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Economic Aspects | Natural Resource Aspects | Institutional Aspects | Social Aspects |Uzbekistan

NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN

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AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The agricultural sector comprises 62.3 % of the country’s entire population, and more than 44 % of the employable population are employed in agricultural production. The Ministry of Agriculture and Water Economy, Association of Farming Economies are government entities in charge of agriculture. Activities of agriculture are regulated by corresponding regulations.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

In Uzbekistan, the legislative and regulatory instruments directly affecting land and water issues, and therefore agriculture, establish the requirements concerning the location and use of land, the rational use of resources, and the protection of land and water sources against pollution by fertilizers and pesticides. These measures include: the Presidential Decree of 3 April 1996 on Measures of State Support for Agricultural Production; the Land Act of 20 June 1990; the Small Private Farms Act of 3 July 1992; the Property in Uzbekistan Act of 30 October 1990; the Land Leasing Act of 19 November 1991; the Water and Water Use Act of 6 May 1993; the Environmental Protection Act of 9 December 1992; and the Natural Resources Special Protection Act of 7 May 1993.

In addition, the following special regulations relate to water management and use: "Water protection zones, reservoirs and other storage facilities, rivers and main canals and collector networks, and sources of drinking, medicinal and mineral water in the Republic of Uzbekistan" of 7 August 1993; and "Limitation of water use in the Republic of Uzbekistan" (interim regulation) of 3 August 1993.

The Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "About Water and Water Consumption" was adopted at the national level for the purposes of effective use of limited water resources; rational water use for the needs of the population and the economy; water protection from pollution, obstruction and exhaustion; prevention and liquidation of adverse impact of water; improving water unit conditions, as well as protection of the rights of organisations, farm and deckhan economies and individuals. Since September 1993 the order of limited water use has been approved and is actively implemented presently.

Several legislative documents have been adopted to improve the legal work of agricultural entrepreneurs in modern day conditions, such as the "Land Code", and laws on "About Agricultural Cooperatives" and "About Collective Farming".

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

The national priority in Uzbekistan is to improve the consumer supplies of environmentally sound food products. To this end, Uzbekistan is elaborating the concept of developing agriculture and fisheries for the long term, which will specify the means of reform and the development of effective and sustainable agriculture under a market system. A system of State regulations and serious support for the country's agro-industrial complex is envisaged.

The Government has developed the National Environmental Action Plan in 1999, which defines the provision of sustainable agriculture as the first priority problem that requires urgent decision-making on integrated water, land and salinity management. The main goals of the Plan are: (1) improving the health of human habitat, (2) increasing the effectiveness of nature use and halving the economic damage caused by the exhaustion of natural resources, and (3) protecting the most vulnerable and valuable elements of Uzbekistan’s nature, especially its flora and fauna. The Plan is expected to strengthen and develop the policy decisions adopted earlier on ecological problems, and to integrate environmental problems into specific programs and the projects. In particular, the national legislation requires compulsory ecological expertise for all investment projects and programs, as well as the preparation of an Impact Assessment on Environment for each project.

Agriculture, together with other economic sectors, is situated in a process of extensive reforms. The main goals of the reform are provision of food security, extension of the export potential, and increase of production effectiveness. To achieve these goals, the following solutions will be implemented: 1) setting up an effective system of multi-structural economy and a class of proprietors, by means of conducting institutional reforms in rural areas, taking into consideration the plurality of possible legal forms of agricultural production; 2) an extension of rights and promotion of economic self-dependence in agricultural entities; 3) formation and development of production, social and market infrastructures; 4) enhancement of farming cultivation and land fertility; 5) rational and effective use of existing potential land-water resources; 6) development of a domestic system of selecting and seed-growing, and improvement of pedigree cattle breeding.

The agriculture sector has been receiving government support in the forms of: 1) budget financing for operation and maintenance of inter-economies irrigation and collector-drainage networks and constructions; 2) their technical improvement and development; 3) maintenance of satisfactory, meliorated condition of irrigated lands, and low prices for irrigated water; and 4) advancement money for cotton production, wheat production and rice production. Beginning in 1999, a unified land tax system was set up, in contrast with the previous 10 kinds of land taxes. Unified land tax is based on land fertility, meliorated conditions, and irrigation. Pricing policy for the agricultural sector is formulated by the combination of market pricing and rational protectionism.

A National Strategy on GHG Reduction has been developed and implemented in the Republic. The Strategy is aimed at energy effectiveness and energy-saving. However, the use of biomass has not been considered.

The use of pesticides in agriculture is given much consideration in Uzbekistan. Their use is regulated by sanitary standards and rules, such as "About the Order for Chemical Substances Transportation, Keeping and Usage in Agriculture". Under the Cabinet of the Ministers, the State Commission on the Means of Plant Protection was established. The main tasks of the Commission are:

State control of the rules for pesticide transportation, its storage and usage are implemented by the bodies of the State Committee on Nature Protection and the Ministry on Health. The amount of pesticide use was reduced from 85.6 thousand to 18.5 thousand tons from 1990 to 1998. In the meantime, negative changes in crop capacity indicators have not been observed.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

To enhance effectiveness of economical reforms in agriculture and to increase prosperity of the population, the farming economies were given privileges in the forms of tax exemptions on water, land, irrigation, capital and road for two years. These entities have also received credit loans at a low interest rate. A network of these entities has been developed for better services.

Programmes and Projects 

The Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan has developed and adopted several programs for rural sustainable development, including the Program for Agricultural Development, Economic Reforms in the Agricultural Sector for 1998-2000, Programs for Rural Infrastructure, and Non-state Rural Farming and Collective Farming Development. Implementation of state support for new land mastering and improvement of meliorated land conditions are also in process.

To increase productivity of irrigated lands, several programs and government decisions have been adopted. Those include improvement of meliorated land conditions, rational water consumption, implementation of the agriculture system implementation, renewal of agricultural products, effective use of fertilizers and plant protection means, so as to protect the environment of the Republic.

Taking into consideration the limited possibilities of extensive agriculture development due to the deficit in water resources and excess of the working population in rural areas, and to increase effectiveness of the process of agricultural production, the Government has developed programs to increase employment opportunities in rural areas. The program is, in particular, supposed to develop plants for the processing of agriculture primary resources; to expand services for agricultural commodity producers; to involve the rural labour capacity in production of rich mineral resources; to increase the working mobility of the rural population; to provide non-agricultural training to employees and specialists; and to provide continuous personnel training for the agricultural profession. To provide conditions for productive forces of development, the Program of Rural Social Infrastructure Development was adopted in 1996. A relevant market infrastructure is also being created.

