Central Asian countries cooperate on sustainable development
Uzbekistan hosts 15th meeting of the ISDC
The 15th Meeting of the Interstate Sustainable Development Committee (ISDC) was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on 26 May 2009, attended by the Ministers of Environment from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as representatives from a range of regional stakeholders, e.g. Central Asia Youth Environmental Network, Ramsar Secretariat, UNEP, UNDP and WWF.
The Central Asian region is one of wide geographic contrasts, stretching from the Tien Shan Mountain that makes up 80% of the Kyrgyz Republic, to the Garagum Desert that makes up 70% of Turkmenistan. It is also a region that faces many environmental problems, and this was summarized by the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who opened the meeting. He started by saying how the weather in the region was becoming more unpredictable and severe, with heavy rains that led to sudden mudslides that caused loss of life and economic damage recently in Tajikistan, and to the on-going environmental, social and economic crisis in the Aral Sea Basin. As a result, he stressed the importance of international cooperation, such as through the ISDC, in resolving these problems.
During the ISDC meeting, the delegates resolved to continue to cooperate on a number of issues, such as continuing to:
- develop the ‘Framework Convention on Environmental Protection for Sustainable Development of Central Asia’, which has already been signed by the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan;
- provide support for the Regional Mountain Centre of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic;
- develop national strategies to react to the impacts of climate change;
- support the work of the Central Asia Youth Environmental Network in raising awareness of the importance of environmental conservation.
During the meeting, a ceremony was held to hand over Ramsar site certificates to the Minister of Environment of Turkmenistan for listing Turkmenbashy Bay as their first Ramsar site after accession to the Convention in March 2009 and similarly to Kazakhstan, for their recent listing of Koibagar-Tyuntyugur Lake System and the Kulykol-Taldykol Lake System onto the List of Wetlands of International Importance.
-- Lew Young, Ramsar
Ministers of the Environment from the Central Asia countries signing the decisions from the ISDC meeting