The Government of Uzbekistan and the UN agreed on a draft special resolution of the UN General Assembly on declaring the Aral Sea region as the zone of environmental innovations and technology. The project was considered at the high-level international conference “Aral Sea Region - Zone of Environmental Innovations and Technologies”, held in Nukus on October 25.
The initiative to declare the region as the zone of environmental innovations and technologies was put forward by the President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in August last year at a meeting of the founders of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.
In a message to the attendees of the conference, which was read by First Deputy Prime Minister Achilbay Ramatov, Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized: “It is impossible to restore the Aral Sea. Therefore, our task is to reduce the negative impact of the Aral Sea crisis on the environment and people's livelihoods in the region. We propose to tranform the Aral Sea region into a zone of environmental innovations and technologies. ”
The UN Secretary General Antoniu Guterres, who sent a video message, noted that the disappearance of the Aral sea had numerous negative consequences for livelihoods and the health of the locals. However, thanks to the joint efforts of the government of Uzbekistan and the world community, it is clear that an improvement is possible.
“Now it is the big time to act. It is necessary to restore the conditions for the livelihoods of people in remote areas of Karakalpakstan, which will be an incentive for the return of the youth who will play a part in reviving the Aral Sea region, ”said the Special Advisor to the UNDP Administrator Abdoulaye Mar Dieye.
Musa Yerniyazov, Chairman of the Zhokarga Kenes of Karakalpakstan, noted that the economy is suffering from the consequences of the Aral Sea disaster, unemployment and emigration has thriven, and the quality of life of the local population has sharply fallen. In recent years, thanks to the consolidation of efforts of the government and international institutions, new jobs are being created in the Aral Sea region and infrastructure is now being developed.
Helena Fraser, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan, emphasized that despite the catastrophic consequences of the Aral Sea crisis, the Aralkum desert needs to be transformed into an attractive economic zone.
“We should not talk about tragedy, but about the development of the region. Focus on human resources,” she urged.
“People are remaining in this region, and they want to be able to live a normal life. Using the right technologies can help mitigate the consequences. We intend to increase the presence of European financial institutions in the region,” said Peter Burian, EU Special Representative for Central Asia.
Badriddin Abidov, Deputy Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade, said that in November the UN Development Program will send a special mission to finalize the Concept "Aral Sea Region - Zone of Environmental Innovations and Technologies."
A meeting of the Interstate Commission for Sustainable Development of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea was also held as part of the forum in Nukus, at which the chairmanship of the commission was transferred from Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan.