September 3, 2014
A festive event occasioned to the 23rd anniversary of state independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan has taken place in the Alisher Navoi National Park of Uzbekistan.
Independence Day is our greatest and dearest holiday. Our people’s ages-old dream of freedom came true on that day. Our national self-identity, honor and dignity have revived thanks to independence. Stability and development of the country and the wellbeing of the people are being ensured along with a robust foundation for a bright future of our children.
Merry for the celebration and preparing for it, the people of our country exclaim from the bottom of their hearts, “Love you, you are dear to me, my native Uzbekistan!”
On August 31, the Alisher Navoi National Park of Uzbekistan was in festive attire, as were the squares, streets and buildings adjacent to it. Bright flowers and multicolor rays of light crossflowing in the sky afforded a special splendor to the place. A tender wind flapped the flags. The huge screens installed around the square display the ancient Registan and the magnificent Arc of Kind and Noble Aspirations that stands at the Mustaqillik Square.
The festivities in the Alisher Navoi Park gathered members of the Senate and Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, government members, Heroes of Uzbekistan, figures of science and culture, literature and arts, front-rank workers, entrepreneurs, heads of social organizations, of diplomatic missions, representatives of international organizations accredited in our country.
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov entered the square under a storm of applause.
Following music signs heralding the start of festivities, the head of our state took the floor to deliver a greeting speech.
The leader of our country congratulated the people of Uzbekistan on the twenty-third anniversary of the national independence.
Participants of the event sang along the state anthem of the Republic of Uzbekistan amid video shots narrating the life of the country in independence years. The hearts of people were filled with excitement and pride.
The square plunged into the depth of history, with the introducing majestic voice of Amir Temur, as if the Great Sahibkiran makes his will to his posterity to have the Motherland free and a comfortable place to live. And, as an accomplishment of that call and the gracious aspirations, the screen demonstrates a video record showing President Islam Karimov on August 31, 1991, announce the independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
That day became a starting point of a new era in the annals of Uzbekistan. The nation achieved independence and the people attained happiness. Our Motherland secured a well-deserved place in the community of nations. Peace and stability reign in our country. Its economy has been advancing dynamically, so have the living standards of the population.
Building on the Uzbek Model of Development elaborated by the President of our country, political, economic and social reforms are being implemented. The priority of economics over politics, the state as the principal reform agent, the rule of law and other major principles have been yielding immense results across all the spheres. A vigorous social policy serves for the material and spiritual support for people. The gradual implementation of reforms rules out possible economic and social crises and secures effectiveness of transformation.
The Concept of Intensification of Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society in the Country, put forward by Islam Karimov became a logical extension of the processes of renewal and modernization of the country. In accordance with that long-term democratic program, laws are passed to perfect the activities of government and management bodies, courts, mass media and the electoral system.
As a result of special significance attached to the promotion of civil society, the role and importance of the institution of mahalla has been growing in the socio-economic life. Currently, this unique institution of self-government is assigned with a wide range of functions pertaining to the social protection of the population, employment, consolidation of peace and harmony, the stability of spiritual-moral atmosphere, beautification of areas, promotion of small business and entrepreneurship.
Citizens’ self-government bodies address critical social tasks in the locality. Public oversight of the activities of local government bodies has been established. Democratic values are enjoying development and consolidation in mahallas. That has found a bright reflection in the elections of chairpersons of citizens’ assemblies and their advisers that took place last November-December. The elections that were held on the basis of universal democratic principles have become an important phase for the preparation to the elections to local Kengashes (Councils) of people’s representatives and the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan due later this year.
…The future is fed by the energy and might of the past. The classical songs and melodies aired onstage of the festive square demonstrate the rich cultural heritage of our people and its creative potential.
