its relevance can hardly be overestimated. As repeatedly noted by the President of Uzbekistan, the international community has long recognized the sanctity and inviolability of human rights not only to life, but also to decent environmental conditions for the full and healthy life.
Uzbekistan has been attaching importance to environmental protection since the very dawn of its independence, as evidenced by the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan on December 8, 1992, and the environmental protection law the next day. Today, more than 30 laws and regulations address environmental issues, building the environmental pillar for sustainable development of economy sectors. The MP group of the Ecological Movement in the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis is working on nine related bills.
Effective work on rational use of natural resources and reduction of harmful emissions into the atmosphere through the modernization of the economy has been carried out on the national scale. The measures on the further development of the chemical, energy, construction and other industries, which stipulate the reduction of the environmental impact, have helped to twice decrease pollutant emissions into the atmosphere and waste dumps.
As part of fulfillment of commitments under the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and implementation of the national program to halt the use of ozone-depleting substances, their total consumption was reduced by 99.85%.
Uzbekistan has done much in recent years to diversify agricultural production. The reconstruction and building of drainage facilities, restoration of main canals, sewers, drainage networks, pumping stations, introduction of drip irrigation systems has been underway. Successive measures helped to ameliorate lands. An effective microorganism technology (EM technology) has been an advanced alternative to pesticides. It ensures the cultivation of agricultural products without the use of mineral fertilizers and chemicals.
In the process of building an effective system and legal mechanism of environmental protection, Uzbekistan has been focusing on the development of the energy industry, modernization of its facilities and energy-saving technologies, as well as on the reduction of losses in electricity transmission. A program on introduction and practical use of alternative energy sources was approved at the government level. Today, the use of renewable energy sources in remote and hard-to-reach areas is fairly competitive with conventional energy sources. The implementation of the greening program through the development of renewable energy sources might ensure the reduction of hydrocarbon share in total energy production up to 50% by 2050.
Uzbekistan has been taking every measure to rank among the leading countries in alternative energy development. The large-scale application of renewable energy ranks among the pivotal priorities in Uzbekistan on the transition of its economy to innovations and clean technologies. According to experts, the existing technologies allow obtaining energy equivalent to 179 million tons of oil, which exceeds the amount of the current fuel production by three times, as well as preventing pollutant emissions.
Uzbekistan has enacted a considerable number of solar photovoltaic plants and wind and solar power plants of low power, solar hot water systems. For example, the Bukhara region commissioned the CIS first 1.2 MW mobile autonomous solar power plant, which is capable of providing stable electricity supply to a small town with a few thousand residents. A 130 kW photovoltaic power plant was launched in the Pap district of Namangan region. A pilot project on the construction of 100 MW solar photovoltaic power plant is currently underway in Samarkand region in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank.
Uzbekistan built a technological platform for the production and maintenance of renewable energy equipment. Currently, about 50 business entities own technologies for RES production.
“The renewable energy issues have shifted from the field of scientific research and experimental development to practical application, and solar power and other renewable energy sources should become fully competitive and the cleanest ways of energy generatation,” said at the forum the Deputy Speaker of the lower house of parliament, Head of Ecology Movement Boriy Alikhanov.
Biodiversity is seen as the basis of life and a foundation for all the key services that are provided by the ecosystem. It underlies economic, social, cultural, scientific and educational activities. In Uzbekistan, it is associated with a whole range of areas like irrigated agriculture and animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries, tourism and others.
The unique location of the country in the heart of Central Asian region at the junction of several biogeographical regions has largely defined the richness of its landscape and biological diversity. The relief of Uzbekistan includes 22 varieties of geological systems – 10 flat and 12 mountain systems. Vast plains of sandy and rocky deserts, subalpine and alpine meadows, riparian thickets, the Tian Shan peaks and the Pamir-Alai ridges with foothills and steppes, unique walnut and gallery forests, as well as mountain gems – juniper forests, which create a unique natural and climatic zone, mountain rivers and lakes, draw a unique mosaic of ecological systems.
The landscape diversity determined the wealth of flora and fauna. The biodiversity is represented by over 14,900 species of invertebrates and 714 vertebrates. Of these, 8.5%, or 53 species and subspecies of terrestrial vertebrates are endemic to Uzbekistan and Central Asia. They are the species that are found on a limited area. For example, the Severtsov’s mountain sheep is found only in the Nurota Reserve. Most of the population of Bukhara Deer – hangul, which is popularly referred to as a Noble Deer, inhabits Uzbekistan.
The country’s flora is represented by 4,600 plant species, more than 3,000 of which are wild. Moreover, nearly 9% of them are endemic species that are found only on the territory of Uzbekistan. Tulips, eremurus, astragalus, and many others rank among the endemic species of particular attention.
Endemic species of animals and plants in Uzbekistan have surprisingly linked the past and the present: the majority of them belong to relict species. They survived after drying of residual seas of the legendary ancient Tethys Ocean, and adapted to the Central Asian desert climate.