To increase effectiveness of water consumption in agriculture, the Government has implemented an Action Program aimed at (1) water saving and water protection, (2) application of integrated water-land resources management and prevention of further salinization of water and soils, and improvement of water quality. The Program includes:

With regard to the World Food Summit of 1996, the Government has not yet conducted an official review of the national food security program. However, for the reinforcement of the national system of food provision for the population, the Government has implemented the agricultural production reconstruction program, by decreasing industrial crop production (cotton, ambary) and increasing cereal and forage crops cultivation. The development in food production has reduced the country's dependence on agricultural imports.

At the beginning of market reforms, measures were launched to strengthen the private sector of the rural population, which makes up 62 % of the total population, with the purpose of halving the acute social consequences of economic transformation. At present, private subsidiary economies and collective farming are responsible for 60% of gross agricultural product, 76.1%of potato production, 69,9% of vegetable production, 60,9% of fruit production, 89,6% of meat outputs, 91,8% of milk outputs, and 64,5% of egg outputs. A regulatory base has been established for operating small commodity producers, and services were organized. The adopted programs, together with programs for increasing employability, social support for the most vulnerable strata of the society, and state regulation of the proceeds, have helped to avoid the threat of starvation and to maintain social stability.

To avoid the problem of poverty, a number of programs have been established aimed at provision and diversification of population employment including granting of highly productive irrigated lands for running private economies; provision of training to workers of different professions; and provision of social support for the most vulnerable strata of the society.

More that 50% of irrigated lands in the Republic are subject to salinization. To provide sustainable agricultural production, the following measures are going to be implemented on a regular basis:

  1. Maintenance and improvement of the irrigated land conditions at through timely repair of existing collector-drainage system and taking actions for its development;
  2. Land watering against salinization;
  3. Monitoring of salinization; and

Elimination of the reasons causing land water logging and salinization – reducing of water losses during transportation and watering, improving of watering technique.

The "Resolution About Small Hydropower Stations Development in Uzbekistan" was adopted by the Cabinet of the Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 1995, whereby a Program of measures on construction of small and middle hydropower stations in the working reservoirs and large irrigated channels has been proposed. According to the Program, more than 130 hydropower stations will be constructed with a total capacity of more than 1200MW during 1995-2005. Simultaneously, a Scheme of Hydropower Potential Use of Little Investigated Natural Water Bodies in Uzbekistan was proposed, in order to construct elsewhere more than 140 small and micro hydropower stations with a total capacity 41 MW. Construction of the indicated stations allows improvement in the electricity supply in remote settlements that experience difficulties in accessing environmentally sound energy. In accordance with the adopted Program, now, hydropower stations have been constructed in: (1) Tupolak reservoir (175 MW), (2) Akhangaran reservoir (21 MW), (3) Gissar reservoir (45 MW), and (4) Obvodnoi Dargom channel (3 MW). Elsewhere, 11 small hydropower stations have been designed.

In addition, the National Strategy on GHG Reduction was prepared and has been implemented. The possibilities of using renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal) are being studied. To accelerate the construction works of these stations, the Government has proposed taxation on profits from operational stations to use it for reinvestments, as well as measures to attract foreign investments.

Status 

Republic of Uzbekistan has 4,3 millions ha of irrigated lands which accounts for 97-98% of the entire agricultural production. Any withdrawal of these lands for non-agricultural use is only possible under the decision of the Cabinet of the Ministries. The location of agricultural plants corresponds with the climate condition of different regions of the country. As a result, water land areas of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, Khorezmskaya, Sur-Khandarjinskaya, Syr-Darjinskaya oblasts are known for rice production, while the mountain areas of Samarkandskaya and Kashkadarjinskaya oblasts are known for production of tobacco, and flood lands of Chirchk river of Tashkentaskaya oblast have ideal growing conditions for ambary, etc.

The years of reform in Uzbekistan have seen radical changes in the structure of agriculture. Almost all the State and collective farms have been transformed into joint stock companies or small private farms. Farm owners have become the main producers of agricultural goods. By the beginning of 1997, 19,800 small farms had been established on 308,200 ha of irrigated land. The non-State sector produces 97% of the gross agricultural product. As a result of privatization, the processing and marketing of farm products are undergoing considerable changes.

Agriculture, together with other economic sectors underwent wide-scale reforms. The methods of land management were radically changed in the process of privatisation. Beginning in 1992, most part of the state economies have been transformed into joint and joint-stock companies, and state economic entities were reduced to 53 by early 1999 as compared with 1061 in 1992. At present, 502 joint economies have been transformed into agricultural cooperatives.

In the process of transferring to new market conditions, Uzbekistan’s agriculture is a factor of stabilization for the national economy, and its most sustainable sector. The share of agricultural output in the Gross Domestic Product amounts to 25-30 %, and it provides 70 % of internal commodity turnover and 55 % of the country's currency receipts. More than 44 % of the economically active population are employed in agriculture and are connected with the branches of agro-industrial complex. In contrast to other economic sectors of the transition period, agriculture did not experience the large recession, and the 3 to 5% drop in production was caused by the influences of seasonal factors and structural reorganization of agricultural production.

From 1992 to 1998, 117.1 thousand ha of lands have been newly irrigated in Uzbekistan. However, at the same time, the needs of non-agricultural users amounted to approximately 112.1 thousand ha of land. As a result, the total area of irrigated lands remains at the same level. Reconstruction of the irrigated lands and improving 376.2 thousand ha of land have been undertaken, amounting to 8.8 % of the total area of irrigated lands.

For the past years the Republic has achieved a stable growth in the production of grains in all economic categories. In fixed weight the volume of production was:

Years Thousand tons
1994 1675.0
1995 2952.8
1996 2680.4
1997 3221.4
1998 3650.8

Stabilization of agricultural development has provided the urban and rural markets with produces at sufficiently low prices. The governmental order applies only to row-cotton and grain production, but its share is gradually decreasing. The governmental order for row-cotton was 30 % of the total volume of production in 1991 as compared to 95 % in 1990. The governmental order for grain production has been reduced to 25% in 1998, as compared to 67% in 1994.

Fodder production is mainly based on the irrigated lands, and forage crops occupy about 350-400 thousands ha. Astrakhan production is based on desert and semi-desert pastures. As a result of the economic reforms implementing de-monopolization, reorganization of production, and farming development, livestock is concentrated in the private sector and its share among agricultural entities is 9 % of the entire meat production, 7 % of milk production, and 47 % of egg production. Laws such as "About Veterinary Service", "About Pedigree Matter", "About Farming Economies" have been adopted. Pedigree work is concentrated in special economies that purposefully try to improve and preserve the animal genetic potential.

