Central Asian environmental forum
The Central Asian countries can gain up to US$4 billion a year from mutually beneficial cooperation in water resources. Strengthening regional cooperation will solve the most problematic environmental issues. This was voiced at the Central Asian International Environmental Forum in Tashkent. This year, Afghanistan participated in the forum. One of the main topics discussed was the measures to save the Aral Sea and Kazakhstan's efforts to restore it. The participants also approved Kazakhstan's initiative to plant ‘saksaul’, a type of shrub grown in Central Asia, to improve the microclimate and the general transition to a green economy.
KURALAI KARIBAYEVA, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE OF ECOLOGY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:
- All government and non-governmental organizations as well as international donors have recognized that the result can be achieved only by doing joint work. Therefore, Kazakhstan is rightfully considered as a leader in Central Asia to solve this problem.
The forum participants highlighted that in order to maintain natural balance, it is necessary to develop the production of renewable energy as well as solving the problems of solid domestic waste disposals. According to scientists, more than 300,000 tons of plastic debris have been accumulated in the world.
ZULFUKHAR ZHOLDASOV, SPOKESPERSON, KAZAKH MINISTRY OF ENERGY:
- We have ambitious plans. First we have to reach processing of solid waste to 40%. There are a number of changes in the environmental code on the prohibition of burial as well as on the expanded payment obligation for the import of certain goods such as cars and tires. Wastes need to be recycled. The funds are used to speed up the recycling process. Today, many companies are following the trend of waste processing.
This year, the Global Environment Fund will allocate US$2 billion to the Central Asian countries. These funds will be used to irrigate lands in the states. In return, Uzbekistan proposed to speed up the process of constructing the Amu Darya and Syr Darya water resources, taking into account the interests of all countries in the region.
SHAH ZAMAN MAIWANDI, HEAD, NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY OF AFGHANISTAN :
- Violation of natural balance leads to global warming. In this regard, according to experts, the water use in irrigation will increase by 30 per cent by 2050. Experts said it is necessary to introduce new technologies and joint efforts in all areas.Introduction of a more energy efficient agricultural production method and introduction of more sustainable water use strategies are key areas that also need much greater attention. Such cooperation need to be based on mutual partnerships and knowledge sharing as we move forwards.