The problem of climate changing is very important nowadays. This is a really serious matter, what is going on with the climate is really serious because arctic ice has begun melting so that it can lead to the global elevation of the ocean level. Moreover, climate changing can be caused by the air pollution, destroy the ozone layer and solar radiation can cause overheating of the planet. Besides, changing climate is very dangerous for animals and all human beings because our habitat is also changing.
The world nowadays is so interconnected that any action taken, especially if it involves any impact on nature, can reflect in any part of the world, exceeding all boundaries.
The nature of Uzbekistan is special in that it covers almost all ecosystems - high-mountainous, water and desert zone, in which live more than 15 thousand species of animals and 4,5 thousand plants.
At the same time, it should be noted with great anxiety that today we are witnessing an unprecedented ecological catastrophe that erupted in the Central Asian region. This 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 in the eyes of one generation a whole sea disappeared.
Aral Sea is one of the oldest lakes on the planet and not so long ago it was the fourth largest lake in the world, famous for its richest natural reserves and Aral Sea area was considered a prosperous and biologically rich ecosystem.
Uzbekistan belongs to the category of countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. The Aral Sea was a climate-regulating body of water, mitigating sharp weather fluctuations in the region, influencing favorably the living conditions of the population, agricultural production and environmental conditions.
Due to the drying out of the Aral Sea, climatic changes in the Sea basin are now much more severe than in other regions, and 2 times more intense than the average global values (0.29 ° C versus 0.14 ° C).
Desertification in the Aral Sea area, coupled with the processes of pasture degradation, soil salinization, and the development of aeolian processes, led to the formation of the new desert, Aralkum, from where several million tons of dust and toxic salt rise annually, spreading over hundreds of kilometers.
Shortage and pollution of water resources, decrease in the quality of drinking water, decrease in the area of glaciers in the Pamir and Tien Shan Mountains, where a significant part of the region’s water is formed, pollution and land degradation, sharp decrease in biodiversity, deterioration of the health and gene pool of the population - these are just a short list of consequences of the desiccation of the Aral Sea.
Speaking at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that he “would like to once again draw your attention to one of the most acute environmental problems of our time - the Aral Sea disaster. Overcoming the effects of the drying up of the Sea today requires active consolidation of international efforts”.
Uzbekistan has made significant efforts towards mitigating the consequences of the Aral Sea disaster and the development of the Aral Sea region. Over 250 projects aimed at adapting to climate change and reducing the effects of the Aral crisis have been implemented. The State Program for the Development of the Aral Sea Region for 2018-2021 was adopted. It should be noted that today, in this zone of the ecological crisis, large-scale work is unparalleled to improve the economic, social and environmental situation. In terms of the region’s social development, it is worth noting the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan to lay the Kungrad-Muynak water supply network, which today has been able to provide clean drinking water to more than 25 thousand people in the region. In addition, on the dried out bottom of the Aral Sea, only from December 2018 to April 2019, about 500 thousand hectares were sown with saxaul seeds (including with the help of aviation), furrows were prepared for planting saxaul seedlings on an area of more than 1 million 100 thousand hectares.
Planting desert-resistant plants on the drained bottom of the Aral Sea contributes not only to the maximum amount of sand retention, preventing further degradation of natural resources, but also to creating a favorable ecosystem, as well as improving conditions for climate mitigation in this region.
At the same time, the scale of the tasks to mitigate the consequences of the Aral Sea disaster on the environment and public health in the Aral Sea region necessitates more decisive action, innovative approaches and bold solutions, more effective coordination of efforts, pooling of resources at the national, regional and international levels to prevent even bigger disasters in this region.
The initiative put forward by Uzbekistan to create the Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Human Security for the Aral Sea region under the auspices of the UN. Along with creating an inclusive dialogue mechanism as a single platform for the development of international cooperation and mobilizing funds from the donor community, the Trust Fund is also a tool to overcome the consequences of the Aral Sea disaster. As part of the Unified Strategy, the Trust Fund will help to attract new knowledge, innovative solutions and technologies to the Aral Sea region in order to ensure sustainable development of the region, which can become a hub of environmental innovations and technologies.
To date, the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan has made the first tranche of the Trust Fund in the amount of $ 2 million and in the next 3 years it has planned to contribute another $ 4.5 million. The Norwegian Government has contributed more than $ 1.1 million. In June this year the European Union decided to allocate EUR 5.0 million to the Trust Fund. The German Government is considering the possibility of allocating grant funding in the amount of about 8 million euros for projects in the Aral Sea region. Japan, the European Union, China, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Australia, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Israel and others show great interest in developing cooperation with the Trust Fund. The Trust Fund has already begun supporting the projects in the Aral Sea region and on March 29, 2019 it announced the first call of project applications.
The Roadmap for ensuring the implementation of initiatives and proposals of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the Aral Sea region, voiced at the Summit of the Heads of the Founding States of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea in Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan, on August 24, 2018 the following provisions were approved: declaring the Aral Sea zone as an environmental innovation zone and technology; organization of a special international conference on the development of environmental innovations and technologies in the Aral Sea region in Nukus in October this year; establishment of a Regional Center for cultivation of seedlings of desert and fodder plants; creation of transboundary protected areas in the Aral Sea zone. Currently, 19 project proposals amounting to 41.3 million dollars, which are in the course of negotiations with the representatives of international financial institutions and donor countries are supplemented and regularly submitted to the UN.
We look forward to further support by the United Nations, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Global Environment Facility and other international organizations and financial institutions in implementing these activities.
In order to fulfill the country's obligations under the Paris Agreement, a Strategy for the country’s transition to "green economy" has been developed, which is aimed at consistent modernization of the industry, improving energy efficiency and energy saving in key sectors of the economy.
Development of renewable energy sources play special role in the country's transition to "green economy", especially in its energy sector. In order to create a legal framework, systematically establish priority areas and a set of government policy measures in the field of the use of renewable energy sources, the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the use of renewable energy sources” was adopted in July this year. By 2025, it is planned to bring the share of renewable energy sources to 20% in the structure of energy generating capacities.
The measures taken by the country to save energy and introduce renewable energy sources today have enabled our country to save a significant amount of primary energy sources, mainly natural gas and, accordingly, reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), from 2010 to 2016, carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion in Uzbekistan decreased from 97.6 million tons to 85.3 million tons. According to IEA experts, even with a growth forecast of greenhouse gas emissions by 60% from the current level by the year 2030, due to high pace of economic development and rapid GDP growth, the country will exceed the 10% reduction in carbon intensity of GDP by 2030, which corresponds to the obligated amount by Uzbekistan.
We also express our deep concern about the new evidence of negative effects of climate change, presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, about global warming of 1.5 ° C, which clearly confirms the need for urgent and effective measures in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Mitigation and adaptation to climate change are urgent and pressing priorities for us.
Uzbekistan shares the opinion of the world community on the need to make efforts to combat global climate change in accordance with the capabilities and responsibilities of each country on a fair and equal basis.
To this end, the Republic of Uzbekistan intends, with the support of UNDP in Uzbekistan, to start developing a National Plan aimed at increasing the country's ambitions within the framework of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
To stop the growth of greenhouse gas emissions and, therefore, reduce the negative effects of climate change is possible only in the framework of international cooperation.
We all need synergies to solve common problems. We are convinced that active cooperation and joint efforts will lead to the achievement of our goal on prevention of dangerous effects of climate change.
Today, lives and health of hundreds of thousands of people in our countries and the fate of future generations depend on the speedy solutions to these problems.
Head of the Department for development
of relations with foreign and international
environmental organizations of the Ecological Party of Uzbekistan