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“Uzbekistan has rich experience in rational and efficient use of water resources”

 On 12-13 May, a regional conference in preparation for the 6th World Water Forum was held in Tashkent. UzA correspondents talked to some of its members.

Jacques Barrot, a professor of Pantheon-Assas Paris II University, political scientist (France):

“This conference is important because it gives an opportunity to comprehensively discuss very important issues to combat water scarcity in the world. The next World Water Forum will be held in 2012 in the French city of Marseille, which imposes on us an even greater responsibility.

Today Central Asia, including Uzbekistan, face problems with water. The reason for their occurrence in the region was the irrational use of water resources in the recent past. In the welcoming speech of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov to the participants of the forum, a special attention was paid to problems that arise because of environmental and water waste, which led to the drying of the Aral Sea.

I would like to point out that the proposed construction of new hydro giant poses a serious threat not only to Uzbekistan but also other countries in the region. In particular, it is alarming that the Rogun hydro power is envisaged in the zone of high seismicity. In this case, the economies of all countries in the region will suffer enormous damage; thousands of lives will be put in danger. If we consider these threats, Rogun is like a suicide. Therefore, this issue must be objectively, carefully and thoroughly discussed at the international level.”

Danka Talmeynerova, a representative of the international organization Global Water Partnership (Sweden):

“In Uzbekistan, a tremendous amount of work to ensure water security is increasing each year. This is clearly recognized by the international community. We must pay tribute to Uzbekistan, which has rich experience in rational and efficient use of water resources.

However, today there are various water issues in the region. In particular, problems associated with the Aral Sea crisis, shortage of drinking water in the Aral Sea area and air pollution still await their solution. It is distressing that the once-bustling Aral Sea basin, with its large port and surrounding area are now turned into a desert.”

Bart Fokkens, President of the European Center for River Restoration (Netherlands):

“As a result of waste of natural resources, including water in recent years worldwide, a number of environmental problems had occurred. Water is an essential factor in the industry and agriculture. The Aral Sea has become a symbol of the global environmental crisis not only in Central Asia. Because of this, and there is a lot of social problems.

I hope that this conference will be important to address such pressing issues as lack of potable water in the Aral Sea and the decline of its quality, pollution, and others.”

Nino Chkhobadze, a regional member of the international organization Global Water Partnership, Co-Chairwoman of Friends of the Earth green movement (Georgia):

“The problem of the Aral Sea for many years had worried the entire world community. I participated in many international conferences on this topic. If the Aral problem is not solved, then its consequences will be affected not only the population of this region and other countries.

International conference in Tashkent is extremely important for the future of the region. Solving the problems in transboundary waters primarily depends on the rational use of water.

I am an ecologist, which is why, in my opinion, the construction of large hydroelectric power station, regardless of its location, is a problem. The construction of such structure will lead to consequences for the ecology and the environment. Before the construction of such large hydro as Rogun, the projects must undergo an independent international expert to be thoroughly tested.”

Nadejda Prokhorova, director of the Research Institute for the protection and comprehensive use of water resources (Russia):

“Uzbekistan has made huge efforts to reduce the negative impact of the Aral Sea tragedy, further improve the living conditions of the population and solve the region’s water problems.

In some regions of Russia lack of water is still an unsolved urgent problem. Our Institute is engaged in the emerging water management problems, issues of water resources management and training of qualified environmental specialists.

Without water there is no life – it is an indisputable truth. Water resources are limited. Therefore, the actions of Uzbekistan for attracting world attention to the positive solution of this issue are very correct and timely.”

Joel Rizk, Coordinator of East-West Regional Security Institute (Belgium):

“Water resources are important factor in economic development for all countries. Tashkent forum is of great importance in the discussion and search for optimal solutions to problems, such as water security, water management, the impact of the Aral Sea environmental crisis in the gene pool of the nation’s flora and fauna and watercourse regulation of the Amudarya and Syrdarya.

It should be noted that before building new large hydropower plants on top of the transboundary rivers, one should think seriously about the possible consequences.”

Sagit Ibatullin, chairman of the executive committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (Kazakhstan):

“The management and efficient use of water resources is of particular relevance today. Tashkent international conference provides a good opportunity to discuss such issues.

Large-scale reforms at the initiative of President Islam Karimov are carried out in your country to protect the environment, improve the ecosystem, particularly water resources and solve existing problems in the area.”

Laurent Gee, Regional Director, Swiss Cooperation Office:

“Tashkent-forum is an opportunity to discuss such issues as water management, conservation of the hydrological balance at the regional and global level, the modernization of agricultural infrastructure as well as the further strengthening the international cooperation in this regard.

Complex socio-economic, environmental and demographic problems that could dire consequences not only in the Aral Sea, but also globally, should immediately be solved. The solution of such serious issues that are vital to many millions of people in Central Asia, requires a concerted and effective action by the world community.

Our relations with Uzbekistan are gradually developing. For example, now together with your country, we are working on projects on water supply issues.”

Kathy Unger Shayesteh, the project coordinator of CAW Research Center for Geosciences (Germany):

“Our center cooperates with Uzbekistan in the framework of the project “Water in Central Asia.” To address environmental issues, particularly related to transboundary rivers, an open dialogue is required. Today’s international conference in Uzbekistan is a good example of this approach.

In order to solve the Aral Sea crisis and for sustainable development and improved well-being of residents in the zone of ecological disaster, joint efforts and active cooperation of Central Asian countries and representatives of international organizations are needed.” 

UzA News Agency, 16 May 2011

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