On December 1, at the invitation of the President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev took part in the main plenary session of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), taking place these days in Dubai.
The event is attended by heads of state and government from more than 170 countries, heads of international organizations and financial institutions.
The President of Uzbekistan, sincerely congratulating the leadership and people of the United Arab Emirates on the national holiday and the successful organization of the historic summit, emphasized the global initiatives of the UAE in the fight against climate change and contribution to green development.
The President of Uzbekistan emphasized that climate change has become the most important challenge to sustainable development. This is especially acutely felt in Central Asia and neighboring regions against the backdrop of the Aral tragedy – one of the most destructive environmental crises of our time.
The Leader of Uzbekistan drew the attention of those present to several facts.
Thus, the increase in air temperature in Central Asia is twice the global average, the number of extremely hot days has doubled, and a third of the glaciers have melted.
Soil degradation, regular dust and sand storms, shortage of drinking water, air pollution, loss of biodiversity, sharp decline in crop yields, and much more negatively affect the quality of life of millions of residents of the region.
The President emphasized that the transition to a green economy and achieving carbon neutrality are the priority strategic objectives of the New Uzbekistan.
In recent years, Uzbekistan’s share of alternative energy production has doubled. According to the Head of state, by 2030, capacity to generate 25 gigawatts of renewable electricity will be created. The first practical steps have already been taken to implement the green hydrogen production project.
In addition, as part of the “Yashil Makon” (Green Space) initiative, 1 billion tree seedlings are planted in Uzbekistan. Thanks to forest plantations with a total area of 2 million hectares at the bottom of the Aral Sea, air pollution in the Aral Sea region is reduced.
Moving on to the main agenda of the event, the Leader of Uzbekistan put forward several proposals.
In particular, the President of Uzbekistan advocated for the speedy approval of the Global Climate Change Adaptation Framework as part of the Paris Agreement.
In this context, the Adaptation Strategy being developed on the platform of the Central Asian Climate Dialogue was noted.
The Head of state highly appreciated the decision taken the day before to create the Global Loss and Damage Fund.
Active support of these mechanisms by the World Bank and international financial institutions will make it possible to provide significant assistance primarily to those countries that suffer from climate change.
It was emphasized that the global transition to a low-carbon economy must be fair, transparent, and inclusive and must take into account the interests of developing countries.
It was proposed to consider this urgent problem on an ongoing basis, including within the framework of the G7 and G20 summits.
To transform the Aral Sea region into a Zone of Innovation, Technology and New Opportunities, the President of Uzbekistan invited everyone to close cooperation to create an International Expo Hub of Climate Technologies in this region to apply advanced knowledge, experience, and solutions.
In addition, the President proposed establishing close scientific exchange and conducting joint research on the Climate Scientific Forum platform, created based on the Green University, with the involvement of leading scientists and experts from foreign countries.
The agenda of the forum will include current issues of preventing soil degradation, rational water use, and guaranteed food security.
Along with this, together with the United Nations, a Climate Migration Conference is planned to be held in Uzbekistan in 2024.
The President of Uzbekistan also announced initiatives to develop, together with the International Labour Organization, the Green Employment program, and the creation of a Center for modeling the impact of climate change on employment.
To actively involve young people in effectively solving climate problems, readiness was expressed to organize the COP Youth Conference in the country.
Confirming Uzbekistan’s commitment to the universal idea of humanity to combat climate change, the President of Uzbekistan called for supporting the conduction of the Samarkand International Climate Forum next year and the adoption of a special resolution of the UN General Assembly, reflecting the common approaches of Central Asia.
Following his speech, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev again expressed confidence that the results of the summit in Dubai will serve to bring together all countries and peoples on the path to a sustainable, prosperous, and safe future for the planet.