Formation of a proprietor is provided at the expense of family contract development, transfer into long-term lease of the gardens and the vineyards. At present, more than 95% of grain-crop areas and 87 % of cotton fields are cultivated under the terms of the contract. About 54 thousands ha of gardens and more than 28 thousands ha of vineyards have been handed over to long-terms leases. More than 28,5 thousands farms on 580 thousands ha of arable lands have been established. 148 thousand peoples have been released from agriculture at the expense of kolkhos transformation into joint companies.

Fertiliser use has declined from 1872.5 thousand tons in 1997 to 1867.3 thousand tons in 1998. During the period 1990-1998 the total use of pesticides was reduced from 85.6 thousand tons to 18.5 thousand tons. There is no negative change in the indices of crop capacity.

About 90% of the water resources subject to interstate agreements are used for irrigation in Uzbekistan. The water resources include not only the natural flow of the rivers but also its regulation by reservoirs as well as the volume of return and underground water. At present, all possible sources of water including flow of small rivers are practically used for the needs of irrigation. Irrigation of 4,3 millions ha of lands is carried out through a system of irrigated channels with a total length of about 370 thousands km. The Republic conducted an assessment and mapping of the total productive moisture supply, which is 0 to 50 centimetres for non-irrigated, desert and semi-desert territories. The assessment of water availability for agricultural soil in desert and semi-desert territory is made based on satellite information data.

Research or remedial measures on the effect of ultraviolet radiation on plants and animal life have not been undertaken on a wide scale. Scientific observations on stratospheric ozone concentration since 1989 have shown that ozone layer depletion is increasing by 0.5 % per year in the investigated areas. Ozone concentrations are lower by 15-20 % under mountainous areas compared to flat zones. Data on ultraviolet radiation level are used by research institutions for impact assessment, development of the measures on reduction of possible negative impact of radiation at plants, animals and human.

Challenges

In general terms, Uzbekistan's agriculture and its foodstuffs market are in an extremely difficult situation. It is essential to devise a price-setting machinery for fuel, energy resources, and agricultural products; and to ensure the preparation of a suitable legal and regulatory framework, institutional structure, and flow of investments for the sustainable development of agriculture.

One of the most acute problems is land degradation, of which the main causes are deterioration of irrigation and drainage systems, outdated watering technique, and wasteful use of water. As solutions to this problem, measures have been carried out to reconstruct the irrigated systems, to change people's attitudes towards water and land as nature's free gift, and to conduct technical and institutional preventive actions.

Major issues relevant to the water economic complex in the context of rehabilitation and sustainable land irrigation are the problems of transition period such as the lack of facilities for wide-scale projects, general application of advanced water saving techniques and technologies, and watering tools.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

In the Republic, the Association of Collective Farms and Farming Economy provides monitoring activities to train farmers in agricultural production issues in market conditions of economic reforms. Annually, upon request by the Government, training programs are carried out for specialists and workers engaged in follow-up evaluation. Consulting agencies have been established. Specified newspapers and magazines have been issued for rural employees.

Information 

A state environmental monitoring system has been carried out in Uzbekistan. On the basis of integrated monitoring for meteorological, hydrological, and agrometeorological factors, an ecological assessment of the lands has been accomplished. Remote methods for assessment of different changes in hydrometeorological and agrometeorological conditions by means of satellite information of the HOAA system has been developed and used widely. Information is being used to forecast preparation of the conditions for development and productivity of main agricultural crops (cotton, cereals, vegetables, melons and gourds etc.) as well as for the growing of pasture plants.

A monitoring system, using calculated assessment of the average monthly temperature, amount of precipitation and river’s flow during vegetation period, provides projected data to multi stakeholders in the agricultural business for development of actions in the event of drought or other adverse conditions. To a certain extent, it is intended as a safety measure for agricultural plants and fodder, as a whole, and the food stock of the Republic.

At present, statistical information on production and financing activities of economies, their product prices and sale markets has become very accessible to agribusiness organisations, enterprises, complexes and companies. For monitoring and evaluation of sustainable agriculture practices, a system of indicators including economic, social, environment, technical, and others has been developed and used in the country.

Research and Technologies 

An integrated scheme of agricultural crops protection from pests was developed by the Zoology Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The main directions of scheme activity was defined as:

Pursuant to the Edict of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Government has developed a program for facilitating economic reforms in the agriculture sector for 1998-2000 period. The fourth part of the "Integrated Development for Cattle-Breeding" defines actions and approaches necessary towards nurturing of the field, including ways to increase growth of intermediate fodder crops and repeated crops after harvesting yearly plants.

A ramified electricity supply grid, which is assessable for all consumers, has been formed in Uzbekistan. Discount tariff for electricity has been proposed for agricultural consumers. Practically 100 % of all the consumers are connected to the electrical grid.

Electrical grid is also available for agro-inductrial plants located in rural areas. In the natural climatic conditions of the country, with hot and dry climate, irrigated agriculture and structure of agricultural production do not allow a wide-scale production of energy from biomass. Plans related to CO2 sequestration through improved crop and soil management are being developed.

Science and research institutes dedicated specifically for agricultural enterprises and farming economies have developed recommendations on crop rotational distribution, normative use of organic and mineral fertilizers, taking into account the soil condition and agricultural plants, and also effective biological and chemical practices regarding agricultural pests and diseases.

The technical level of irrigated systems is defined by the return flow. In Uzbekistan as a whole, the return flow is about one half of the water-intake, depending on the watering technique and perfection of the irrigated system. It varies within the 25 to 60% range, in different territories. The collector-drainage water with a high level of mineralization with residues of mineral fertilisers and pesticides is a source of pollution for the river flow and fresh underground water. The measures aimed at reducing the adverse impact of irrigated farming on water quality consist of complex technical and organisational actions aimed at decreasing water losses in irrigated systems and in the fields, improving technique and tools for watering and carrying in fertilisers and pesticides, maintenance of agro-technical requirements on growing agricultural crops and their optimal allocation.

Financing 

To increase productivity of the irrigated lands and enhance sustainable agriculture, the Government pursues a policy of governmental support for irrigated farming. Such means include reconstruction of the irrigated lands and improving their meliorated conditions, technical improvement of irrigation systems and maintenance of sustainable hydro-technical facilities, reservoirs and pumping stations, all at the expense of the governmental budget. Operation and maintenance costs for inter-economies and constructions are also covered by the government budget. The reconstruction of irrigated lands and their amelioration in areas of 268.1 thousands ha was carried out between 1992 and 1998. Such works have been implemented in the framework of systematically developed state programs.

Investment in projects connected with rehabilitation and maintenance of productivity of the irrigated lands, which were implemented during 1992-1998, is estimated at 2.5 billion of Sums ( prices for 1991 or $ 2,5 billion). In 1999 an integrated land tax based on land fertility, irrigation and soil condition has been incorporated for agricultural commodity producers. For the purpose of strengthening the financial position of the economies, low profitable and unprofitable agricultural economies have been paid off their debts. A special fund was established under the Ministry of Finance for implementation of the payments for agricultural production bought by the Government. Sanitation of unprofitable enterprises takes place occasionally.

