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If special measures designed to avoid and reduce negative impacts on biodiversity are not applied, oil and gas works or other works which result in the destruction of vegetation and animal habitats will lead to the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems.
At the same time measures designed to avoid and mitigate negative biodiversity impacts, even when they are properly implemented, do not always avoid adverse impacts on biodiversity. In such cases, actions designed to restore biodiversity in disturbed territories, as well as compensation schemes which aim is to achieve no net loss of biodiversity, should be are applied.
The questions is here, however, how many people understand what avoidance, reduction, remedy and compensation measures imply, how they can be implemented, and what are the criteria for their success. As a rule, experts and scholars engaged in conducting research in this field have such knowledge, but it is also important that such information and skills are possessed by practitioners in other sectors, specifically oil and gas companies and environmental agencies.
The third meeting of the Interagency Working Group (IWG) of the ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Uzbekistan’s Oil-and-Gas Sector Policies and Operations’ project, which was held on December 3, 2013, provided an opportunity to share knowledge on biodiversity conservation. IWG brings together all parties concerned with this topic, namely representatives of environmental agencies, relevant ministries, oil and gas companies, the Academy of Science, and UNDP. In other words, the IWG is an ideal platform for raising issues of common concern, to discuss them, and to reach a common position on them.
The IWG also allows us not only to cooperate with oil and gas companies in this regard, but also allows us to introduce new approaches to biodiversity conservation to the companies so they could see their benefits and make commitments to implement them. As the representative of the CNPC Silk Road Group LLC in the IWG Stanislav Kim said,
“For business, it is important to obtain specific recommendations which are embodied in the laws and sectoral regulations and which clearly and in detail indicate how and what we should do to put the principles of biodiversity conservation into practice”.
At the meeting the project manager Khalilulla Sherimbetov informed meeting participants about the work of the project in introducing more than 100 amendments and additions to 12 laws, as well the progress the project has made. Then participants were made aware of compensation schemes and such restoration methods as hydro-seeding.
Based on the results of the meeting, a resolution was adopted; also, a plan of activities aimed to equip representatives of oil and gas companies and environmental agencies with some skills regarding the application of the principles of biodiversity conservation was discussed.