Monday, 28, November, 2022

In the end of April 2017, the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan visited the Republic of Karakalpakstan. This was an intensive and multifaceted trip, and the Ambassador was able to familiarise himself with the life of the Republic and the opportunities and challenges facing its people. He was accompanied throughout by Karakalpakstan’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Economic Relations and International Trade.

The Ambassador discussed the political and economic life of the Republic during meetings with the Deputy Chairman of the Jokargy Kenes - the Parliament of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, and the Karakalpak Minister for International Trade. A meeting with the Head of the Karakalpak department of the Chamber of Commerce was focused around the development of entrepreneurship and small and medium sized businesses. Both sides noted the substantial involvement of UK businesses in the development of the $4bn Ustyurt Gas Chemical Complex, which the Ambassador had also recently visited.

Environmental issues in general, and particularly the problem of the Aral Sea, are of great importance for Karakalpakstan. In order to understand the plans for mitigating the consequences of the disappearance of the Aral Sea, the Ambassador held meetings in the State Committee for Nature Protection, the Nukus Branch of the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, and in the UN Joint Programme Office.

The United Kingdom is one of the largest donors to such international organizations as the United Nations and the World Bank, as well as the only G-7 country that allocates the UN target 0.7% of its Gross National Income to overseas development assistance. The Ambassador was therefore particularly interested to visit several projects implemented within the framework of the first phase of the UN Joint Programme ‘Building the resilience of communities affected by the Aral Sea disaster through the Multi-partner Human Security Fund for the Aral Sea'. These included purchasing equipment and training for a honey and wax production facility, and for a workshop for national embroidery and production of souvenirs from seashells: “Qaraqalpaq Sheberi Manzura”. The Ambassador also visited the rural health facility “Aral” in Muynak region, where solar panels (necessary for the uninterrupted use of medical equipment) were installed within the framework of the Programme.

In order to get a deeper knowledge of the cultural and historical heritage of Karakalpakstan, the Ambassador visited ancient fortresses on the territory of the Republic, The State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan (otherwise known as the Savitsky Museum) and Muynak Regional History Museum. However, without stopping at this, the Ambassador also made an exciting journey through the Ustyurt plateau and the Aralkums - the deserted seabed formed after drying zone of the Aral Sea - and reached the current shore of the Aral Sea.

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