For a short period by historical standards, the Republic of Uzbekistan entered a completely new stage of development and achieved significant success on this path. This became possible due to the implemented set of measures implemented on the basis of the "Action Strategy", which in turn made it possible to increase the well-being of the people, ensure the protection of human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and social justice, and give a new impetus to the innovative development of all spheres.
Such a systematic approach, developed by the President of Uzbekistan, became the foundation for the next evolutionary step forward - the adoption of the Development Strategy for a new Uzbekistan, which directs the power and potential of a hardworking and wise people in a creative direction. Another important feature of the program is to unite the multinational population of the country to achieve common noble goals, which gives citizens confidence in the future and their own strengths. The honest and internationally recognized victory of Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the recent presidential elections in the country is, on the one hand, high confidence of the people, on the other, a mandate to continue reforms to build a new Uzbekistan as a key thesis of the election program.
In a speech at a joint meeting of the Legislative Chamber and the Senate of the Oliy Majlis, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized that on the way of building a new Uzbekistan, the strict fulfillment of the requirements of the Constitution and regulatory legal acts, the full implementation of the priority principle "In the name of honor and dignity of man" and henceforth remain the main criterion of reforms. At the same time, speaking of human dignity, “we mean the creation of decent living conditions and modern infrastructure, qualified medical care, quality education, social protection and a healthy ecological environment for every citizen of the country,” the President emphasized.
The development strategy of the new Uzbekistan consists of seven interrelated directions. One of the priority tasks is environmental. Recently, both the appearance of the planet and the geography of the climate have changed significantly. Over the past 40 years, the thickness of the Earth's polar cap has decreased by 40%. The harmful effects of climate change are already seriously affecting the ecosystem: biodiversity is decreasing, fish stocks are being depleted. Desertification consumes more and more fertile land, natural disasters are more frequent and more destructive.
This suggests that nature is not just wealth, but the natural environment of a person who is a part of it. Consequently, the limits of development of "Homo sapiens" are not determined by mere consumption of natural resources.
The entire ecosystem maintains stable environmental conditions that are favorable for life in general and for humans in particular. It became obvious that his intervention in natural processes had already gone so far that the changes associated with this could be irreversible, and the destructive consequences could only become insurmountable by local environmental protection measures.
As Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted at the inauguration in November this year, today humanity is faced with global problems, and their solution is of extreme urgency.
Uzbekistan did not stand aside either. Environmental threats persist in the country, which was once again confirmed by the dust storm observed in early November. During this period, cold air from the regions of the Urals invaded the territory of the republic. An increase in wind was observed up to 12-15 m / s, in some places in Bukhara, Navoi, Jizzakh regions - up to 20-25 m / s. Under the influence of gusts of wind, the highly dried up topsoil rose up, creating the effect of dusty-sandy haze with a deterioration in visibility up to 100-200 m in a number of regions of the country. Its formation began on the territory of southern Kazakhstan and gradually spread to the central and southern regions of Uzbekistan. It was most clearly manifested in the Turkestan region of Kazakhstan, in the Tashkent and Sirdaryo regions of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Dust storms are quite frequent throughout the territory of Central Asia and neighboring states. However, the masses of sand and dust lifted into the air dissipate and settle soon after the wind weakens. In this case, the inversion layer in the lower atmosphere, which formed in the cold air mass on November 4-5, delayed the process of dust dispersion, resulting in a phenomenon unusual for this region - dusty haze.
This incident once again clearly demonstrated the importance of special attention to consistent work in the field of environmental protection, environmental safety, rational use of natural resources, and improvement of sanitary conditions. We see the strategic importance of the implementation of the environmental aspect of the "New Uzbekistan" idea, which is to contribute to the achievement of the common and main goal - to provide decent living conditions for the people, to justify the trust of compatriots, consistently solving their pressing problems.
Today, one of the country's main documents in the field of ecology is the Concept of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan until 2030, approved by the relevant Decree of the President of the country dated October 30, 2019. According to the document, an integrated approach and principles of strategic planning have been introduced in the implementation of state functions in the field of environmental protection, and the environmental authority has been endowed with the necessary powers to effectively fulfill the tasks set.
The implementation of the Concept identified the priority areas of state policy in the field of environmental protection, the use of effective mechanisms for prevention, detection and suppression of violations of environmental legislation, strengthening the personal responsibility of heads of state bodies and economic entities, citizens for the sanitary and ecological state of the republic's settlements, as well as achieving the National goals and sustainable development targets for the period up to 2030.
In this regard, it is possible to single out a number of strategically important directions for solving urgent problems in the field of environmental protection and rational use of natural resources. In particular, the improvement and modernization of the current regulatory framework of environmental legislation. Today, there is an active process of a radical change in the previous system, the widespread introduction of an environmentally sound method of management instead of administrative management of natural resources. This contributes to the establishment of legal, economic, social and organizational norms for the preservation of environmental conditions and the rational use of natural resources. A balanced harmonious development of relations between man and nature, sustainable development of ecological systems, natural complexes and individual objects is also ensured, the rights of citizens to a favorable environment are guaranteed.