Cooperation

In terms of international cooperation, there are several bilateral and multilateral agreements relating to agriculture, particularly with the Commonwealth of Independent States and the countries of Central Asia.

Agricultural production is impossible under arid climate. The water resources for irrigation are derived from transboundary rivers, Amydarya and Syrdarya of Aral Sea basin. Water use management at regional level is carried out based on multilateral and bilateral interstate agreements, which define the terms and the limits of water use by the Central Asian states.

The government of Uzbekistan has intensified cooperation with the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the TASIS Program. Cooperation has taken place in the fields of agricultural entities reconstruction, provision of agricultural entities with commercial credits, improvement of irrigation and drainage systems, and application of new special technologies for agricultural production.

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This information was provided by the Government of Uzbekistan to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: November 1999.

For information on agriculture from the Ministry of Macroeconomics and Statistics, click here:
To access the FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to link to Country and Sub-regional Information on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

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ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

As part of the development of international cooperation for the protection of the atmosphere against anthropogenic activities, Uzbekistan signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1993. The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the London and Copenhagen Amendments to the Montreal Protocol were signed in 1995.

The signing of the UNFCCC was particularly important for Uzbekistan, for it is among the countries which are extremely vulnerable to climate change. The desert and semi-desert zone occupies more than 80% of its territory. The increasing shortage of water resources may lead to further degradation of agricultural and ecological systems.

In 1996, the Supreme Assembly adopted the Protection of the Atmosphere Act, which takes into account the national experience in this area as well as international requirements.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

For the purposes of coordinating the activities of ministries, agencies, and organizations in the prevention of dangerous climate changes, measures have been prepared to adapt the economy and the environment to such changes. In October 1995, the Government created the National Commission on Problems of Climate Change and specified its functions. Its members include managers and experts from more than 30 of the country's ministries, agencies and scientific centres. A plan of action has been prepared and is being implemented. A Working Group on Protection of the Ozone Layer, composed of representatives of the relevant ministries and agencies, has commenced work on a national programme to protect the ozone layer. The Committee is responsible for the legal regulation and monitoring of emissions from industrial enterprises and motor transport. The State Environmental Protection Committee has been designated the lead agency for matters connected with the implementation of these instruments. The Principal Hydrometeorological Office is responsible for monitoring the state of the atmosphere.

Programmes and Projects 

A State energy programme to 2010 is under preparation and will reflect the possibilities of using non-traditional types of energy (wind, solar, and water). A programme on small hydroelectric stations was adopted by a Cabinet of Ministers Decree in 1995. Since 90% of the country's energy is produced at thermal stations whose atmospheric emissions account for more than 30% of total emissions from stationary sources, these documents are of great significance for the environment.

Status 

In December 1995, the National Commission on Problems of Climate Change held a regional seminar to start coordinating the work on reducing the adverse impact of economic activity on climate and formulating specific measures for each ministry.

The processes of economic restructuring which have been given priority in Uzbekistan since 1991, together with some decline in economic performance, have brought with them definite improvements in atmospheric conditions. Emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere from stationary and moving sources have fallen from 2.6 to 1.9 million tons a year. The work of protecting the atmosphere is funded from the State budget, the resources of Uzbek enterprises and organizations, and local budgets. International donors support project execution, preparation of national programmes, and reporting.

Information 

The findings of the inventory of greenhouse gases made in 1995-1996 and the structure of Uzbekistan's national report on climate change were considered at a National Commission meeting.

Cooperation

Since 1993, Uzbekistan has taken an active part in the preparation and work of sessions of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the first and second Conferences of the Parties, and subsidiary bodies of the Conference of the Parties. In November 1996, the National Commission held a regional seminar for the countries of Central Asia in conjunction with the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. A second intergovernmental consultative meeting on the Montreal Protocol for countries with economies in transition was held in May 1997. Uzbek national experts take part in the work of the meetings and seminars of the Moscow State Economic Institute and of regional and international seminars on climate change.

The problems of climate change are kept under constant review by the Inter-State Council on Hydrometeorology, which coordinates the activities of the hydrometeorlogical services of the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The Council has overseen work on issues connected with the preparation of national reports on activities under the Convention carried out by CIS members, and the formulation of coordinated proposals for the establishment of a greenhouse gas monitoring network in the territories of CIS countries.

Cooperation with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has established the 1997-1998 project "Uzbekistan - Country Study on Climate Change." Under this project, a start was made in 1997 on the compilation of a national register of emissions and sources of greenhouse gases, an evaluation of the impact of climate change, and formulation and assessment of relief and adaptation measures.

The Heads of State of the countries of Central Asia hold regular meetings to address the problems of the Aral Sea Basin. They adopted the Nukus (1995) and Almaty (1997) Declarations. The International Fund to Save the Aral Sea has been established, with its Executive Board located in Tashkent.

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for national information from the Web site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
For the access to the Web Site of the Ozone Secretariat, click here:

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BIODIVERSITY

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

Uzbekistan has acceded to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was ratified by the Supreme Assembly on 6 May 1995.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

The State Environmental Protection Committee has established an Intersectoral Coordination Council (Steering Committee). The Council will set up supporting groups if necessary. A project to develop a national strategy to preserve biological diversity and a plan of action is currently underway. In addition, work is proceeding on a frontier project on biodiversity (Western Tyan-Shan).

The policies of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had an extremely adverse impact on the country's ecology, especially in the Aral Sea region. It is very difficult to halt these established processes which are affecting environmental stability. Uzbekistan must make every effort to correct the environmental imbalances which have already appeared. The only way to do this is to preserve and restore natural ecosystems at a sufficient level to guarantee the stabilization and support of biosphere processes.

Financing 

In Uzbekistan, financial support for biodiversity comes from the State budget, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

A variety of activities are being carried out under bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements. Governmental project UZB/96/G-31/A-1G/014, for example, has been approved by UNDP.

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here:
For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Query System, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

In Uzbekistan, the National Commission to Combat Desertification and Drought has now been established. The Commission coordinates the activities of ministries and agencies connected with combating desertification and drought, including the implementation of the United Nations Convention and informing the population about the work done in these areas. Work has started on the preparation of a national programme.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification Particularly in Africa was ratified by Uzbekistan on 31 October 1995. Pursuant to Article 26 of the Convention, Uzbekistan will submit reports on its implementation in accordance with the form and schedule for submitting information.

