In­ter­na­tional Ef­forts Es­sen­tial

Uzbekistan Today (English) - - ECOLOGY - Boriy Alikhanov, Deputy Speaker of the Leg­isla­tive Chamber of Oliy Ma­jlis, leader of the Eco­log­i­cal Move­ment of Uzbek­istan

At the 72nd ses­sion of the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly, the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan Shavkat Mirziy­oyev drew the at­ten­tion of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to one of the most press­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems of the day – the dry­ing up of the Aral Sea, and called for vig­or­ous con­sol­i­da­tion of in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to over­come its con­se­quences.

The Aral catas­tro­phe has out­grown the bor­ders of the re­gion, turn­ing into a global prob­lem, and re­quires close at­ten­tion of in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, politi­cians, sci­en­tists and experts around the world. In the his­tory of civ­i­liza­tion there was no such case that a whole sea dis­ap­peared in the eyes of one gen­er­a­tion.

The re­sult of cat­a­strophic changes in the en­vi­ron­ment was the loss of more than half of the gene pool of flora and fauna.

All the on­go­ing pro­cesses and phe­nom­ena of this re­gion against the back­drop of global cli­mate change on the whole planet are high­lighted in a dou­ble de­gree, man­i­fest­ing much more rigidly, faster and more com­plexly.

On the dried-up bot­tom of the sea, dust and salt storms are rag­ing from time to time, rais­ing up to 100 mil­lion tons of salt dust an­nu­ally, which is spread over a dis­tance of more than 400 kilo­me­ters. Since the early 1980s, such storms have raged more than 90 days a year.

In this re­gard, the re­gion is marked by the growth of a num­ber of dis­eases: res­pi­ra­tory ail­ments, urolithi­a­sis, on­co­log­i­cal dis­eases.

The de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the eco­log­i­cal sit­u­a­tion led to a dra­matic de­cline in eco­nomic in­di­ca­tors in the re­gion: livestock pro­duc­tion de­clined by more than four­fold, fish catch – al­most 7 times.

On the speedy res­o­lu­tion of this hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ter to­day de­pends the life and health of hun­dreds of thou­sands of res­i­dents of our coun­tries, the fate of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions who will live and work in this fer­tile land.

It should be noted that Uzbek­istan has been un­der­tak­ing a great deal of ef­forts to sta­bi­lize the en­vi­ron­men­tal sit­u­a­tion in the Aral zone: in the past few years alone, the coun­try has im­ple­mented projects to­tal­ing more than $ 5.5 bil­lion. To­gether with part­ners from for­eign coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, projects are be­ing im­ple­mented to cre­ate for­est pro­tec­tive plan­ta­tions in the drained area of the Aral Sea, the im­prove­ment of the drainage sys­tem for col­lec­tor drainage wa­ters, and the in­crease in the level of life sup­port for the pop­u­la­tion of the Aral Sea re­gion. Over the past 10 years, about 350 thou­sand hectares of for­est pro­tec­tive plant­ings from sax­aul and other salt-tol­er­ant plant species have been laid on the drained bot­tom of the Aral Sea.

In ac­cor­dance with the gov­ern­ment pro­gram for the de­vel­op­ment of the Aral re­gion for 2017-2021, aimed at im­prov­ing the con­di­tions and qual­ity of life of the pop­u­la­tion of the Aral re­gion, it is planned to al­lo­cate funds from the state bud­get and at­tract in­vest­ments in the amount of over 8 tril­lion soums. At the same time, it is im­pos­si­ble to fully re­solve the eco­log­i­cal and so­cioe­co­nomic prob­lems that have ac­cu­mu­lated over the decades in the re­gion with­out ef­fec­tive in­ter­ac­tion of all coun­tries in the re­gion and ef­fec­tive sup­port of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

These is­sues were dis­cussed at an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence “Joint ac­tions to mit­i­gate the con­se­quences of the Aral catas­tro­phe: new ap­proaches, innovative so­lu­tions, in­vest­ments” on 7-8 June this year in Tashkent, at­tended by more than 100 lead­ing experts from over 20 coun­tries, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the diplo­matic corps and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions op­er­at­ing in Cen­tral Asia, prom­i­nent sci­en­tists and specialists of pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of NGOs and the me­dia.

