01/12/10 Bollettino d'informazione (novembre 2010)

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AMBASCIATA DELLA REPUBBLICA DELL’UZBEKISTAN IN ITALIA

BOLLETTINO D’INFORMAZIONE
(NOVEMBRE 2010)

 

ROMA

 

CONTENUTO

  1. UZBEKISTAN AND QATAR TO EXPAND COOPERATION
  2. DEPUTIES PASS STATE BUDGET FOR 2011
  3. PRESIDENT OF UZBEKISTAN RECEIVES EUROPEAN UNION DELEGATION
  4. LEGISLATIVE CHAMBER AND SENATE HOLD JOINT SESSION
  5. PRESIDENT OF UZBEKISTAN RECEIVES PRIME MINISTER OF ESTONIA
  6. UZBEKISTAN MARKS STATE FLAG ADOPTION DAY
  7. INTL FORUM DISCUSSES HEALTHY LIFESTYLE ISSUES
  8. TRANSBOUNDARY ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS DISCUSSED
  9. COAL INDUSTRY UNDERGOES MODERNIZATION
  10. UZAGROEXPO 2010 OPENS IN TASHKENT

UZBEKISTAN AND QATAR TO EXPAND COOPERATION

President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani


President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov paid an official visit to Qatar on 23-24 November on the invitation of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
The State of Qatar is a rapidly developing country in the Arab world, with an authority not only in its region, but also in the world. Qatar is among leading Arab states in creation and development of advanced technologies, scientific development and investment activity. Qatar also often hosts large-scale international policy forums and sport events.
Historical, cultural and spiritual closeness of the people of Uzbekistan and Qatar, and common aspirations towards expansion of mutual cooperation are an important basis for the development of bilateral relations. In the context of economic globalization and increased competition on the world markets, the needs for energy, advanced technologies, and expansion of the network of transport corridors are growing. From this perspective, the visit of President Islam Karimov to Qatar has become a timely and important political and economic event.
The official welcoming ceremony of President Uzbekistan was held on 24 November at the palace of the Emir of Qatar. The national anthems of Uzbekistan and Qatar were played. President of Uzbekistan and the Emir of Qatar walked past the guard of honor.
During the negotiations, the heads of states exchanged views on bilateral relations, expanding economic and trade relations, including transport and communications, humanitarian cooperation, as well as issues of regional and international character.
President Islam Karimov said Uzbekistan and Qatar had a great potential and prospects for development of mutual relations, especially in areas like transport communications, oil and gas, chemical industry, construction, trade, tourism and high technologies. The head of the state stressed that the visit was also important for development of relations between Uzbekistan and the countries of the Persian Gulf and the whole Arab world.
Emir of Qatar said his country was watching the progress made by Uzbekistan with great attention, including modernization of all aspects of state and society. Businesses of Qatar have shown great interest in investment projects in Uzbekistan, including President Islam Karimov’s initiative to create transport corridor Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman-Qatar. Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani gave a high evaluation to the policy pursued by the President of Uzbekistan to strengthen regional security.
It was noted that Uzbekistan and Qatar were working closely within many international bodies such as the UN, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and others.
At the talks of the official delegations, the sides discussed issues of trade, economic and investment cooperation. Uzbekistan and Qatar are making notable progress in natural resources management, economic modernization, introduction of innovative technologies and economic development in general.
Particular attention was given to the initiative of President Islam Karimov on the creation of transport corridor Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman-Qatar. Recently, in Tehran, representatives of Uzbekistan, Iran, Oman, Qatar and Turkmenistan met to discuss the development of transport infrastructure.
Establishment of the railway communication of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan with the southern ports of Iran will help create an important connections between the Persian and Oman Gulfs and all the Central Asian countries. Use of road and sea transport for freight transportation, including transit, will increase the volume of trade. Qatar’s participation in the process will help expand investment cooperation in the region.
Free industrial and economic zone Navoi in Uzbekistan may serve as a basis for opening new areas of cooperation, including the development of the above named transport corridor.
Uzbekistan and Qatar have a huge potential for cooperation in oil and gas processing, trade, construction, textile industry and other areas. In particular, in the oil and gas and textile industry there is a huge difference in prices for raw materials and finished products. Joint ventures in these sectors will contribute to the development of mutually beneficial ties. Uzbekistan and Qatar have acquired rich experience in the construction industry, too, the sides said.
The delegations positively evaluated the results of the recent forum of business circles of the two countries held in Doha, which identified areas of bilateral economic and investment cooperation. Event like this help to spread awareness of the economic potential of both countries and provide a good opportunity to further develop mutually beneficial relations.
During the negotiations of the official delegations, issues of humanitarian cooperation, particularly in science, education, healthcare, sport and culture, were also discussed.
Recently, the book by President Islam Karimov “High spirituality is an invincible force”, published in Qatar in Arabic, was presented at Doha University. This was another example of Qatar’s interest to Uzbekistan, its leadership, people and values, and this serves as a solid foundation for the development of humanitarian ties between the two countries.
There is another important factor bringing the two countries together. Today, Uzbekistan and Qatar, according to leading international financial institutions, are included in the five countries whose economies are developing most rapidly.
Following the negotiations, a whole package of documents was signed between the two countries, including the Joint Statement of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the State of Qatar, and the Intergovernmental agreement on trade-economic and technical cooperation.
Memoranda of understanding were signed between the Fund for Reconstruction and Development of Uzbekistan and the Qatar Holding investment company, and between the national holding company Uzbekneftegaz and state joint-stock company Uzkimyosanoat with Qatar Petroleum International Limited.
The trade and industry chambers of Uzbekistan and Qatar inked an agreement to form a joint council of businessmen. A number of other documents were also signed, laying a solid foundation for further partnership in various fields.
In Doha, President of Uzbekistan visited the Museum of Islamic Art, which exhibits ancient artifacts, manuscripts, samples of weapons, arts and crafts from countries of Central Asia, Middle East, India, Spain and others. A special place among the precious historical materials about the period has been allocated to the epoch of Temurids. The President noted that the museum was a testimony of the high respect to the values of Islamic civilization, and left an entry in the book of honored guests of the museum.
President Islam Karimov also visited the modern scientific and educational complex called the Knowledge City in the capital of Qatar. Combining several universities and research centers, the Knowledge City occupies more than 100 hectares. It has a number of branches of foreign universities, including the universities of Georgetown and Virginia (USA). The Knowledge City is a recognized center for science and education throughout the Gulf region.
President Islam Karimov received Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Atiyah. During the talks, the sides exchanged views on further development of economic cooperation between the two countries.
The visit, during which the first high-level meeting of the heads of Uzbekistan and Qatar took place, laid the foundations and opened huge opportunities for development of cooperation between the two countries.