Independence years have come to be a period of spiritual rebirth of our Motherland. The rich spiritual-cultural legacy of our ancestors has been restored carefully. On the initiative of the head of our state, extensive jubilee celebrations of the great forefathers like Amir Temur, Mirzo Ulughbek, Jaloliddin Manguberdi, Alisher Navoi took place at the international scale. The burial sites of outstanding scientists and intellectuals – Abdukholiq Ghijduvoni, Imam Bukhari, Bahouddin Naqshband, Imam Termizi, Imam Moturidi, Ahmad Farghoni, Burkhoniddin Marginoni – have been well-groomed and attended.
Jubilees of our ancient world-renown cities such as Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Shahrisabz, Karshi, Termez, Tashkent, Marghilan have been celebrated at the international level. The extensive celebration of the 2,700th anniversary of Avesto, the 1,000th anniversary of Alpomish, the 1,000th anniversary of the Mamun Academy of Khorezm has facilitated a more profound study of our history, of centuries-old traditions of national architecture art and culture.
Arranged on the initiative of President Islam Karimov, the international conference “Historical Heritage of Scholars and Intellectuals of the Medieval East, Its Role and Importance for the Modern Civilization” in Samarkand demonstrated how earnest in the world is the reverence to the genius of our great thinkers and the interest to their glorious legacy. Taking part in the conference, heads of prominent international organizations, scholars and specialists of research centers and institutions from many countries noted again the tremendous contribution of the great representatives of the Eastern Renaissance to the evolution of the world civilization. The attention paid in Uzbekistan to the study of history and to the development of education system received a high appraisal at the forum.
…Childhood is the time of carefree life and happiness. The hearts of contemporary children have no grievance from the errors of the past or recollections of injustice. They are the children of independence, children of a free and prosperous country. Their eyes shine with joy and the hope for the best. All this sounds in songs of children who filled the stage of the festive occasion with bliss and merriness.
Our people love children. Our nation associates all its dreams and thoughts with them, and the sense of our life epitomizes in them. The national mentality has found its reflection in the policy of the state and strategic goals of our country.
During the independence years, everything necessary has been created under the leadership of the head of our state to nurture healthy, comprehensively advanced children. The reforms have been implemented in a continuous consistency in order to boost the protection of motherhood and childhood, social security of the population, improve the system of education, and promote children’s sports. Today, modern medical centers, education institutions, sports facilities are instrumental in fostering a healthy, comprehensively advanced generation.
This year, announced in the country as the one of Healthy Child, the scales of these efforts have been expanded to a considerable extent. The works have been steadfast to cement the healthy lifestyle in the society, to bolster the medical culture of the population and consolidate the institution of family.
Special emphasis is being placed on the development of sports as an important factor in furthering these goals. The activities of the Fund for the Development of Children’s Sports established by the President of the country have turned into a nationwide movement. The harmonization of this process with the cardinal transformation of the system of education facilitates both the spiritual and the physical development of the younger generation.
The perfection of the youth hardened by sports has been brilliantly manifest by the three-tier sporting competitions – the games Umid Nihollari, Barkamol Avlod and the Universiade. Earlier this year, the regular final round of the intermediate tier of this system – the Barkamol Avlod Sports Games – took place in Namangan.
Our young athletes who have become victors and prize winners of the recent Second Youth Olympics in the Chinese city of Nanjing stepped onto the square of the independence festive event. In one of the most prestigious competitions in the world, the Uzbek young men and women earned 4 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals. Our heroes were met by the participants of the occasion with storms of applause.
…Under sounds of the military orchestra, defenders of the Motherland show up in an orderly manner on the stage. Their measured tread reminds that our independence is guarded with a reliable shield. The show is accompanied by the song “We will safeguard your peace, the sacred Motherland!”
Peace is a principal factor of progress and welfare. Thanks to the provision for peace and stability in Uzbekistan, remarkable achievements are made in all walks of life. Instrumental in this are the steady reforms marshaled under the leadership of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Islam Karimov and dedicated to the formation of a modern army and elevation of its might and capabilities.
Uzbekistan firmly adheres to a peaceful foreign policy. Our state is not member of military-political blocs. Our military servicemen defend only their Motherland, provide for the inviolability of its borders, and protect the peace and calmness of our people. The foreign policy of our nation is built on such principles as the priority of national interests, compliance with international law norms, and resolution of conflict issues exclusively with peaceful means.