Status 

Desert and semi-desert occupy about four-fifths of Uzbekistan's land area. Almost all crops are produced on irrigated land. There are about 7.5 million ha of desert forest and 25 million ha of desert grazing land. Thus, desertification and drought are extremely significant for the country's economy. Intensive processes of desertification are at work in the shrinking of the Aral Sea. In total, 33,400 km2 of sea bed has dried up.

Financing 

The State budget; international organizations and donor countries; and the public funds of organizations, enterprises, and commercial organizations finance the work on desertification in Uzbekistan.

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:

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ENERGY

Status 

A State energy programme to 2010 is under preparation and will reflect the possibilities of using non-traditional types of energy (wind, solar, water). A programme on small hydroelectric stations was adopted by a Cabinet of Ministers Decree in 1995. Since 90% of the country's energy is produced at thermal stations whose atmospheric emissions account for more than 30% of total emissions from stationary sources, these documents are of great significance for the environment.

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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FORESTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

State management of forest for its usage, reproduction, and protection is implemented by the Cabinet of the Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan, local authorities, and the bodies of State Committee on Forestry and State Committee on Nature Protection.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The fight against destruction of forests in Uzbekistan is conducted on the basis of a system of rational and sustainable use and sound management of forests. Such a system is purposeful, long-term, and economically advantageous. The preservation of forests as a component of land use is established in the corresponding legislative and regulatory instruments, and in the guidelines and recommendations on forestry in Uzbekistan. These instruments are based on scientific standards and comprehensive assessment of the possible impacts on forest ecosystems.

State forest management is based on a special legislation, the main documents of which are: the Forest Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan; "About Nature Protection" (1992); "About Especially Protected Territories" (1993); and "About Protection and Use of Animal and Vegetable World" (1997). Directive documents of the Government regulate the regime of non-exhaustive and continuous use of forest resources, responsibility rules are established against damages to the vegetable flora.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

The national policy of forest resources management is based on the concept of sustainable forest development, which is reflected in the action plans of nature protection and bio-diversity conservation.

In accordance with the Forest Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan, all of the forests constitute the state fund. There is no private possession of the forests. A direct economic value of the forests is insignificant, since for the most part, the existing species are not much of a use for industrial treatment. However, the ecological value of the forest for the provision of sustainable development is continuously increasing as functions the forests correspond with protection of the environment and serve to improve environmental conditions, as well as protect and reproduce bio-diversity.

The National Program on Sustainable Development of Forests is built upon the sustainable development principles, with the priorities set on the nature protection policy. Therefore, an integrated approach towards forest management corresponds with the main program defining the nature protection policy till 2010, which is the National Action Plans on Nature Protection and Biodiversity.

Upon proposal by the forestry agencies, the Uzbekistan Government adopted Order No. 2 of the Cabinet of Ministers dated February 8, 1994 on "Measures to Develop the Industrial Cultivation of Poplars and Establishment of Plantations of Other Quick-growing Species." This Order envisages the establishment of plantations on more than 90,000 ha by 2003, in order to satisfy the requirements of the local population for building timber.

Economic assessment of the qualitative and quantitative condition of the forests will be carried out in 2000 for the purpose of promoting renewal, development, and perfection of the forest tract structure, which is an integral component of sustainable ecosystems. Forest zones located in the mountain ranges have a high sanitary potential and can be considered as a base for tourism development.

Uzbekistan has not adopted any proposals from the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) but, nevertheless, regional plans have been developed for the forest sector of the republic.

Programmes and Projects 

The National Program on Sustainable Development of Forests is built upon the principles of intersectoral solutions to the problems. Therefore it is foreseen to carry out the measures that provide positive impact on agriculture, land and water use, development of industrial potential, protection of urban environment, prevention of desertification, and solutions to social matters.

The country's program to combat deforestation has the following components:

Redirection of forest management away from environmentally unsound practices which may contribute to destruction of the environment and biodiversity, and their replacement with environmentally sound technologies for the use of forest resources.

Forest rehabilitation of the State Forest Fond is conducted annually upon 35 thousand to 36 thousand ha of land. Of the area, 13 thousand to 14 thousand ha of forest plantation are placed under soil fastening and prevention of salt and dust transfer from the dried up bottom of Aral Sea.

Status 

Uzbekistan is a thinly forested country: the area of forests totals 9,119,000 ha or 20% of the country's territory. Nevertheless, its forests are of considerable economic importance and their role is increasing as a result of the deterioration of the ecology of the region. They represent a powerful and irreplaceable factor for improvement of the environment. Forests play a protective, water-conservation, health and recreational role, as well as regulating the climate and providing a habitat for the animal world.

Sand forest area, located in the desert zones of the republic, covers the areas of about 8 million ha (84.5 % of the forest areas). In the mountainous forests, located in the zones under a strict use regime, are state reserves and natural parks taking up an areas of 1.4 million ha (14.2 % of the forest areas).

The forests are subdivided into three groups. The forests with protected function (water protected, anti-erosive, or sanitary) belong to the first group. The forests, which have protective and limited operational values (forests in the areas of highly dense population and with a network of transport ways) constitute the second group. The third group is the dense forests having a higher industrial value.

A side use of the forest is being carried out without damaging the environment: On poor soils herbal and food plantations are grown (hips, sea-buckhorn, barberry, almond-tree and others valuable bushes species). Annually, 450 tons valuable herb and food plants can be stored up. Small effects are derived from the chosen forests, due to their main functions of ecological sanitation and nature protection. As a consequence, operational forest development and economic reform management are expected to yield a timber output of 5 thousand cubic meters.

Information 

To control the activities on forest preservation and management by establishment of an informational field, a set of linked indices proposed by international organizations has been accepted. Indices of nature constituting "forest" are used as the basis of statistical data, guidelines to elaborate predictions and programs on forest development and to form forest management policy.

The following indices indicate the progress in forest protection policy and its implementation at the national and international levels: forest restoration assistance towards natural forest renewal in % of total forest area; and capacity funds towards forest resources protection in % of total amount.

Information on activity towards forest protection and sustainable development is circulated in the Statistic Department of Ministry of Macroeconomics and Statistics of the Republic of Uzbekistan. It is made available to federal and municipal officials and related organisations.

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This information was provided by the Government of Uzbekistan to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: November 1999.

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FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Water Courses and International Lakes is in effect in Uzbekistan. The Nukus Declaration of the States of Central Asia and international organizations on the problems of the sustainable development of the Aral Sea Basin (Nukus, 1995), and the recommendations of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on assessment of water quality serves as the basis for such international agreements. Joint management of water resources is under the auspices of the Inter-State Water Management Coordination Commission of the countries of Central Asia.

