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Environmental protection is a key priority of the New Uzbekistan

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Environmental protection is a key priority of the New Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, like many other countries, faces serious environmental problems that have a negative impact on human health and ecosystems. However, taking into account the need to preserve the resources and health of citizens, the government of the country is actively developing measures to prevent environmental crises and introducing innovative approaches to improve the state of the environment. Today, the field of ecology in Uzbekistan is undergoing a radical transformation, and the right of every person to a favorable environment has been enshrined in the new Сonstitution of the country.
The republic has the Concept of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan until 2030, more than 30 legislative acts and about 200 by-laws in the field of ecology, environmental protection, and rational use of natural resources. Among them are the laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan: "On nature protection", "On the protection of atmospheric air", "On water and water use", "On the protection and use of flora", "On the protection and use of wildlife", "On forests", "On protected natural territories", "On subsoil", "On waste", "On environmental expertise", "On environmental control", "On environmental audit", "On the use of renewable energy sources", "On sanitary and epidemiological welfare of the population", the Land Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and others.
In 2021, at the initiative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, a large-scale nationwide program called "Yashil Makon" (“Green space”) was launched in the country, which provides for the annual planting of 200 million trees and shrubs until 2030. As a result, an increase in the area of green spaces in cities is expected from the current 8% to 30%, as well as an increase in the forest cover area of the state forest fund from 7.5 to 15%.
Over the past period, within the framework of the national “Yashil Makon” project, about 500.0 hectares of parks, 935 hectares of green zones, 6179.2 hectares of public parks, as well as green belts around the cities of Bukhara, Nukus, Khiva, and Urgench with a total length of 40 km have been created.
As part of the systematic organization of work on the development of “green” areas, 219.7 million seedlings of fruit and ornamental trees and shrubs were planted in 2023. 2.83 million seedlings were planted around 189 industrial enterprises with a high impact on the environment, "green belts" with 220,000 tree seedlings were created; and 196 garbage collection points were organized, around which arboretums were created.
In addition, in recent years, innovative measures in Uzbekistan that have no alternative in the world include "green covers" created on the dried-up bottom of the Aral Sea. It is important to note that the scope of its application is expanding. In 2019–2023, forest reclamation activities were carried out on an area of more than 1.7 million hectares in the arid areas of the Aral Sea. The "Green Covers" were created using small aircraft and tractors.
According to scientists, the condition of the dried-up bottom of the Aral Sea is ambiguous: there is a big difference in the condition of the site that dried up 5 years ago and 50 years ago. It is not recommended to plant one type of plant everywhere. Each site requires a unique approach. Given the state of the earth, sand, and salinity, only properly selected seedlings can survive. Saxaul seeds were mainly sown on sandy and clay soils, tamarix seedlings and karaburak seeds were sown on saline lands.
To accelerate the planting work on this site, a new unit was created for planting seedlings of desert plants. With its help, the planting capacity increased 1.5 times, i.e. about 4000-4500 seedlings were planted per hour.
Uzbekistan is also conducting consistent and effective reforms in the field of waste management, improving the quality of services provided to the population, and combating environmental pollution. Thus, according to the plan, in 2024-2028, by attracting investments, waste recycling, alternative energy, and organic fertilizer production projects will be implemented in each region of the country. Indicators will also be set for the annual production of 2,000 MW of alternative energy from 2.8 million tons of waste, the production of 1.1 million tons of organic fertilizers from 1.3 million tons of waste by composting, and the commissioning of 14 waste recycling plants.
The Government of Uzbekistan is effectively developing multilateral cooperation with the United Nations and its specialized agencies, as well as with other international platforms such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Fauna & Flora (FnF), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the European Union (EU), the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC), the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), the of the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD), Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI), Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). Various initiatives are being implemented to preserve biodiversity, restore ecosystems in the Aral Sea region, protect the ozone layer and mitigate the effects of climate change, and manage waste. There are also strategies and programs aimed at ensuring public access to healthy nutrition and clean water.
Regional cooperation is also in the spotlight, as Uzbekistan, together with other Central Asian countries, voices the region’s unified position on the climate agenda and works to expand mutually beneficial bilateral and regional cooperation on the use and implementation of modern energy technologies and resource-saving and low-GHG technologies, as well as biodiversity monitoring and conservation programs.
The country has joined and ratified several international conventions in the field of environmental protection. Uzbekistan is a party to 12 environmental conventions and relevant protocols for its development in the field of environmental protection and the use of natural resources.
The Republic fulfills its obligations under the conventions by implementing national and international projects aimed at improving and stabilizing the state of the natural environment.
Over the past year, Uzbekistan has hosted two global events: The 21st session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (CRIC 21), held from November 13 to 17, 2023, and the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP14), held from February 12 to 17, 2024, in Samarkand.
It is worth noting that to effectively manage local, regional, and global environmental problems, strengthen regional cooperation in the field of ecology and environmental protection, and introduce innovative ideas, practices, and technologies to the realization of the scientific and intellectual potential of Uzbekistan, the Central Asian University of Environmental and Climate Change Studies (Green University) was established in Uzbekistan.
At the same time, Uzbekistan is actively working to raise the environmental awareness of the population. Environmental education programs are being introduced in educational institutions, and mass actions and events aimed at drawing attention to environmental issues are being organized. The participation of young people, who are actively involved in environmental initiatives and projects, plays an important role in this process.
Various innovative technologies are being introduced to ensure sustainable development and improve the ecological condition of cities and districts in Uzbekistan. In particular, automated air and water quality monitoring systems are actively used, and energy-efficient and environmentally friendly technologies are being introduced in industry and construction. All these measures are aimed at reducing the negative impact on the environment and creating comfortable living conditions for citizens.
Thus, Uzbekistan is making confident steps towards sustainable development and improvement of the ecological state of the country. The implementation of the "Yashil Makon" project and other environmental initiatives makes it possible not only to solve current problems but also to create a basis for long-term sustainable development. It is important to continue this course by involving the international community in cooperation and introducing advanced technologies and practices. The transformation of the environmental sphere and the introduction of innovative approaches to natural resource management and environmental protection will ensure a healthy and favorable future for current and future generations of Uzbekistan.