INTERNATIONAL HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE “PREARALIE – THE ZONE OF ENVIRONMENTAL INNOVATIONS AND TECHNOLOGIES”
On October 24-25, 2019, Nukus hosted an international conference under UN auspices on the “Priaralie – the Zone of Environmental Innovations and Technologies”.
More than 200 participants of the Conference – representatives of Diplomatic Corps of foreign countries, international environmental organizations, and experts – got acquainted with exhibitions on the consequences of the Aral Sea disaster and projects for their elimination.
The First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr. Ochilboy Ramatov read out the message of the President of the country to the Conference.
A video message of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was translated.
Speeches were delivered by Mr. Boriy Alikhanov (Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis), Mr. Musa Yerniyazov (Chairman of the Zhokargy Kenes of the Republic of Karakalpakstan), Ms. Natalia Gherman (Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Central Asia), Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye (Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations), and Mr. Peter Burian (European Union Special Representative for Central Asia).
The main goal of the Conference is to create favorable conditions for foreign investments in the development and implementation of environmentally friendly technologies and implementation of the green economy principles, develop ecotourism, introduce environmentally friendly energy and water saving technologies, as well as technologies that ensure food security, prevent desertification and environmental migration.
Desiccation of the Aral Sea is a tragedy transcending national and regional borders. Undeniably, this is one of the biggest environmental catastrophes caused by human activities that posed a direct threat to the sustainable development of Uzbekistan and other countries of the Aral Sea basin. Noteworthy, the problem also affects the global ecosystem as a whole.
The Aral Sea disaster aggravated climatic conditions in the region.
Unfortunately, full restoration of the Aral Sea doesn’t seem possible, yet its negative consequences can be mitigated. The most important present task is to reduce the destructive impact of the Aral Sea crisis on environment and livelihoods of millions of people living in Prearalie and mitigate or prevent further aggravation of climate impacts.
The draft concept on three initiatives of the President of Uzbekistan was presented and discussed, namely: organization of the zone of environmental innovations and technologies in Prearalie, adoption of a special resolution of the UN General Assembly on declaring Prearalie the zone of environmental innovations and technologies, and a regional program on the rational use of water resources in Central Asia.
Communique of the International High-Level Conference on Prearalie – the Zone of Environmental Innovations and Technologies
At the initiative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Nukus hosted under UN auspices the International High-Level Conference “Prearalie – the Zone of Environmental Innovations and Technologies” in October 24-25, 2019.
The Conference brought together about 250 participants from 28 countries, including the heads and representatives of international organizations, such as the United Nations, UNECE, UNDP, Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as foreign governments and private companies – Western Export Solutions, Elion Group, and United Phosphorus Limited.
Within the framework of the Conference, plenary sessions and 4 breakout were held; a stydy-tour was organized to the dried bed of the Aral Sea.
The participants discussed a draft Concept for creation of a zone of environmental innovations and technology in Prearalie, a special resolution of the UN General Assembly on declaring Prearalie the zone of environmental innovations and technology, as well as a Regional Program on the rational use of water resources in Central Asia.
During the Conference, a broad understanding was reached that the tragedy of the dried Aral Sea goes beyond national and regional borders. Undoubtedly, this is one of the largest global environmental disasters of our time, with environmental, climatic, socio-economic and humanitarian consequences posing a direct threat to the sustainable development of the Aral Sea Basin countries and the global ecosystem as a whole.
Restoration of the Aral Sea in full is no longer possible, but the negative consequences can be mitigated. The most important task today is to reduce devastating impact of the Aral Sea crisis on environment and life of millions of people in Priaralie, as well as to mitigate or prevent further aggravation of climatic impacts.
Based on the provisions of the UN General Assembly Resolution No. 72/283 entitled “Strengthening regional and international cooperation to ensure peace, stability and sustainable development in the Central Asian Region”, and taking into account the importance of mutually beneficial regional and international cooperation in the region, the participants:
- expressed concern about aggravating consequences of the drying up of the Aral Sea;
- supported the establishment of the UN Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea Region in Uzbekistan (MPHSTF) aimed to overcome consequences of the environmental catastrophe in Prearalie and promote projects to improve the socio-economic situation in this area, and called donor-countries and international organizations to contribute to the development of the Fund;
- underlined the great importance of the established International Innovation Center for Prearalie at the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the aim to improve ecosystem and livelihoods and maintain cooperation with international organizations on the development and implementation of innovations and solutions to varied problems occurring on the salinized dried bed of the Aral Sea;
- supported an initiative of the President of Uzbekistan to declare Prearalie the zone of environmental innovations and technologies with the aim to integrate efforts for attraction of foreign investments in the development and implementation of environmentally friendly technologies; comprehensive implementation of the green economy principles and environmentally friendly energy- and water-saving technologies; prevention of further desertification and ecological migration; development of ecotourism, etc.;
- welcomed the proposal of the Republic of Uzbekistan to adopt a special UN General Assembly Resolution on declaring Prearalie the zone of environmental innovations and technologies;
- highly evaluated the efforts made by Uzbekistan in promoting fundamentally new measures for all-round resolution of problems in the Prearalie region, involving innovations and brand-new approaches;
- underlined the importance of enhancement of efficient international cooperation for promotion of target projects on mitigation of negative consequences of the Aral Sea catastrophe and socio-economic improvement in Prearalie;
- expressed confidence that task-oriented, multidimensional, and systematic interactions between the region's countries, UN agencies, financing and donor organizations will allow developing programs and projects aimed to resolution of the most acute issues in Prearalie;
- thanked international organizations, financing institutions, and governments of the donor-countries for voiced support to specific investment projects and programs.
Taking into account the above mentioned, the participants called international organizations and governments of donor-countries to become actively involved in implementation of target programs and projects in Prearalie.
Following the International Conference, a package of priority investment projects for implementation of environmental innovations and technologies was formed and proposals were presented for inclusion in a draft Concept for creation of the zone of environmental innovations and technology in Prearalie and the Regional Program on rational use of water resources in Central Asia.
In conclusion, the participants thanked the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan for warm welcome and high level organization.