At the national level, water resources are governed by the Water and Water Use Act of 6 May 1993; the Environmental Protection Act of 9 December 1992; and the Natural Resources Special Protection Act of 7 May 1993. In addition, the following regulations relate to water management and use: "Water protection zones, reservoirs and other storage facilities, rivers and main canals and collector networks, and sources of drinking, medicinal and mineral water in the Republic of Uzbekistan" of 7 August 1993; and "Limitation of water use in the Republic of Uzbekistan" (interim regulation) of 3 August 1993.

Status 

Water is the most valuable resource of the Aral Sea Basin. The region's main water arteries are the Amy Darya and Syr Darya Rivers. The use of their water resources must be regulated to accommodate national and regional interests, and the conflicting interests of economies and ecology.

Uzbekistan has 4,298,000 ha of irrigated land, of which a possible 2,306,000 ha require rehabilitation. In view of the limited water resources in the region, the principal measures for ensuring an increase in the water supply for irrigation are: rehabilitation of land, main inter-economy and intra-economy canals, collector systems, drainage measures and basic land planning. In addition, the use of groundwater and collected/drainage water is an important means of increasing irrigation water supply.

Financing 

The management of water resources in Uzbekistan is supported by the national budget, the budget of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, regional and district authorities, resources of enterprises, foreign investments, bank loans, and other extra-budgetary sources.

Cooperation

With a view to supporting regional cooperation in solving the many economic, environmental, and social problems, the Heads of the five Central Asian States adopted a programme of concrete measures to improve the environmental situation in the Aral Sea Basin in January 1994. This programme takes into account the quality aspect of the region's water resources and envisages the formulation of principles governing the improvement of water quality, the reduction of all kinds of pollution, and the adoption of effective measures to prevent the discharge of waste water with high mineral content, other polluted collected/drainage water, and unpurified industrial and domestic effluents into the rivers and other water sources of the Aral Sea basin.

This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

To coordinate the national policy on integrated land resources management and establishment of land legislation clauses realization mechanism, State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Land Resources was set up by the Decree of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan from July 24, 1998.

To control the activities on land resources utilization in urban and rural areas, State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Nature Protection was established. This Committee is also carried out chemical and radiation monitoring of land pollution.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

To create possibilities for sustainable development of land relations, rational use and protection of land, Land Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan in April 30, 1998 and Law on Land in August 29, 1998 were adopted by the Oliy Majlis (Republic Parliament) of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

For the purpose of providing ecologically clean production, the State Commission on the Means of Plants Protection was established under the Cabinet of the Ministers. The main goals of the Commission are to form and realize a unified policy on improvement and control of pesticides and chemical substances in agriculture, to assist domestic pesticides production, and to expand the biological means for the protection of plants. The amount of total pesticides used decreased from 85.4 thousand tons to 18.5 thousand tons in 1990-1998.

In accordance with the existing land legislation, withdrawing of lands covered with forest plants, for purposes not connected with forestry activity, is allowed in exceptional cases under the decision of the Cabinet of the Ministers. As a result of the Forest Development and Conservation Program, the area State Forest Fond, covered by forest, increased from 17.9 thousand to 19.1 thousands km2 in 1990-1998.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

National Strategy and National Action Plan on Biodiversity Protection was developed in Uzbekistan, together with a special governmental commission for the implementation.

The main goal of the land management policy is combating poverty. The policy refers to food provision for the population, and organization of rational and effective employment for the rural population. More than 290 thousands ha of highly productive irrigated lands have been set aside for the setting up and running of private additional economies during the last ten years. A share of the private economies including domestic farms in cultivated lands increased from 8 to 22 % in 1992 - 1995. Farming economies were given the right of inheriting land lots (without right of selling), privileges in taxation, and provision of fertilizers, seeds and others.

The main orientation of support policy for the best use of land and sustainable management of land resources in market relations is the system of economic, social and legislative measures conducted by the state. These measures are aimed at reforming social-economical relations in the agricultural-industrial complex, with the purpose of ensuring food security, guaranteeing favourable living conditions and economic activities for the population, and providing industries with raw materials. Agriculture produces about 90 % the food needed for the country’s population. Integrated decision on problems connected with production, storage, and processing according to market principles is intended to improve food supply for the population. Over the last 10 years, the total area of private farmland has increased by two-fold, amounting to 516 thousands ha. Simultaneously, measures were taken to provide finance support to private farm owners and to strengthen the logistic base of their association. As a result, the share of private farms in total volume of agricultural production has increased from 27,9 % in 1990 to 60 % in 1998.

Shifting from cotton monoculture and modifying the structure of the cropland structure was second important step taken by the Government with respect to its food and agriculture policy. At the expense of the decrease in cotton sowing, the area of grain-crops increased to 1 million ha, and crop capacity of the fields enhanced so much as to achieve grain independence for the country. The next important step with regard to food security in the government's agricultural policy was privatization and assignation of cattle-breeding farms, small gardens and vineyards.

For the purpose of making best use of the social-economic and nature-climatic potential of rural areas, programs were adopted to develop a productive social infrastructure, to increase employment especially over the transition period of moving from agricultural production to market relations, and to enhance economic effectiveness. Due to these measures, right conditions were established in rural settlements for attracting production investments, building new manufactures for the processing of agricultural raw materials, and involving working potential of the rural districts. As a result of the adopted measures, the rural population migration to the cities has been reduced, and its share in total population of the country increased from 59,9 % in 1991 to 62,3 % in 1998.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

According to the Land Code, local authorities are responsible for:

Oblast level:

District level:

The major groups of rural population are involved in the process of making decisions for land use and land management. This activity is regulated by the laws "About Farmers’ Economy" and "About Dekhcan’ Economy" adopted in April 30, 1998. They define the legal basis for creation, activity, and regulation of interrelation with other juridical and physical persons. The interests of farmers and dekhcans are presented by the Association of Dekhcans’ and Farmers’ Economies.

 

Programmes and Projects 

Programs have been developed for the protection of fragile mountainous ecosystems, in line with development of measures for integrated management of water and land resources in catchment zones. Development of human settlements is implemented in accord with the schemes and general plans for construction of buildings, which limit withdrawal of lands from agricultural production.

Economic stimulation for rational use of nature and protection of lands has been implemented, as follows, according to the Land Code. The measures are aimed at increasing the interests of landowners, land users and tenants in conserving and reproducing land fertility, and protecting lands from adverse consequences of production activities:

The order of these implementation measures with regard to economical stimulation for the rational use and protection of land is established by the national legislation.

Programmes and Projects 

Programs have been developed for the protection of fragile mountainous ecosystems, in line with development of measures for integrated management of water and land resources in catchment zones. Development of human settlements is implemented in accord with the schemes and general plans for construction of buildings, which limit withdrawal of lands from agricultural production.