The Tashkent res­o­lu­tion adopted at the end of the fo­rum called upon the states of the re­gion, within the frame­work of the In­ter­na­tional Fund for Sav­ing the Aral Sea, to strive for co­or­di­nated prac­ti­cal ori­en­ta­tion and har­mo­niza­tion of their ac­tions to address the prob­lems of the Aral area, in­crease the ef­fec­tive­ness of im­ple­mented pro­grams to mit­i­gate the con­se­quences of the Aral catas­tro­phe, projects aimed at im­prov­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cio-eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion not only in the Aral re­gion, but also in the en­tire Aral basin, as well as to deepen co­op­er­a­tion among the coun­tries of the re­gion in the joint de­vel­op­ment of new ap­proaches and innovative so­lu­tions for the use of wa­ter re­sources of trans­bound­ary rivers.

In or­der to ce­ment mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and trust among all the coun­tries of Cen­tral Asia and to es­tab­lish open­ness and trans­parency in re­la­tions, the Uzbek side con­sid­ers it nec­es­sary to take joint ef­forts to find com­monly ac­cept­able and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial so­lu­tions for re­solv­ing the is­sue of ra­tio­nal and eq­ui­table use of wa­ter re­sources in Cen­tral Asia.

To date, there is no other al­ter­na­tive to address the is­sue of dis­tri­bu­tion of the re­gion’s trans­bound­ary wa­ter re­sources, ex­cept

There­fore, we con­sis­tently ad­vo­cate the fair and ra­tio­nal use of trans-bound­ary water­courses on the ba­sis of ob­ser­vance of gen­er­ally ac­cepted norms of in­ter­na­tional law, solv­ing the wa­ter and en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems of the re­gion on a con­struc­tive and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial ba­sis, in the spirit of good-neigh­bor­li­ness.

At the same time, Uzbek­istan’s po­si­tion on the use of trans­bound­ary water­courses is as fol­lows:

- the use of wa­ter re­sources of the trans-bound­ary rivers of Cen­tral Asia should be ad­dressed tak­ing into ac­count the in­ter­ests of the en­tire pop­u­la­tion of the re­gion;

- any ac­tions car­ried out on trans-bound­ary rivers should not have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the ex­ist­ing eco­log­i­cal and wa­ter bal­ance of the re­gion;

- the norms of in­ter­na­tional wa­ter law should be the ba­sis for build­ing an ef­fec­tive sys­tem for shar­ing the re­sources of trans­bound­ary rivers of the Cen­tral Asian re­gion;

- projects on trans-bound­ary rivers should be im­ple­mented on the ba­sis of a con­struc­tive ap­proach and a com­pro­mise that does not in­fringe on the in­ter­ests of other in­ter­ested states and guar­an­tees two nec­es­sary con­di­tions: pre­vent­ing the re­duc­tion of the level of flow to the ter­ri­tory of the down­stream coun­tries; preser­va­tion of eco­log­i­cal and wa­ter bal­ance in the re­gion.

In this re­gard, it is im­por­tant to di­rect the ef­forts of in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions to stim­u­late the ac­ces­sion of the coun­tries of the re­gion to the UN Wa­ter Con­ven­tions on the Pro­tec­tion and Use of Trans-bound­ary Water­courses and In­ter­na­tional Lakes (1992) and on the Law of Non-nav­i­ga­tional Uses of In­ter­na­tional Water­courses (1997) and pro­mo­tion of mul­ti­lat­eral le­gal in­stru­ments on trans-bound­ary wa­ter re­sources man­age­ment on the ba­sis of the pro­vi­sions of these con­ven­tions.

In this re­spect, we sup­port the ini­tia­tive of the United Na­tions on the con­clu­sion of in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions on the ra­tio­nal and eq­ui­table use of wa­ter re­sources in the basins of the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers.

The use of trans-bound­ary wa­ter re­sources should not be an ap­ple of dis­cord, but rather an im­por­tant as­pect of wa­ter co­op­er­a­tion be­tween our coun­tries for years to come, and con­trib­ute to the de­vel­op­ment of our fra­ter­nal peo­ples.

On the dried-up bot­tom of the sea, vast ar­eas of white salt fields emerged, which turned into a new desert, Aralkum, with an area of about 5.5 mil­lion hectares. To­day, hun­dreds of lakes have van­ished in the lower reaches of the Amudarya River, al­most 90% of tu­gai thick­ets along with their in­hab­i­tants. for achiev­ing re­gional agree­ment by adopt­ing le­gal in­stru­ments that pro­mote con­struc­tive and civ­i­lized di­a­logue.

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