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Participants of a seminar-briefing in Tashkent deliberated on preparations for the international environmental forum “Building up cooperation in environmental protection and sustainable development in Central Asia”, due 5-8 June 2018 in the capital of Uzbekistan.

The workshop was attended by representatives of diplomatic missions, international and financial organizations working in our country.

The event contributors noted that Uzbekistan supports the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and makes its own input into the global environmental cause. The objectives of realizing the goals of sustainable development are fully embodied in the Strategy of Actions along Five Priority Areas for the Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021, adopted at the initiative of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

Today, special attention is paid in the country to reducing the negative impact of wastes on the environment and public health. The introduction of an integrated waste management system has been launched. A vivid example is a fully functioning cluster of waste collection, recycling and processing in the Bukhara region. The priority is given to the modernization of the environmental monitoring system. Measures are being implemented to introduce mechanisms for encouraging cleaner production, supporting ‘green’ entrepreneurship, promoting environmentally friendly waste-free and low-waste technologies. Work is carried out to conserve biological diversity, especially rare and endangered species of animals and plants of international importance. In accordance with the decision of the President of Uzbekistan, the development of the National Concept in the field of environmental protection has now begun.

The implementation of these and other tasks requires the consolidation of the efforts of all stakeholders not only at the national, but also at the regional and international levels.

In this regard, the forthcoming forum in June in Tashkent aims to strengthen the dialogue between all stakeholders on environmental issues and the formation of joint actions for sustainable development of the region. The goal is to create an effective platform for working out coordinated practical measures aimed at solving regional problems by uniting all stakeholders, including business and the scientific community.

The forum is expected to include the participation of leaders and specialists of the state bodies for the protection of the environment, water management in Central Asia, Europe and Asia, UN agencies, leading international organizations and financial institutions, representatives of scientific and public organizations.

“The CAMEP will enable countries to bring together positions, outline real projects that actually solve problems,” said CAREC Executive Director Iskandar Abdullayev. “Over the past year, cooperation in Central Asia has significantly improved, for example, on water issues. The political will led to the fact that we now consider water not as a matter of disagreement, but as an object of cooperation, and this makes it possible to solve problems together. It is also worth noting that, by restoring cooperation, we are increasing our economic potential.”

I.Abdullayev also noted that CAREC has been working since 2001 and operates in six countries of the Central Asian region, including Afghanistan. The organization’s activities cover five areas, including such important issues as climate change, energy efficiency, water cooperation, environment and health, education for sustainable development and environmental management.

The head of CAREC stressed that “environmental issues cannot be solved within the borders of individual countries. We also are a center of knowledge, which accumulates information on environmental protection that enters the region. We work closely with public organizations and journalists to disseminate information to the general public.”

The forthcoming forum will be organized by the government of Uzbekistan and the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia. Its main thematic areas are renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, integrated management of solid domestic waste, biodiversity conservation and development of a network of protected natural areas.

“Considering that the government of the country is initiating such a major forum, this is a clear indication that the leadership of Uzbekistan understands the importance of regional cooperation and pooling efforts in addressing environmental issues. Realizing the importance of participation of all the countries of Central Asia in the discussion of regional issues, the European Union expresses interest in participating actively in the work of the forum,” said Doniyor Kuchkarov, program manager at the Delegation of the European Union in Uzbekistan. “To date, the EU has been financing a number of environmental projects, bоth at the regional and national levels, including those aimed at processing solid municipal waste, which is being discussed at a plenary session of the forum. At this point, it is necessary to discuss in more detail in which areas the EU could share its experience, and also to identify what other points of contact exist for strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation.”

Within the framework of the forum, it is planned to hold plenary and parallel panel meetings - each of the thematic areas will identify the most pressing issues of common interest for all countries of Central Asia and develop effective measures for their implementation.

A specialized exhibition of environmentally friendly technologies of Uzbekistan will be held, which will unite the most famous manufacturers and developers of ‘green’ technologies and equipment. Its main sections will be special equipment for collection and transportation of solid domestic waste, technologies for their sorting, processing and utilization, clean production and consumption technologies, renewable energy technologies for agriculture and housing, renewable energy for electricity and heat, and others.

The forum will bring together interested donor countries, international organizations, financial institutions, and will create an opportunity for Central Asian states to present the most relevant and priority projects for sustainable development for discussion and joint implementation.

There will be a media tour for representatives of foreign media, in which journalists will visit the dried-up bоttom of the Aral Sea, as well as the Gissar State Reserve in Kashkadarya region to get acquainted with the rich fauna, flora and natural heritage of Uzbekistan.

“I think this forum is really an important initiative uniting all partners who want to act, that is, not just talking about the environment and the need to protect it, but taking concrete measures,” commented Helena Fraser, UN Resident Coordinator, Permanent Representative of the United Nations Development Program in Uzbekistan. “The briefing showed that the forum will focus on actions that should bring about concrete results, establish partnerships among parties concerned to address the very complex environmental issues faced not only by Uzbekistan and Central Asia, but also, of course, worldwide.”

Uzbekistan Today