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In Uzbekistan’s dry Kashkadarya region, ensuring effective water management and addressing environmental problems are both crucial to agricultural development.
On the 4th of June, as part of the national EcoWeek 2013 awareness-raising campaign conducted by UNDP and its national partners, a meeting was held at the Ayrum Canal that provides Kashkadarya’s Aralovul village and its surrounding farms with a constant supply of irrigation water. This vital infrastructure has been constructed by the UNDP ‘Climate Risk Management in Uzbekistan’ project.
A number of local participants came together to clean and maintain the infrastructure, including representatives of the Kashkadarya khokimiyat (regional government), residents of neighbouring towns, and students from the Department of Environment and Ecology of the Karshi Engineering Economic Institute (KIEI).
The participants also took part in the opening ceremony of the ‘Resource and Information Centre for Climate Risk Management’, as established through the KIEI department, during which the winners of a student ecological outlook competition received awards.
The entrants in the regional competition had prepared papers which discussed environmental problems faced in Kashkadarya, particularly those related to climate change, and the solutions that can help protect the environment.
Also on the 4th of June a seminar was conducted for women farmers and school teachers, where issues were discussed regarding water conservation in school farms and gardens, methods of mitigating water scarcity, and ways of better using natural resources.
This seminar was attended by residents from the Akmola region of Kazakhstan and women farmers from Kashkadarya who 12 months before were educated in the best practices of water conservation, and who now with the support from UNDP’s ‘Climate Risk Management’ project are able to apply new skills in their farms and gardens.
On the 5th of June, World Environment Day, representatives from the ‘Climate Risk Management’ project will meet with students from school №102 at Shahrisabz and the Surkhan Agricultural College, who participated in a competition for the best school project on water conservation in growing vegetables and fruit in home gardens and school grounds.
The contest encouraged students to consider how problems related to climate change can be solved through practical solutions for the protection and conservation of water supplies. The competition winners will be declared on the day, and will then participate in a regional competition for best water conservation projects held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in June 2013.
The EcoWeek 2013 organisers have included the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Nature Protection, UNDP, the UN Office in Uzbekistan, the Small Grants Programme of the Global Environment Facility (GEF SGP), and the Office of the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC).
Information support has been provided by the UN Information Office in Uzbekistan - www.un.uz.