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Important Visa Information for Indian Citizens Travelling to Uzbekistan

August 4, 2015


uzbek_digesteconomy.. 2

Uzbekistan produces construction materials for 2.11 trln. soums in 1H.. 2

investments. 2

Uzbekistan uses foreign investments and loans for US$1.5bn in 1H.. 2

Business climate.. 3

The Government approves the criteria for assessing the performance of JS companies with state shares  3


SamAuto presents first sample of bus with CNG engine. 3

International Relations. 4

Press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan. 4


Vocation in Line with the Country’s Needs. 12

sport.. 15

Denis Istomin wins the doubles tournament Swiss Open Gstaad. 15




Uzbekistan produces construction materials for 2.11 trln. soums in 1H

Enterprises of construction materials of Uzbekistan manufactured products for 2.11 trillion soums in the first six months of 2015, which rose by 11.3% year-on-year (currency rates of CB RU from 04.08.2015    1$= 2580.19 soums).

The share of industry in total industrial production of Uzbekistan was 5.2%, the State Statistics Committee of Uzbekistan.

The enterprises of the industry increased production of such products as gravel (+ 8.6%), sand (+ 9.8%), Portland cement (+ 12.6%), marble, travertine, alabaster and their products (+ 33.5%).

Production of gypsum (+ 7.7%), lime (+ 34.9%), concrete (2.8 times), building mixtures and mixes (3.6 times) also increased. At the same time, the industry also increased production of non-refractory roof tiles (+ 5.6%), non-refractory ceramic building bricks (+ 15.9%), products of fiber cement (+ 17.7%), doors, windows and frames from aluminum (+ 55.5%).



Uzbekistan uses foreign investments and loans for US$1.5bn in 1H

Uzbekistan used foreign investments and loans for US$1.5 billion in January-June 2015, which grew by 11% compared to the same period of 2015, a publication of the Ministry of Economy and State Statistics Committee of Uzbekistan said. According to the material, total volume of used investments in Uzbekistan exceeded 18 trillion soums in the first half of 2015, which grew by 9.8% year-on-year (currency rates of CB RU from 04.08.2015    1$= 2580.19 soums).

The growth of investments along with further development material-technical base of special construction organizations helped to increase volume of construction works by 18%.

About US$1.5 billion or 21.3% from total used investments were foreign investments and loans, which grew by 11%. The volume of foreign direct investments from them was US$1.2 billion (+10.9%).

The volume of used resources of the Fund for Reconstruction and Development, directed to implementation of large investment projects in strategic industries of economy, in the first half of 2015 made up US$225 million, which rose by 5.6% year-on-year. Largest volume of used investments in the reporting period fell to share of own resources of businesses (32.3% from total volumes), which grew by 31.8% year-on-year and reflects active realization of industrial programmes of diversification and increasing competitiveness of production, as well as territorial programmes of social-economic development of the regions.

Within the investment programme, realization of 63 projects for US$160.9 million was completed in the first six months of 2015.

Five projects with total cost of US$16.1 million were completed in special industrial zones, including projects on production of sewing machines, automobile brake pads, metal products and metal structures, polypropylene pipes, fittings, valves and accessories in the territory of special industrial zone Jizzakh and the release of antibacterial and antiviral medicaments in the territory of Free industrial and economic zone Navoi.

Overall, 1,866 production capacities have been launched in Uzbekistan in January-June 2015, which created over 24,800 new jobs.

Largest number of projects was realized in industry of construction materials (666 projects), food industry (461 projects), textile and sewing industry (337 projects), furniture (169), chemical and petrochemical industries (149).


Business climate

The Government approves the criteria for assessing the performance of JS companies with state shares

On July 28, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the Resolution on the criterias for assessing the performance of joint stock companies and other business entities with the state share.

The Document defines recommendations on criterias for evaluating the effectiveness of the organizations in which economic management institutions are the founders (shareholders, participants).

Decree establishes the procedure, under which the state-owned enterprises, as well as the unitary enterprises founded by the organs of economic management, each year before December 1 should approve business plan of the organization for the next year, with quarterly hearing of the reports of the executive body during its execution.