Owing to this rigid policy and benevolent initiatives, our country has been earning a growing respect and standing in the international community. The most advanced nations, firms and companies renowned around the world have been keen on cooperation with our country.
Today, Uzbekistan maintains diplomatic relations with more than 130 states of the world. Embassies of 45 countries, representative offices of about 20 international organizations and financial institutions operate in Tashkent. Around 50 diplomatic and consulate offices of Uzbekistan are open in foreign countries and at international organizations. Uzbekistan is member of leading international and regional institutions like the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the Islamic Cooperation Organization, among others.
“Who had we been before and who have we become?” These poetic lines air above the square to convey the innermost thoughts of the people, the words coming as though from the very bottom of our hearts. The screens display the video shots of triumphant treads and advances of our nation, the twenty-three-year long history of independent development, inimitable sceneries of the native nature change with views of our diligent compatriots.
In its independence years, Uzbekistan has turned from a backward republic with a one-sided economy dominated by the monopoly of cotton production into a nation with a dynamically and steadily consolidating industry and high rates of development.
On the initiative of the head of our state, high-technology industries absolutely novel for us have been established, including automotive and engine manufacturing, oil and gas processing, production of cutting-edge home appliances, personal computers and mobile phones. The enterprises of food, light, chemical industries and construction materials production have undergone cardinal modernization. Today, the goods produced by them do not only satisfy the needs of the internal market, but they are also exported.
Recently, the International Statistics Committee of the CIS announced development indicators of Commonwealth nations in the first half of the year 2014. According to it, Uzbekistan is second to no one in the production of industrial goods. After all, as recently as 23 years ago, our country used to occupy the last positions in these indicators!
Owing to the wide-ranging efforts spearheaded under the leadership of the country’s President to diversify the economy and promote the industrial sector, Uzbekistan has joined the ranks of leaders on this front. To date, numerous modern enterprises built on high technologies operate in our country. All types of goods needed for human life is produced in these enterprises.
As a result of the fundamental reforms in the years of independence, Uzbekistan’s economy has grown almost fivefold. Per capita incomes have increased 8.7 times. For the last ten years, growth rates of the gross domestic product have amounted to over 8 percent. In the first half of this year, the indicator equals 8.1 percent.
Such accomplishments, rare in the world, facilitate the growth in the living standards of our people. That is radiantly manifest in the appearance of our towns and villages transforming from one to another, in the construction of hundreds of thousands homes and modern infrastructure units, in providing the people with quality consumer goods of domestic production. In a range of indicators of social welfare, including life expectancy rates, peace and harmony in families, abundance in the markets, Uzbekistan is assigned rather high positions in the world.
Nevertheless, we do not confine ourselves to the results achieved, and the search for new opportunities for further development does not stop. On 22 November 2013, Tashkent hosted the sixth meeting of the Asian Solar Energy Forum. Prospects of the development of solar power in our country were indentified at the forum that took place with the participation of officials from the International Energy Agency, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Islamic Development Bank and other international institutions, specialists and academics.
…The festive event’s show program included a song that stirs the strings of souls into confession of love for the Motherland, that which glorifies the country and our people.
Without any doubt, nothing in life is granted by a mere chance. Immense effort and diligence is required to achieve a goal, to secure happiness. What difficulties and tests has our nation not endured on its way to these bright days! We have overcome all the obstacles by relying on our own strength and abilities, and today we are enjoying the fruits of that tireless effort and labor.
Nobody is deprived of love and attention in our country. Children and youths strive for knowledge, to attain professions, and they are regular in sports. Parents labor hard to bring up their children as people with distinction and to see their happiness. Representatives of the senior generation live in peace and calmness, blessing our country and people.
Huge innovative and construction works are in progress across the entire nation. Unique major industrial enterprises are commissioned, as are the myriads of small business and private entrepreneurship entities.
