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The need for improved human security in Uzbekistan’s vulnerable Karakalpakstan region was recognised on the 1st of August, during a regional workshop on the human security concept. The workshop was organised through the UN Joint Programme ‘Sustaining Livelihoods Affected by the Aral Sea Disaster’, and was attended by 26 local and regional government representatives.
The Aral Sea crisis has had a direct impact on the lives of Karakalpakstan’s population, whose well-being and livelihoods have been put under strain as a result. Both the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and the UN Human Security Trust Fund have recognised the need to support those living in the area, by establishing the UN Joint Programme.
Human security refers to the degree to which people’s needs are met, that they are protected from critical threats and situations, that they can achieve their full potential, and that they can live full and engaging lives. The impacts of the Aral Sea disaster which include drought, salinisation, land degradation, and both water and energy resources limitations, have all impacted local human security.
The recent workshop has helped ensure that Karakalpakstan’s regional and local authorities understand the human security concept, and know how human security can be preserved. The workshop has laid the groundwork for trainings designed to address issues posed by the environmental crisis, and for establishing good governance and social protection services.
The training was attended by representatives of the regional bodies of the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of External Economic Relations, the Ministry of Health, and both district khokimiyats and self-governing bodies of Karakalpakstan. The workshop was based on the ‘Human Security in Theory and Practice’ handbook developed by the United Nations Human Security Unit and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The UN Joint Programme ‘Sustaining Livelihoods Affected by the Aral Sea Disaster’ is implemented jointly by five UN agencies in Uzbekistan, including UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, WHO and UNV, in cooperation with the Government of Uzbekistan and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan.
The programme works to improve the economic, food, environmental and community security of 130,000 people from Karakalpakstan’s Muynak, Shumanay and Kanlikul districts. It also indirectly supports 500,000 people through improved healthcare and governance, and promotes a ‘bottom-up empowerment’ and ‘top-down protection’ approach to development.