This Decree will enter into force on January 1 2016.



SamAuto presents first sample of bus with CNG engine

Samarkand Automobile Plant (SamAuto) presented the first bus with the engine working on compressed natural gas (CNG), meeting requirements of ecologic standard Euro-4.

The presentation of the bus was held within the official visit of the delegation of ISUZU Motors led by its chairperson Susumu Hosio to Uzbekistan.

SamAuto at the support of the ISUZU Motors adopted decision to develop a passenger bus with CNG engine, taking into account ecological compatibility and economic profit of the automobiles with CNG engines, as well as high demand to such products.

Currently, the majority of buses with diesel engine were re-equipped to gas fuel or gas diesel, but they were re-equipped by the third organizations and have no guarantee maintenance from SamAuto dealer centers.

The sample of bus with CNG engine was highly rated by representatives of ISUZU Motors and Itochu Corporation and meets high ecologic standard Euro-4. This bus will allow local production of buses to new level.

In line with the Governmental decision, production of commercial automobiles with CNG engine was started in 2011 within the joint project of ISUZU and SamAuto. In 2013, the company started to sell trucks with gas engine in 2013 and a year later the plant received an order for production and supply of special automobiles with CNG engine.

SamAuto and ISUZU Motors have been cooperating efficiently as the Uzbek car-maker increases production of automobiles each year. In February 2015, the plant produced its 20,000 automobile.

As reported earlier, on 29 July 2015, ISUZU Motors Ltd signed an agreement with Uzavtosanoat on purchase of 8% stake in SamAuto and the Japanese company became one of the founders of the car-maker.


International Relations

Press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan

On July 22, 2015 Minister of Energy and Water Resources of the Republic of Tajikistan Usmonali Usmonzoda stated that the Republic of Uzbekistan does not have any objections to the assessment studies of the Rogun Hydropower Project carried out by the international experts.

Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan informs that the Uzbek side announced its principle position at the meeting of the representatives of Central Asian countries’ governments to review the World Bank’s draft report «Key Issues for Consideration on the proposed Rogun Hydropower Project» and the matters of using transboundary water resources, held in Almaty on July 14-18, 2014.

Following is the text of the statement made by the head of the Uzbek delegation on the inconsistency of the expert assessments of the Rogun Hydropower Project with generally accepted international standards.

Statement by the Head of the delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan at the meeting of the representatives of Central Asian countries’ governments to review the World Bank’s draft report «Key Issues for Consideration on the proposed Rogun Hydropower Project» and the matters of using transboundary water resources
(July 18, 2014, Almaty)

  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’ estimation of 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 Amudarya river. 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 Amudarya river 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, have concluded 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 naturally validated 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 Bank actions. 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.

(Source: Press Service of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan)


Vocation in Line with the Country’s Needs

Very soon students will start a new life. The vocational colleges and academic lyceums are currently summarizing the results of enrollment of ninth graders in the first course. The entrance exams to universities will traditionally take place on August 1. Educational institutions will continue streamlining targeted staff training for economy sectors as one of their key missions.


Having embarked on the way of market reforms, Uzbekistan needed to drastically restructure the personnel training system. With many accomplishments under the belt, Uzbekistan now ranks among the few states that are building a unique environment in the labor market with qualified professionals. Colleges, lyceums, institutes, and universities train specialists in line with estimated forecasts, and also act as career counseling centers.

At the current stage, all ninth-grade graduates are enrolled at secondary special educational institutions. There are 483,216 of them this year: 450,661 young people will continue their education in vocational colleges, while others have opted for academic lyceums.

Each graduate of the ninth grade in Uzbekistan has the right to choose the institution to continue his or her education in line with their aptitudes and aspirations. Career guidance services at schools help young people to make a choice in the variety of specialties and professions at 1,412 colleges and their 30 branches, as well as areas of education in 144 academic lyceums. A willing of a young person is enough to continue his education in a particular institution. However, there is an exception to the rule – offering popular professions and specialties, certain educational institutions have more applicants than they can admit. This year, 114 institutions have faced such a challenge, so they had to conduct test trials for entrants. However, no one stays behind: the lower-ranked continue their study at another school of their choice.