Economic stimulation for rational use of nature and protection of lands has been implemented, as follows, according to the Land Code. The measures are aimed at increasing the interests of landowners, land users and tenants in conserving and reproducing land fertility, and protecting lands from adverse consequences of production activities:

The order of these implementation measures with regard to economical stimulation for the rational use and protection of land is established by the national legislation.

Status 

Sustainability of land resources in the conditions of Uzbekisatn’s arid climate depends on sustainability of irrigated farming. The crucial factors in this aspect are the management of limited water resources of Aral Sea basin transboundary rivers in the interests of all the state of the Central Asia, legal regulation of water use, and increasing of effectiveness of water resources use. The desertification process provoked by the reduced Aral Sea level has climbed to a threatening scale.

Management of land resources at the national level is dependent on the location of water resources, interstate co-ordination of water consumption limits at the river basins, hydro-meteorological forecast on water contents, reservoir regimes, measures connected with water resources saving, structure of agricultural sowing, technical conditions of irrigation infrastructure, and others factors. Uzbekistan has 4,3 millions ha of irrigated lands which produce 90 % of grown plants.

Land is state property – national wealth – to be subject to rational use and protection by the state, as the basis for vital activities and well being of the population. In this connection, land in Uzbekistan is not subject for buying or selling.

Citizens have the right to land of life-long inherited possession for the following purposes:

The right of life-inherited possession of the land for citizens is certified by the State Act.

The Republic of Uzbekistan belongs to countries with economy-in-transition, whose share of agriculture is about 25-30 % of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Taking into consideration the significance of agriculture sector for providing economy and community sustainability, a wide-scale economic reform has been aiming at guaranteeing of rational use of land recourses. In transition process towards a multi-structural economy, equality of all land management forms and freedom of choice by land users are being provided. Agriculture producers become the owners of produced outputs and revenues. Charges for the use of land have been incorporated. Rational use and protection of land have been enhanced. Legal defense of the rights of land use entities has been ensured. In the process reforming of land relations towards multi-structural economy creation in the agriculture sector, the state agricultural entities have been transformed into joint, rent, co-operative, dekhcan and the others types of farms. At present, agricultural producers of non-state property forms give about 98-99 % from all agricultural productions instead of 63 % in 1990.

Over the years of Uzbekistan’s independence, the cotton monopoly has been liquidated, scientific crop rotation has been initiated, and grain independence has been provided. The government support policy for land fertility, with a view to promoting conservation and productivity, aims at increasing economical self-dependence of agricultural entities.

At the same time, problems remain in the process of integrated land resources management and sustainable development. More than half of irrigated areas have undergone salination, raising the need for additional expenses incurred by water resources deficit. The processes of wind and water erosion, desertification and degradation are continuing. The desertification process caused by Aral Sea level falling is the most adverse and wide-scale. Desert areas have increased by more than three millions ha, while pasture areas have decreased and productivity of existing pastures has been reduced.

Challenges

Desertification in areas below Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers and disappearance water and water-adjacent communities is one of the major regional problems, with respect to biodiversity. The special protection of natural territories plays an important part in preserving the diversity of flora and fauna species of the country. In accordance with the national legislation, referred to this category of land together with natural reserves, national parks, and nature memorial were protected waters of the rivers, channels, reservoirs, resorts and recreation zones, botanical and zoological gardens (parks), and fishery zones. Protective measures were taken for the unique natural complexes of juniper forests, flood-land forests as well as many species of plants and animals included in the international and national Red Book. The protected areas include 9 reserves (one of which is biospheric), 2 national parks, and 9 refugiums, covering about 2 % of the territory.

The problem of solid residential and industrial waste accumulation is very critical in many cities, especially in the most developed and populated ones such as Tashkent oblast. Municipal landfills are occupying areas of more than 5 thousands ha, becoming the pollutant sources on bordering soils and underground waters. Industrial wastes have more high toxic characteristics but considerably less rate of accumulation as compared to residential ones. About 22 thousands ha of lands are occupied with a large capacity industrial storage devise. The role of inspecting accumulation of industrial wastes in soil was designated to the State Committee on Nature Protection. Suits, fines, and administrative, civil and criminal amenability in accordance with the national legislation are used as sanctions for non-compliance with the rules on waste management. Creation of Cadastre for Industrial waste has been planned by the National Environmental Action Plan in 2000.

Information 

Information on integrated management and sustainable land resources utilisation is formed and distributed by the state statistics bodies and the bodies of State Committee on Land Resources.

Land inventories for the creation of informational base for making management decisions are provided through topographical, land-surveyor, mapping, geo-botanical, soil and other surveys and investigations, registration and assessment of lands. The work is carried out by the means of air photography and surface methods at a period of 5-10 years. For assessment of global climate change mitigation measures and adaptation of the country's economy to possible climate changes, GHG inventory was fulfilled in Uzbekistan. First National Communication on Climate Change for submission to the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has been prepared.

A package of indicators, which are characterised by the state, stage of use and integrated protected measures, is a compound part of the unified structure of indicators established by the National Strategy of Sustainable Development.

Land inventory for conducting of Land Cadastre is implemented by the bodies of State Committee on Land Resources on unified system for the country at the expense of national budget. The materials of surveys and investigations are represented to governmental bodies on the places as well as interested juridical and physical persons in established order.

Research and Technologies 

The "Unified System of State Cadastre" is aimed at improving the system of land and land resources assessment in the Republic. The purpose of this system is to provide unified integrated state registration and assessment of natural-economical potential of the country, for which the law "About Land Cadastre" was adopted.

Cooperation

The problem of fresh water resources management is considered in Uzbekistan as problem of integrated management of water-land resources not only at the national level but also at the interstate level. The problem is connected with the transboundary nature of the two main rivers of Aral Sea basin, whose water resources are used by five different countries of Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Management of transboundary resources is regulated by multilateral and bilateral interstate agreements.

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This information was provided by the Government of Uzbekistan to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: October, 1999.

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MOUNTAINS

Status 

High mountains occupy only a tiny part of the Republic of Uzbekistan. As result, the country has not had a special programme of sustainable mountain development to date. Nevertheless, mountain regions are of considerable importance owing to the natural resource potential of the foothills for the formation of river flows.

The specific characteristics of the mountain areas influence to differing degrees the socio-economic development of the regions of Andizhan, Namangan, Ferghana, Tashkent, Surkhan-Darya, and Kashkadar. Fifty-three percent of the country's total population lives in these areas. These regions also have the highest population density, hence the need for accelerated economic development of the foothills and mountains.

The arid climate of the country invests mountain ranges with special importance for the formation of river flows. Water resources are a decisive condition for the sustainability of agriculture, especially since irrigated land provides more than 95% of the total production of crops. This circumstance is of great significance in view of the contribution of agriculture to the country's economy. It supplies some 25-30% of GDP and determines the conditions and sustainability of other sectors (processing, light industry, agricultural engineering, etc.).