Currently, Uzbekistan has more than 30 legislative and about 200 by-laws in the field of ecology, environmental protection and rational use of natural resources. Among them are the laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On the protection of nature", "On the protection of atmospheric air", "On water and water use", "On the protection and use of the flora", "On the protection and use of the animal world", "On the forest", “On Protected Natural Areas”, “On Subsoil”, “On Waste”, “On Environmental Expertise”, “On Environmental Control”, “On Environmental Audit” (dated March 15, 2021: comes into force after 12 months from days of its official publication), "On the use of renewable energy sources", "On the sanitary and epidemiological well-being of the population", the Land Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan and others.
This clearly shows that the country's environmental legislation covers many issues of relevant activities, the regulation of the system of state bodies, the distribution of functions and powers between them, the preservation of biological diversity and access to information, the use of economic mechanisms. Moreover, a number of legislative acts have introduced norms that protect the environmental rights of citizens and develop environmental democracy.
It should be noted that one of the elements of the environmental policy of the new Uzbekistan is a significant improvement in the quality of the environment in areas with an increased degree of risk to human health and the stabilization of ecosystems.
During the above speech at a joint meeting of the chambers of the Oliy Majlis, the head of state noted that the situation related to the Aral Sea is becoming more and more acute. In this regard, in this direction, it is necessary to carry out systemic and comprehensive measures to implement a special resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on declaring the Aral Sea region a zone of environmental innovations and technologies, adopted at the 75th session on May 18, 2021. It is also important to intensify the work on the development of the World Environmental Charter, aimed at the formation of a new environmental policy of the United Nations.
The value of the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan to transform the Aral Sea region into a zone of environmental innovations and technologies is as follows:
- mobilizes funds specifically for the socio-economic development of the Aral Sea zone;
- gives an integrated approach to the assistance provided by avoiding duplication;
- directs funds to ensure sustainable development of the region;
- contributes to the innovative development of the Aral Sea region on the basis of mechanisms that bring targeted and tangible benefits to the residents of the region in the field of health care, drinking water supply, job creation, education and more.
At the same time, the scale of the consequences of the Aral Sea disaster requires decisive action, innovative approaches and more effective coordination of efforts, pooling of resources at the national, regional and international levels.
On the initiative of Uzbekistan, the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Human Security for the Aral Sea Region (MPHTFCHB) has already been created and is operating. Along with the creation of an inclusive dialogue mechanism as a single platform for the development of international cooperation and mobilization of funds from the donor community, the MPHTP is also a tool for overcoming the consequences of the Aral Sea disaster. Within the framework of the Unified Strategy, the Trust Fund helps to attract new knowledge, innovative solutions and technologies to the Aral Sea region to ensure sustainable development of the region, which can become a kind of hub for environmental innovations and technologies.
A lot of work is being done to combat desertification. Part of the dried-up bottom of the Aral Sea (about 1700 hectares) has already been sown with saxaul seeds (seedlings). Sowing (planting) of seedlings of this plant continues on an area of more than 100 thousand hectares, which contributes not only to the maximum volume of sand retention, preventing further degradation of natural resources, but also to the formation of a favorable ecosystem, and will also create conditions for climate mitigation in this region.
Uzbekistan belongs to the category of countries most vulnerable to climate change. Currently, the need for water for irrigation and environmental needs is not being met, and under the conditions of climate change, the shortage of water resources in Central Asia will significantly increase.
Uzbekistan uses 69 percent more of its water reserves, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). FAO experts emphasize the need for better water management and agricultural modernization. Global warming is negatively affecting the water supply of agricultural production systems. The amount and regularity of precipitation have changed in many regions of the world. Droughts and floods have become frequent. And because of this, water scarcity is felt more acutely and competition in the field of water resources is growing.
The path to efficient use of water resources lies through the creation of sustainable agro food systems. FAO emphasizes: 72% of the world's fresh water is used in agriculture, 16% - in industrial production, 12% - in the field of domestic services. What are the problems of water supply in agriculture? This is the shortage, pollution and overuse of water. This means that urgent measures need to be taken, namely: to transform food systems and make them more resilient, especially considering that we are confronting the negative effects of climate change, we are confident in FAO.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that accelerated development, a radical increase in its efficiency and the diversification of agriculture as a strategic industry are extremely important for Uzbekistan. The urgent tasks in this area are the processing of products based on clusters and ensuring food security.
Nowadays, the transition to a cluster system has created the basis for dramatic changes in a short period of time. In particular, in the cotton sector alone, fiber processing increased 2.5 times and reached 100 percent. The ecological significance of the clusters' work is manifested in the fact that they have already introduced water-saving technologies on 126 thousand hectares and put into operation 143 thousand hectares. Most of the clusters this year have harvested 35-40 centner of cotton per hectare.
In the process of the country's transition to a "green" economy in 2019, the Concept for the development of environmental education in the Republic of Uzbekistan was approved. Work continues on further improving state standards, developing scientific potential, revising the educational process and the system of advanced training for training personnel in relevant specialties. Teaching aids, textbooks, visual and didactic materials for educational institutions at all levels are published.
Thus, within the framework of the Strategy for the Development of New Uzbekistan, serious and large-scale tasks have been set for each sphere and industry in regions, districts and makhallas, including in the field of ecology. In this regard, it is important to continue to maintain the given pace of ongoing reforms, rationally allocating the resources available in the country and using the enormous potential.