On the initiative of the head of our state, cities of our country are being reconstructed on the basis of general urban planning schemes. That is manifest in the case of Samarkand, Bukhara, Andijan, Namangan, Termez, Karshi, Urgench, Nukus, Ferghana. Today, their appearance has changed to the end. The social infrastructure is being perfected all the time. Palaces of culture and arts, institutions of healthcare, education, sports, services points, and recreation sites multiply the beauty of our urban and rural areas.
The modern housing erected in rural areas rise the wellbeing of families. On the eve of the independence holiday, thousands of such homes have been passed on to their owners.
The transport infrastructure has been advancing steadily in our country, new roads and flyovers are being built. The regions of Uzbekistan are being connected by an integrated network of railways. In 2013, the construction of another new railroad main line of enormous strategic significance, Angren-Pap, kicked off. This 124-kilometer-long line that includes a 19-kilometer tunnel is to link the central part of Uzbekistan with the Ferghana Valley and serve as an important factor for the access of East Asian countries to Europe.
Thanks to fundamental reforms in the agrarian sector and the effectiveness of the farmer movement, the volumes of agricultural production have been growing from one year to another. Our markets boast absolute abundance. The existing demands in fruits, vegetables and their processed goods, potatoes, melons, grapes are met in full thanks to our own resources.
Today, the whole world expresses high appraisal of the wellbeing and affluence in our country. That was reiterated by the foreign participants of the international conference “On Critical Reserves in the Realization of Food Program in Uzbekistan” that took place recently in Tashkent.
This year, our dehkans harvested a tremendous wheat yield in the amount of 8 million 50 thousand tons. Our nation, who used to be dependent on others in the provision of flour and grain before attaining independence, today does not only satisfy its own needs, but also exports grain. The development of grain production has been positively influencing the progress in livestock breeding, poultry farming and many other sectors, and it ensures a steady elevation in the volumes of produced meat, dairy, eggs and many other goods.
“I am glad to take part again in the festivities dedicated to the Independence Day of Uzbekistan,” says Sun Litze, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Uzbekistan. “The elevated mood, joy and happiness on the faces of people is a manifestation of peace and abundance, harmony and wellbeing in Uzbekistan. Under the leadership of President Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan has been advancing dynamically and comprehensively. That can be seen also in the case of the ever so expanding cooperation between our two nations, which has been raised to the level of strategic partnership. I will take this opportunity to congratulate the people of Uzbekistan on the celebration of independence from the bottom of my heart, and wish happiness and every success!”
…The merry spirit of the festive occasion was multiplied by the songs and dances that embody the inspiration, splendor of life, love and devotion to the Motherland, gratefulness for these bright days, the happiness of our compatriots for being born and raised in this free and blessed land…
“I am 23 and I am proud to be the same-year fellow of the independence, to have received upbringing and education in the years of independence,” says the participant of the festivities Dilafruz Usmanova, laureate of the Zulfiya State Prize. “We are a happy generation, because we have such a beautiful and comfy Motherland, a caring President. The head of our state, in his congratulatory speech, addressed us, the youths, again and expressed his love and attention. This gives us even more strength and energy and wings.”
Colorful festive fireworks rumble in the sky, lighting up the faces of people, the nightlife capital city, and amid these cheerful moments, one comes to believe even stronger that the looks of our nation will always be happy and merry, while the future of the country will be great.
The festive event was aired to more than 80 countries around the world through the satellite.
…Years and centuries will pass, but the Independence Day, attained owing to the courage of President Islam Karimov, the diligence and selflessness of our people, will stay forever as the supreme date in the history of our country, will always be the greatest and dearest holiday of ours.
(Source: Press-service of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan)
In the capital opening ceremony of Seoul Park took place. The event, held in the park of Babur, wherein created a new object of culture and recreation, was attended by representatives of the Government of Uzbekistan and South Korea.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Mayor of Seoul Ying Chong Sok said that the opening of the park was a good gift to the Independence Day of the Republic of Uzbekistan. He congratulated the Uzbek people on this significant event, wishing peace, tranquility, happiness and prosperity.
