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FINAL COMMUNIQUE OF THE HIGH-LEVEL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE “ON DECLARING ARAL SEA REGION AS AN ENVIRONMENTAL ZONE OF INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY”

 

Nukus, October 24-25, 2019

On October 25-25, 2019, in Nukus city the High-level International conference “On declaring Aral Sea Region as
an environmental zone of innovation and technology” was held by the initiative of the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan and under the auspices of the United Nations.

Conference was attended by around 250 participants from
28 countries, leaders and representatives of reputable international organizations such as the United Nations, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as well as foreign private companies – “Western Export Solutions”, “Elion Group, “United Phosphorus Limited”.

Within the framework of the conference two plenary and four panel sessions were held, and participants visited zone of the dried bottom of the Aral Sea.

The participants discussed the drafts of the Concept of creating
the zone of environmental innovation and technology in the Aral Sea region, the UN General Assembly Special Resolution
on declaring the Aral Sea region as a zone of environmental innovation and technology, as well as the Regional Program for the rational use of water resources in Central Asia.

During the conference it was agreed that the problem of drying the Aral Sea is a tragedy that goes beyond national and regional borders.

No doubt, that it is one of the largest global ecological catastrophe of nowadays, bearing environmental, climate, socio-economic and humanitarian consequences that pose a direct threat to the sustainable development of the countries of the Aral Sea Basin and the global ecosystem as a whole.

A full restoration of the Aral Sea is no longer possible, but the negative consequences related to it can be mitigated. The most important task today is to reduce the disastrous impact of the Aral crisis on the environment and the livelihoods of millions of people living in the Aral Sea region, as well as to mitigate or avoid further deterioration of climate impacts.

Based on provisions of the UN General Assembly Resolution 72/283 on strengthening regional and international cooperation aimed at ensuring peace, stability and sustainable development and considering the importance of mutually beneficial regional and international cooperation in Central Asia, the participants of the international conference:

- expressed concern over the aggravating consequences of drying Aral Sea;

- supported the creation of the Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea region under the auspices of the United Nations, which aims its activity at overcoming the consequences of environmental disaster in the Aral Sea zone and implementing projects to improve the socio-economic situation in the region. At the same time, conference participants called upon donor countries, international organizations to make a practical contribution to the development of the Trust Fund.

- emphasized the high importance of creating the International Innovative Center under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which activities are aimed at improving the ecosystem and sustainable life, as well as organizing cooperation with international organizations to develop and implement the innovations and solutions to various problems in saline lands of the drained bottom of the Aral Sea;

- supported the initiative of the Republic of Uzbekistan to declare the Aral Sea region as a zone of environmental innovations and technologies aimed at uniting of common efforts in order to create conditions for attracting foreign investments to the development and implementation of environmentally friendly technologies, the complex implementation of the principles of “green economy”, environmentally friendly, energy and water-saving technologies, prevention of further desertification and environmental migration, development of ecotourism and the implementation of other measures;

- welcomed the proposal of the Republic of Uzbekistan to adopt the UN General Assembly Special Resolution on declaring the Aral Sea region as a zone of environmental innovation and technology;

- highly appreciated the efforts, undertaken by the Republic of Uzbekistan through the promotion of radically new measures to comprehensively address the problems of the Aral Sea region, involving innovative solutions and approaches to the problem;

- noted the importance of enhancing effective international cooperation for the implementation of targeted projects to mitigate the negative consequences of the Aral Sea catastrophe and enhancement the socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea zone;

- expressed confidence that targeted, multifaceted and systemic cooperation among the Central Asian states, the United Nations structures, financial and donor organizations will allow developing programs and projects aimed at solving the most acute problems in the Aral Sea region;

- expressed gratitude to the International Organizations, financial institutions, governments of donor states for their support expressed during the conference to develop specific investment projects and programs.

Taking into account the above, the participants called on international organizations and governments of donor countries to actively engage in the implementation of targeted programs and projects in the Aral Sea region, providing financial and technical support for the implementation of specific investment projects.

By the end of the conference, a package of priority investment projects on implementation of environmental innovations and technologies has been formulated, proposals for inclusion in the drafts of the Concept of creating a zone of environmental innovation and technology in the Aral Sea region, the UN General Assemblies Special resolution on declaring the Aral Sea region as a zone of environmental innovation and technology, as well as the Regional Program for the rational use of water resources in Central Asia were submitted.

In conclusion, the participants expressed gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the warm welcome and organization of this International Conference on high level.

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