The number of such situations has been decreasing with the streamlined activity of vocational guidance services. Last year, the service covered more than 100,000 students, and this year – slightly more than 89,000, or 11,000 people less.

Another trend shows an increasing number of applicants at higher educational institutions. Last year, the universities received more than 480,000 applications, which imply 9.6 persons per seat, while this year has beaten the last year’s records – 605,836 applications, an average of 10.45 persons per seat. The case is about 58 higher educational institutions and 15 regional branches, which hold the entrance test annually on August 1.

Besides, Uzbekistan has branches of six foreign higher educational institutions. The number of their applicants has been growing steadily.

Personnel training in line with the needs of economy sectors ranks among the relevant problems of vocational training. Today, the country needs skilled manpower for the manufacturing, construction, transport, and services. These fields are currently facing broad changes in staff training.

The targeted staff training has been significantly streamlined in recent years. Along with the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education, this work involves the Ministry of Economy and big industrial associations, enterprises and municipalities. The admission quotas are determined with an eye to the prospects of development of economic sectors, and maintained by the effective mechanism for controlling the staff training flow. This avoids the imbalances between the graduates and the real needs of the economy, and ensures employment for young specialists.


Graduates of vocational colleges master two or three professions in close tandem ‘college – enterprise’. Nevertheless, some young men and girls choose a different specialty upon graduation. Such cases are especially numerous in Surkhandarya, Syrdarya, Jizzah regions and Karakalpakstan.

This year, ministries and agencies, corporations and associations have repeatedly critically analyzed the balance calculations of creation of new jobs in each region, city, town and district in 2018 as part of defining admission quotas in the context of occupations and professions. They took into account the needs of operating economic entities, including those who are actively involved in the expansion of production, technical and technological extension of production, as well as scheduled production capacities and programs of socio-economic development in the regions.

The adjustment of admission quotas in the context of professions and occupations in the system of secondary special and vocational education is not the only way to respond to the rapidly changing needs of the labor market in specialists. If necessary, they resort to large-scale solutions like reorientation of educational institutions. 35 colleges were reoriented in the 2015/2016 academic year.

For example, the Kungrad district of Karakalpakstan announced the need for builders for the construction and development of social infrastructure due to the construction of Ustyurt Gas Chemical Complex, and expansion of Kungrad Soda Plant. As a result, the Kungrad Agricultural College has been reoriented for training builders this year.

The reorientation of some colleges in Jizzakh region is also associated with the development of the industry, that is, the establishment of new production facilities in the Jizzah special industrial zone. Jizzakh and Do’stlik economic colleges changed their focus, and were transformed into the industry and service colleges.

By the beginning of the academic year the reoriented colleges will be ready for teaching new professions and specialties. The regional affiliates of the Center of Secondary Special and Vocational Education are actively involved in the creation of appropriate conditions, along with the institutions that have experience in teaching the abovementioned subjects.

The practice of tripartite agreements between the students, the college and executives of an enterprise has been contributing to the enhancement of the system of targeted personnel training. Every student is secured with a workplace for practical training at an enterprise. Most college graduates keep working in the manufacturing facility they attended during the practical training. Given the experience of tripartite agreements, this year the Cabinet of Ministers entrusted the Center of Secondary Special and Vocational Education with taking specific measures in cooperation with respective ministries and agencies to attach the first course students to the organizations and businesses in order to ensure their further employment in the related specialty.

It is noteworthy that the advantage of staff training under the principle of ‘college-enterprise’ has been appreciated by big companies and small private enterprises. The more so, they meet eligibility requirements. During practical training, a student gets introduced into the production process, and also into the internal routine of the organization, which helps him to easily join the team from the first day of employment.


The total quota for applicants for the Bachelor’s degree has not been exceeding 57,907 people for several years, and 5,000 people for that of the Master’s. Large-scale changes have been taking place in subjects and specialties. They were defined in 2011 by the Resolution of the President of Uzbekistan ‘On strengthening the logistical capacity at higher educational institutions and radical improvement of the quality of training of highly skilled professionals’. As scheduled by the document, the optimization of staff training performance with an eye to the real needs of the economy and social sector is to be completed in 2016.

