The European Union has contributed 5.5 million USD to the UN Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea Region that was founded under the auspices of the UN together with the countries of Central Asia. Earlier, more than 1 million USD was contributed to the Fund by Norway. About 3.2 million USD was contributed by Japan to tackle the consequences of the drying up of the Aral Sea.
Aral Sea issues are of the attention of the broad international community. Under the climate change on the planet and global warming, the suspension of drying of the Aral Sea, once the world’s fourth largest lake, and even its partial reconstruction can be a good example for other regions.
So, under the chairmanship of Turkmenistan in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) in the period from 2017 to 2019, the active work was carried out on the development of the Aral Sea Basin Program (ASBP-4) to improve the socio-economic and environmental situation in the Aral Sea and of the UN Special Program for the Aral Sea Basin. Based on this, Tajikistan that is chairing the Fund in 2020-2022 will implement specific measures in line with the water strategy in Central Asia.
As of today, in the Aral Sea region, more than 230 multi-purpose programs and projects totaling more than 2 billion USD have been adopted, About 40 percent of the budget donated by both the countries of the region and partners and financial institutions has already been realized. As a result, the social protection of people of the region has been improved, a number of infrastructure objects have been built, medical facilities have been equipped, and drained territories have been partially developed for forest belts.
So, in March this year, Uzbekistan continued the implementation of a project to plant a sand- and salt-loving tree species in the Aral Sea basin – 100 thousand saxaul young plants have been planted that act as a barrier against the sand from a sandy salt desert that is a breeding ground for dust and salt storms.
In addition, the construction of dams and reservoirs is intensively ongoing on the Amu Darya River. It is planned to build about 200 km of dams in different sections of the river, which would assist to save the water flow from the Amu Darya River to the Aral Sea.
According to experts, the strengthening of the regional dialogue of Central Asian countries on climate change and sustainable development, as well as the active participation of global partners, contributes not only to informing the global community on actions taken by governments to address the commitments under the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It contributes to raising the awareness of decision makers, stakeholders and the public on achievements and progress of the program in the Aral Sea region, which could and should serve as a catalyst in attracting future projects and resources in Central Asia.
Having established in 2018, the UN Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea Region serves as a common platform for cooperation at the national and international levels to address the environmental and socio-economic needs of communities living in the Aral Sea region. The project also makes efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including access to clean drinking water and ensuring the environmental and social security of the region.