According to him, the new park will be a part of Seoul in Tashkent, transferring all its visitors the spirit and atmosphere of this metropolis.
The total area of Seoul Park, established in the territory of the metropolitan park of Babur, is 17.5 hectares and the landscaped area of more than 7 hectares.
The main purpose of Seoul Park in Tashkent is to promote Korean culture and familiarize the public with the traditions of the Uzbek, the national peculiarities of the Korean people as well as the development of bilateral relations between our two countries.
(Source: IA «Jahon»)
Implementation of big investment projects on the development and construction of transport communications is underway in Uzbekistan. They envisage the establishment of a unified national logistics system that would meet the requirements of the rapidly growing real economy sector. Meanwhile, many experts say that the advanced development of transport arteries, especially highways, requires the upgrade and modernization of the current fleet of road-building hardware. Over 260 items of different kinds of machinery and equipment were purchased with this purpose in the first six months of 2014.
In the coming years Uzbekistan is planning to carry out an integrated and advanced development of transport communications, modern telecommunications systems, and facilities of engineering infrastructure. The construction is empowered by additional foreign investments, modern technologies, construction and renovation of industrial complexes. First of all, this applies to projects on the creation of a unified national automobile transport system that should securely connect all regions of the nation. Construction and reconstruction of sections of four-lane highways within the Uzbek national highway is in progress using modern cement concrete and asphalt concrete surface meeting high international standards. To accomplish these tasks 264 units of new machinery have been purchased in the first half of 2014 for the O’zavtoyo’l enterprises. The purchase of 217 entities was funded by the Republican Road Fund, and 47 items were bought by enterprises through the leasing and bank loans.
The list includes more than 70 trucks, 30 asphalt distributors and combined road machines, 20 saddle trailer trucks, 15 irrigation machines, over 10 tower vehicles, 10 chain excavators and tamping machines, many wheel excavators, graders, loaders, road milling machines, bulldozers, mobile cranes, truck mixers and other special equipment. The significant replenishment of the fleet is no longer an attempt to follow the fashion, but a necessity in the modern conditions. Uzbekistan, with its advantageous location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and with the availability of necessary transportation system might gain much from the transit of goods from different parts of the world. With a short delay the niche will be occupied by numerous competitors.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
THAYER SCUDDER, the world’s leading authority on the impact of dams on poor people, has changed his mind about dams.
A frequent consultant on large dam projects, Mr. Scudder held out hope through most of his 58-year career that the poverty relief delivered by a properly constructed and managed dam would outweigh the social and environmental damage it caused. Now, at age 84, he has concluded that large dams not only aren’t worth their cost, but that many currently under construction “will have disastrous environmental and socio-economic consequences,” as he wrote in a recent email.
Mr. Scudder, an emeritus anthropology professor at the California Institute of Technology, describes his disillusionment with dams as gradual. He was a dam proponent when he began his first research project in 1956, documenting the impact of forced resettlement on 57,000 Tonga people in the Gwembe Valley of present-day Zambia and Zimbabwe. Construction of the Kariba Dam, which relied on what was then the largest loan in the World Bank’s history, required the Tonga to move from their ancestral homes along the Zambezi River to infertile land downstream. Mr. Scudder has been tracking their disintegration ever since.
Once cohesive and self-sufficient, the Tonga are troubled by intermittent hunger, rampant alcoholism and astronomical unemployment. Desperate for income, some have resorted to illegal drug cultivation and smuggling, elephant poaching, pimping and prostitution. Villagers still lack electricity.
Mr. Scudder’s most recent stint as a consultant, on the Nam Theun 2 Dam in Laos, delivered his final disappointment. He and two fellow advisers supported the project because it required the dam’s funders to carry out programs that would leave people displaced by the dam in better shape than before the project started. But the dam was finished in 2010, and the programs’ goals remain unmet. Meanwhile, the dam’s three owners are considering turning over all responsibilities to the Laotian government — “too soon,” Mr. Scudder said in an interview. “The government wants to build 60 dams over the next 20 or 30 years, and at the moment it doesn’t have the capacity to deal with environmental and social impacts for any single one of them.
