Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

18 February, TASHKENT - A press conference has been held at the National Press Centre of Uzbekistan, presenting the climate change adaptation measures introduced by the joint UNDP and Uzhydromet project ‘Developing climate resilience of farming communities in the drought prone parts of Uzbekistan’, as financed by the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund. The achievements presented included those made in supporting farms and dekhkans in the Republic of Karakalpakstan, and in reclaiming the dry Aral Sea basin.

In his speech at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2020, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that: “Another acute problem of our time is related to global climate change. Today, every country feels the negative effects of this process. Unfortunately, such negative developments also pose a great threat to the sustainable development of Central Asia. I would like to once again draw your attention to the devastating effects of the drying up of the Aral Sea. The Aral Sea region became the centre of an environmental tragedy. To mitigate the current situation, we are carrying out enormous work to create two million hectares of new plantations and forests, to form a layer of soil.”

Climate change adaptation is currently a matter of international priority. At the recent Climate Adaptation Summit of 2021, hosted by the Netherlands under the leadership of former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a comprehensive Adaptation Action Plan was presented. This plan outlined practical measures to be used in tackling climate change, adapting to global warming, and achieving climate resilience by 2030.

According to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan No. 4896 dated 17 November 2020, the Centre for the Hydrometeorological Service of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzhydromet) has been designated the body responsible for coordinating actions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Uzhydromet has dedicated efforts and resources to fulfilling convention obligations, particularly building national potential to adapt to already-observed and expected climate changes.

The work of the joint UNDP and Uzhydromet project, as presented to national partners and media at the 18 February press conference, has enhanced the preparedness of the population’s most vulnerable segments to drought while seeking to mitigate its negative consequences. This work has been particularly carried out in the Republic of Karakalpakstan, which is greatly impacted by climate change and requires urgent adaptation measures in response.   

Project achievements presented at the press conference included an early warning system for droughts, which can make forecasts up to eight months in advance, and the adoption of climate-resilient agricultural practices by over 15,000 farmers, dekhkans and homeowners in Karakalpakstan. It was also announced that forest reclamation works had been successfully carried out on 30,000 hectares of the dry basin of the Aral Sea, with there being plans to cover a total of 70,000 hectares of degraded land with vegetation.

The press conference was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Committee for Ecology of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Uzhydromet, the Ministry of Economy and Poverty Reduction, the ‘M. Ulugbek’ National University of Uzbekistan, the Tashkent State Agrarian University, the GEF Agency of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea for the implementation of projects in the Aral Sea basin, the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan, and other key national partners.

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