The enrollments in the ‘Engineering, manufacturing and construction industries’ have been increasing for the last four years. They rose from 23% in the 2010-2011 academic years to 31% in 2015-2016 in the total admission quota for Bachelors. At the same time, the staff training in less demanded subject areas like ‘Education’, ‘Economics and Business’, and ‘Law’ has been significantly reduced.

Much is being done to balance the focus of education and the needs of the economy. The updated Classifier of Subject Areas for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees was developed and approved yet in 2011. The renewed document is featured by optimized subject areas and specialties, based on the needs of the real economy and the transition to training specialists in high technologies and innovative subjects. Today, the domestic higher educational institutions train specialists in 165 subjects of the bachelor’s courses, and 447 subjects of the master’s courses.

Meanwhile, universities follow the rapidly changing needs of the labor market and introduce new subject areas and specialties almost every year. For example, a subject ‘Landscaping’ was introduced last year due to the adoption of the program on the development of landscaping in the rural areas. The streamlining of administration of joint-stock companies this year has entailed the need for specialists in ‘Corporate Business’. Specialists in ‘Energy audit and energy audit at industrial enterprises’ are being trained to optimize the use of energy sources. The subjects ‘Philology and language learning’ (the Chinese language) and ‘Eastern philosophy and culture’ have been opened given the geopolitical processes. The graduates of the course ‘Treasury-based state budget execution’ will contribute to the further development of the financial system of the country. The development of the mining industry has entailed the launch of the subjects like ‘Mine surveying’ and ‘Electrical engineering in mining.»

Admission quotas have been streamlined in the other direction too. Experts of the higher education system have been striving to make the staff training closer to the consumers, which is sensible in terms of integration of co-operation between universities and enterprises. As a result, the admission quota has been steadily declining in the capital’s universities and increasing in regional colleges and universities. The Jizzah Polytechnic Institute has demonstrated the biggest – almost double – increase in admission quotas over the past five years. The institute has been enrolling 1,135 people at the first course for the chemical, textile and construction industries, logistics and electric power complex for several years in succession.

All higher educational institutions of Uzbekistan and their affiliates are actively involved in staff training through the master’s courses. The master’s course system has considerably strengthened its positions in training the highly qualified staff. A big share of the educational process is allocated for research. The admission quota for the master’s courses has been changing given the needs of industries and science in specialists.

The quality of higher education has been improved through the strengthening of logistical potential of universities, especially the laboratories. It is planned to upgrade 296 educational labs in 63 natural sciences and 233 technical subject areas. The first batch of equipment will be delivered later this year. Addressing the issue of targeted staff training, universities have been developing cooperation with enterprises and organizations through the integration of education and science. In order to strengthen cooperation, the universities are currently building 15 modern intercollegiate laboratory complexes for joint use, seven of which are located at regional universities. It is planned to fit them out with modern equipment in 2016. The labs would empower the research in such branches as energy-saving and renewable energy, optics, chemical technologies and oil and gas processing, energy-saving construction materials, and others.

The further streamlining of student education, application of information and communication technologies and study of foreign languages was defined as a common thrust for improving the staff training system in all areas of education and master’s course specialties.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)


Denis Istomin wins the doubles tournament Swiss Open Gstaad

The first racket of Uzbekistan Denis Istomin won the doubles tournament Swiss Open Gstaad in the Swiss town of Gstaad.

In the final Istomin paired with Alexander Bury from Belarus beat Austrian Oliver Maraca and Ayshama Qureshi from Pakistan in three sets with the score – 3-6, 6-2, 10-5.

The total prize fund of the tournament ATP World Tour is 250 440 000 euros. Title in the doubles tournament in the Swiss town of Gstaad became for Istomin and Bury the first on ATP doubles competition in the current season, bringing them € 24,280 in prize and 250 points in the standings of the world ranking.

Thanks to the victory in doubles, Istomin’s ATP rankings rose by 70 positions and he became the 112th racket in the world. In singles, he is ranked 71st.


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