Extant relics or species of ancient origin are most often found in the Pamir-Alai mountains and in the western Tian Shan.
The flora of Uzbekistan is rich in ancestors and wild relatives of plants, which are presently widely cultivated by humans and are of particular value in agriculture. They are important for the creation of new and improvement of existing economically important crops. They are walnuts, ordinary and Bukhara almonds, date plum, pomegranate, Turkmen pear, Sivers apple, jujube, pistachio and others, which concentrate mainly in the mountainous regions.
The diversity of flora and fauna of Uzbekistan with a large number of endemic species of truly global significance, migration routes of the Red Book animals, the availability of the water bodies, which provide home, rest and wintering for migratory birds, including rare species of avifauna, have determined the internationally important role of Uzbekistan in the preservation of the world’s biological diversity.
The Ecology Movement of Uzbekistan initiated the development of laws on the protection and use of flora and fauna, which were edited and newly adopted by the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis in the first reading.
Protected Natural Territories (PNT) are the custodians of natural ecosystems. The independence has posed a need to revise the existing PNT system and bring it in line with international standards. The total area of all protected areas makes up 8% of the country’s territory, including eight nature reserves, two natural and one national park, three natural nurseries. Moreover, after gaining independence, Uzbekistan established 13 nature reserves with a total area of about 1.5 million hectares, 10 natural monuments with a total area of 3,681 hectares and a new type of PNT for the republic – the Lower Amu Darya Biosphere Reserve. There are two nurseries for preservation and reproduction of avifauna representatives – houbara bustard reserve in Bukhara and Navoi regions, the Conservation Center of Bukhara Deer in Zarafshan Reserve, and the Durmen National Park.
Certain areas of the country have been included in the international list of wetlands of the Ramsar Convention, and are essential for representatives of the avifauna habitat. Over 50 bird areas of the country have been registered in an inventory and described.
Based on research, experts and specialists of national and international projects developed a Program of PNT Development Network by 2023. It provides for the extension of their areas by 7 million hectares, to thereby make up 17% of the total area of the country. The indicator corresponds to the international requirements.
Eco-tourism has been remarkably developing in recent years across the country. Exotic nature with its striking contrasts, diverse landscapes, the variety of flora and fauna attract many foreign tourists.
The Sarmysh Gorge in Navoi region with its unique gallery of 10,000 ancient rock carvings – petroglyphs, is highly promising in terms of ecotourism. They represent an archive of original documents relating to the life, history and culture of our ancient ancestors who inhabited these places 5,000 -7,000 years ago.
Favorable weather conditions throughout the year have been promoting the eco-tourism development. The territories of Karakalpakstan, Samarkand, Bukhara, Navoi, Kashkadarya and other regions, distinguished by mountains, numerous caves, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls might be mass eco-tourism centers. Many of them have a long geological history. In summer, temperatures in the mountains are 5-10 Celsius degrees lower than in the valleys, and the relatively warm winter is characterized by high snow cover, which allows using medium- and high-altitude areas for skiing and hiking, climbing and mountaineering.
Unique desert landscapes, botanical, geological and hydrogeological fecilities suggest opportunities for skiing, horse riding, water trips, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
Many foreign ecologists take interest in coastal zone of the Aral Sea to get firsthand acquainted with the scale of the tragedy. Ecotourism might play a crucial role in this context. The spread of the desert at the site of the dried seabed, degraded riparian forests and reed beds in the lower reaches of Amu Darya and Syrdarya attract both researchers and tourists.
They express interest in natural monuments like the exotic salt-marsh of Barsa Kelmes, which occupies a huge cavity in the middle of the Ustyurt desert with more than a two meter salt layer, and the lake system in the Aral Sea region. Ecotourists will also open here the phenomenon of the ancient irrigation lands, which were abandoned by ancient and medieval irrigators, and which evidence of environmental problems in the past.
The active development of eco-tourism promises a sustainable use of natural resources, enhancement of environmental culture of visitors, saving costs for environmental measures, support for regional economy, involvement of local communities in tourism development, creation of new jobs and financial benefits from these activities. Therefore, the government approved a development program for this field for Khorezm, Surkhandarya, Tashkent and Kashkadarya regions in 2013, which envisages channeling of more than $260 million. The elaboration of the ecotourism development program in Uzbekistan for 2016-2018 is currently in progress.
According to experts and environmental organizations, including international ones, the environmental quality in certain endangered areas of the country has been getting improved as a result of environmental policy and ongoing environmental protection measures.
The independent Uzbekistan can rightly be proud of the work done in the environmental protection. The measures under socio-economic reforms have been producing certain results in terms of harmonious interaction of nature and society, preservation and reproduction of the existing ecological communities and natural resources for the sake of current and future generations.
The noble and highly relevant work on drawing the attention of the society to environmental problems of the environment and changing human attitude to natural resources is underway. It will be effective if everyone loves nature not only with his heart, but also with his mind.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
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