Challenges

The following are the most acute problems of mountain and foothill regions:

Cooperation

International organizations take an active part in carrying out programmes related to mountain development. In 1994, a programme of specific actions on the problems of the Aral Sea Basin was adopted by the Heads of State of the countries of Central Asia in Nukus. Such cooperation is conducted under the agreement between the States of Central Asia on joint measures to solve the problems of the Aral Sea and the surrounding area, and to improve the region's environmental status and socioeconomic development.

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

An international conference on the Aral Sea crisis, convened by the United Nations in Nukus in 1995, adopted a decision to draft an international convention on the sustainable development of the Aral Sea Basin and created the Regional Commission on Sustainable Development.

Decisions on matters connected with the use of the water resources of the transboundary rivers of the Aral Sea Basin are taken at the inter-State level. For this purpose, an inter-State water management coordination commission has been set up and is in operation. At the ministerial level, it is made up of representatives from the five States of the Aral Sea Basin: Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Their decisions on limiting the use of the rivers' waters are binding on all States. They also take decisions on the release of water into the river deltas and the Aral Sea. The executive organs of this commission are the "Amy Darya" and "Syr Darya" Basin Water Management Associations.

The executive agencies at the national level are the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the State Environmental Protection Committee (monitoring functions), the Ministry of Macroeconomics and Statistics (calculation of the water use balance and accounting), and the Principal Hydrometeorological Office (monitoring of water quality at source). The use of water resources is regulated by the Water and Water Use Act.

Cooperation

Central Asia contains the enclosed Aral Sea, the southern and south-western parts of which are located in the territory of Uzbekistan. The volume of the Aral Sea is determined by the flows of the transboundary rivers Amy Darya and Syr Darya. As a result of heavy use of the rivers for economic purposes (primarily farm irrigation) from the 1960s their flow gradually declined, ceasing entirely by the end of the 1980s. As a result, the volume of the Aral Sea was reduced by a factor of four, its level fell by 15 metres, and its surface area shrank by a factor of two. The area of dried-up sea bed totals 33,400 km2. Consequently, the Aral Sea has lost its importance for fisheries, recreation, and transport.

Since the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the problems of the Aral Sea Basin have been tackled on a regional and international basis. In 1993, the Heads of State of the countries of Central Asia decided to establish the International Fund to Save the Aral Sea and an inter-State council on the problems of the Aral Sea Basin, with the corresponding executive agencies. In view of the existing duplication of functions, the Heads of State decided, at their meeting in Almaty in February 1997, to reorganize the management structure and establish in Tashkent a single Executive Board of the International Fund. The Fund is headed by one of the presidents of the States of Central Asia elected for a two-year term. The Executive Board has two representatives from each member State. An agreement has been adopted on the formation and use of the Fund's resources. A meeting of Heads of State in Nukus in 1994 approved the concept of saving the Aral Sea and a programme of concrete actions for the next five years, under which regional and international cooperation is being organized.

In conjunction with international organizations (United Nations, World Bank, etc.), cooperation has been organized in recent years at the international and regional levels in order to preserve the Aral Sea as a natural feature. Restoration of the Aral Sea will require a radically altered economic structure with a shift towards sectors which are not water-intensive and the total exclusion of farm irrigation. In view of the limited economic possibilities for the countries of the region, such changes seem unlikely in the very near future. However, the work which is now being carried out on the rational use of water resources is already producing results, and in recent years the flow of the rivers into the deltas and the Sea itself has reached 15-20 m3, which has slowed the fall in its level.

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:

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TOXIC CHEMICALS

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The availability of necessary information for assessing the potential threat of chemicals to human health and the environment is an essential condition for ensuring their safe use and disposal. For the purposes of exchanging information about hazardous chemicals, the State Environmental Protection Committee collaborates closely with the United Nations Environment Programme's International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (UNEP/ IRPTC). The Committee is the organ responsible for the introduction of the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information about Chemicals in International Trade.

In Uzbekistan, work is proceeding on the drafting of national legislation and standards regulating the production of chemical wastes, their use, storage, transport, and disposal. A national register of potentially toxic chemicals is being compiled. In addition, a selection of pesticides is being made for inclusion in the "List of toxic chemicals authorized for use in agriculture."

The State Environmental Protection Committee participates in the work of the intergovernmental committee which is drafting a document to be vested with legal force (Convention status) concerning the management of a number of chemicals and pesticides. This instrument will increase the responsibilities of producer countries, importers, and exporters.

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Solid Waste and Sanitation

The members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have signed an agreement to regulate transboundary shipments of dangerous wastes and their disposal. Under this agreement, the parties will take measures to regulate the import of wastes into their territory and the transit of hazardous and other wastes through their territory.

The priority in Uzbekistan is the development of a legal and regulatory framework for the implementation of investment measures for the treatment and use of wastes. It is working on improvements to this framework through the creation of a system for management and disposal of industrial and consumer wastes. Bills on Industrial and Consumer Wastes and Interim Rules on Environmental Protection and Industrial and Consumer Wastes have been prepared.

Uzbekistan has accumulated a total of over 2 billion tons of industrial wastes. The work of improving the waste management system is funded both from the State budget and from local budgets in the form of financing for regional waste disposal programmes.

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

Hazardous Waste

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have signed an agreement to regulate transboundary shipments of dangerous wastes and their disposal. Under this agreement, the parties will take measures to regulate the import of wastes into their territory and the transit of hazardous and other wastes through their territory.

With a view to creating a system for the management and disposal of hazardous industrial wastes, Uzbekistan is working on the creation and improvement of a legal and regulatory framework for dealing with these matters. A bill on Industrial and Consumer Wastes has been prepared. The Order of the Cabinet of Ministers on the collection and storage of wastes containing mercury was passed on 24 October 1992.

The present hazardous waste situation is such that immediate action must be taken to solve this problem and make a start on the creation of a network of specialized sites for disposal of toxic wastes and treatment facilities for their destruction or disposition. Uzbekistan has accumulated over 21,000 tons of hazardous industrial wastes. This figure is increasing every year.

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:

Radioactive Waste

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The radiological service of the national public health and epidemiological system is the organization basically responsible for State supervision of installations using sources of ionizing radiation. Institutions and enterprises using radiation equipment and sources of ionizing radiation have official radiation protection services. Monitoring of background radiation is the responsibility of units of the Principle Hydrometeorlogical Office. The "Uzkyzyltepageologiya" industrial company monitors radioactivity in public areas, towns, and villages.

Status 

Uzbekistan has a special site for the disposal of radioactive wastes. It is intended for the central disposal of solid and liquid radioactive wastes collected from laboratories, institutions, and industrial enterprises in Uzbekistan.

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.


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