Dushanbe, 17 September 2023 (TDI): The President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev participated at the meeting of the Council of Heads of the Founder States of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) on September 15, in Dushanbe.

The President of Uzbekistan at the meeting put forward certain proposals on the current issues of improving the environmental, water management, and socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea and on enhancing mutually beneficial interaction within the Fund.

The Uzbek President on highlighting the significance of IFAS stated, “The International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea is, above all, a unique experience of multilateral cooperation of the countries of Central Asia in addressing one of the most pressing problems on a global scale.”

Proposals by President of Uzbekistan

Against the backdrop of the functioning of IFAS, President of Uzbekistan proposed to develop “Rules and Procedures” aiming to regulate issues of cooperation and activities of the Fund.

To improve the coordination and effectiveness of the work of the Fund’s organizations, the President proposed, “The Fund’s development and reform process must be held based on cross-sectoral principle – an integrated approach “water – energy – food”, accounting for modern environmental challenges.”

In consideration of the progress of the Fourth Action Program to assist the countries of the Aral Sea basin, he proposed instructing the Fund’s Board to critically review the current Program and prepare road maps for the implementation of every regional project.

It was also notified to strengthen the systemic engagement on the issues of attracting investments, technologies, and technical assistance to advance priority regional projects.

In this regard, each country was proposed to take on a responsibility to attract external assistance into regional projects to develop mechanisms for attracting and distributing investments and technical assistance.

In correspondence, it was proposed to convene a special regional conference to accelerate the implementation of joint projects with the involvement of foreign partners, leading international institutions, and donor organizations.

Also read: 5th Consultative Meeting of Central Asian States in Dushanbe

While emphasizing on promoting a coordinated policy on integrated management of water and energy resources in the region, it was advised to devise long-term development plans for the Amudarya and Syrdarya basins, with the participation of international consultants.

Moreover, it was proposed by the Uzbek President to raise awareness of the need for reasonable use of water and other natural resources, supporting youth initiatives and start-ups through the adoption of a special program.

“We count on close engagement with the Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy in addressing these issues”, the President of Uzbekistan added.

The President of Uzbekistan also highlighted that Uzbekistan is carrying out large-scale work to improve the environmental and social situation in the Aral Sea region.

Furthermore, the President of Uzbekistan proposed to set up a joint working group to study all aspects of the construction of the Kushtepa Canal and its impact on the use of the Amudarya’s water resources with the involvement of research institutes of Central Asian countries.

Also, he proposed to consider involving representatives of Afghanistan in the regional dialogue on the sharing of water resources.

In conclusion, the President of Uzbekistan stated that the implementation of initiatives put forward and the documents adopted during the IFAS meeting will increase the efficiency and expand cooperation within the Fund to benefit the whole Central Asian region.