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
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 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.
result of catastrophic changes in the environment was the loss of more than
half of the gene pool of flora and fauna.
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.
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.
this regard, the region is marked by the growth of a number of diseases:
respiratory ailments, urolithiasis, oncological diseases.
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.
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.
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.
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 (currency rates of CB RU from
24.07.2018, 1$= 7789.38 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
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.
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 trans-boundary rivers.
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
date, there is no other alternative to address the issue of distribution of
the region’s trans-boundary water resources, except for achieving regional
agreement by adopting legal instruments that promote constructive and
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
the same time, Uzbekistan’s
position on the use of trans-boundary watercourses is as follows:
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
actions carried out on trans-boundary rivers should not have a negative
impact on the existing ecological and water balance of the region;
norms of international water law should be the basis for building an
effective system for sharing the resources of trans-boundary 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
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.
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.
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.
Boriy Alikhanov, Deputy
Speaker of the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis,
leader of the Ecological
Movement of Uzbekistan