“Nam Theun 2 confirmed my longstanding suspicion that the task of building a large dam is just too complex and too damaging to priceless natural resources,” he said. He now thinks his most significant accomplishment was not improving a dam, but stopping one: He led a 1992 study that helped prevent construction of a dam that would have harmed Botswana’s Okavango Delta, one of the world’s last great wetlands.
Part of what moved Mr. Scudder to go public with his revised assessment was the corroboration he found in a stunning Oxford University study published in March in Energy Policy. The study, by Atif Ansar, Bent Flyvbjerg, Alexander Budzier and Daniel Lunn, draws upon cost statistics for 245 large dams built between 1934 and 2007. Without even taking into account social and environmental impacts, which are almost invariably negative and frequently vast, the study finds that “the actual construction costs of large dams are too high to yield a positive return.”
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The study’s authors — three management scholars and a statistician — say planners are systematically biased toward excessive optimism, which dam promoters exploit with deception or blatant corruption. The study finds that actual dam expenses on average were nearly double pre-building estimates, and several times greater than overruns of other kinds of infrastructure construction, including roads, railroads, bridges and tunnels. On average, dam construction took 8.6 years, 44 percent longer than predicted — so much time, the authors say, that large dams are “ineffective in resolving urgent energy crises.”
DAMS typically consume large chunks of developing countries’ financial resources, as dam planners underestimate the impact of inflation and currency depreciation. Many of the funds that support large dams arrive as loans to the host countries, and must eventually be paid off in hard currency. But most dam revenue comes from electricity sales in local currencies. When local currencies fall against the dollar, as often happens, the burden of those loans grows.
One reason this dynamic has been overlooked is that earlier studies evaluated dams’ economic performance by considering whether international lenders like the World Bank recovered their loans — and in most cases, they did. But the economic impact on host countries was often debilitating. Dam projects are so huge that beginning in the 1980s, dam overruns became major components of debt crises in Turkey, Brazil, Mexico and the former Yugoslavia. “For many countries, the national economy is so fragile that the debt from just one mega-dam can completely negatively affect the national economy,” Mr. Flyvbjerg, the study’s lead investigator, told me.
To underline its point, the study singles out the massive Diamer-Bhasha Dam, now under construction in Pakistan across the Indus River. It is projected to cost $12.7 billion (in 2008 dollars) and finish construction by 2021. But the study suggests that it won’t be completed until 2027, by which time it could cost $35 billion (again, in 2008 dollars) — a quarter of Pakistan’s gross domestic product that year.
Using the study’s criteria, most of the world’s planned mega-dams would be deemed cost-ineffective. That’s unquestionably true of the gargantuan Inga complex of eight dams intended to span the Congo River — its first two projects have produced huge cost overruns — and Brazil’s purported $14 billion Belo Monte Dam, which will replace a swath of Amazonian rain forest with the world’s third-largest hydroelectric dam.
Instead of building enormous, one-of-a-kind edifices like large dams, the study’s authors recommend “agile energy alternatives” like wind, solar and mini-hydropower facilities. “We’re stuck in a 1950s mode where everything was done in a very bespoke, manual way,” Mr. Ansar said over the phone. “We need things that are more easily standardized, things that fit inside a container and can be easily transported.”
All this runs directly contrary to the current international dam-building boom. Chinese, Brazilian and Indian construction companies are building hundreds of dams around the world, and the World Bank announced a year ago that it was reviving a moribund strategy to fund mega-dams. The biggest ones look so seductive, so dazzling, that it has taken us generations to notice: They’re brute-force, Industrial Age artifacts that rarely deliver what they promise.
Jacques Leslie is the author, most recently, of “Deep Water: The Epic Struggle Over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment.”
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