United Nations General Assembly pledges to support initiatives to revive the Aral Sea
NUR-SULTAN – The United Nations General Assembly adopted on May 19 a resolution on the Aral Sea region declaring it a zone of green innovations and technologies and pledging to promote more research and efforts scientists to recover the region and improve its environment, reports the UN press service.
The resolution was initiated by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017, when he described it as “the epicenter of an ecological disaster”. The resolution was co-authored by 50 states, including Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
“It (the resolution) called on member states, the United Nations and international financial institutions to develop and implement environmentally sound technologies,” the UN said in a press release.
In the resolution, the General Assembly expressed its support for regional activities and initiatives aimed at improving the environmental, social, economic and demographic situation in the Aral Sea region.
While Uzbekistan hopes to alleviate the crisis through this resolution, a representative of Kyrgyzstan expressed concern about the effectiveness of funds earmarked for this effort.
The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world. The two largest rivers in Central Asia – the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya – feed the Aral Sea, but the great Soviet campaign launched in the 1970s diverted most of their waters to fuel growing cotton production. of the region. The action dried the sea to a tenth of its original area of 68,000 square kilometers.
Salinity levels also increased significantly, damaging the delta’s rich ecosystems and killing local fish, thereby affecting local communities that depended on fishing as their main source of income.
Sand salt deserts of over 5.5 million hectares have emerged over the parched part of the Aral Sea, causing dust and salt storms that carry tons of dust and toxic minerals into the atmosphere.
Shared by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the Aral Sea problem concerns the entire Central Asian region of 62 million inhabitants, which poses multiple environmental, socio-economic, health and humanitarian challenges. for the region and its communities.
Since 2005, the 13-kilometer Kok-Aral Dam, an $ 85 million project initiated by Kazakhstan and mainly funded by the World Bank, has successfully prevented water from entering the sands, giving hope for the rebirth of the sea.