 
DEPUTIES PASS STATE BUDGET FOR 2011

The Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan approved the state budget for 2011 at its session on 26 November. 

Vice prime minister and finance minister Rustam Azimov presented the state budget to the deputies. Chairman of the parliamentary Committee for budget and economic reforms Bahtiyor Iminov made a co-report on the issue. 

The speakers said the country’s main financial document was aimed at ensuring macroeconomic stability and high GDP growth, as well as formation of a modernized, diversified and competitive economy and increase of the people’s incomes and living levels. 

The 2011 budget has been developed with consideration of the Anti-crisis program for 2009-2012, proposed by President Islam Karimov, and the forecasts of the country’s socioeconomic development in 2010. 

The budget foresees continuation of the structural reforms and development of economy through effective investment policy, technological renovation of the crucial economic sectors, improvement of the tax administration and solution of social issues. 

The deputies from the Liberal-Democratic Party of Uzbekistan highlighted the importance of the reduction of the single tax for small businesses and private entrepreneurs, UzA informs. 

The People’s Democratic Party drew the attention to the social aspects of the document. The budget envisages increase of the salaries, stipends, pensions and allowances. Funds are also being allocated to the healthcare and education, including reconstruction of educational establishments. 

Representatives of the Milliy Tiklanish democratic party said it was important to support and stimulate local exporters in the conditions of the unfavorable conjuncture on the world markets. They also called for creation of optimum conditions for development of the craftsmanship and family entrepreneurship. 

Deputies of the Adolat social-democratic party said the further development of the country’s economy depended, among others, on the introduction of innovative technologies. They also spoke about the importance of the improvement of the look of the villages and increasing the people’s living levels. 

The Ecological Movement representatives stressed the importance of continuation of provision of quality drinking water and environmentally clean products to the population. While developing industry in the regions, special attention should be paid to environmental protection, they said. They also called for strengthening the responsibility of the heads of state bodies and companies for the environmental situation in the regions.

PRESIDENT OF UZBEKISTAN RECEIVES EUROPEAN UNION DELEGATION

President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov received the delegation of the European Union headed by EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piegalbs at Oqsaroy residence on 15 November. 
Welcoming the guests, the head of the state expressed satisfaction with the current state and level of development of relations between Uzbekistan and the EU. 
“Today, we are witnesses of the dynamic growth of our relations with the European Union,” President Islam Karimov said. He added that the present realities require creation of conditions for a constructive and mutually beneficial bilateral dialogue.

In his turn, the EU Commissioner for Development expressed sincere gratitude to the President of Uzbekistan for the warm reception and emphasized that the United Europe had a great interest in expansion of political and trade-economic partnership with Uzbekistan. 
“The path Uzbekistan has passed over 20 years and the country’s achievements, including stable growth of economy during the crisis, are remarkable,” Andris Piegalbs said. “I have read your Friday report and fully agree with you that democracy is stability. It is always in the process of development. There are no universal recipes.”
“Using this opportunity, I would like to thank you for your wisdom demonstrated in regards to the known events on the south of Kyrgyzstan, as well as efforts in socioeconomic revival of Afghanistan,” the EU official added.
The cooperation between Uzbekistan and the EU has been developing in many areas in the framework of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) signed in 1996. In accordance with the PCA, several Uzbekistan-EU joint bodies are functioning. Among them are the Cooperation Council, the Cooperation Committee, the Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, the Subcommittee for Trade and Investments, and the Subcommittee for Justice, Home Affairs, Human Rights and Related Issues. Projects in the field of scientific and technical cooperation, education, culture and environment are also being jointly developed. 
Uzbekistan and the European Union attach great importance to the development of trade and economic cooperation in various areas, which is proved by the growing mutual trade, as well as the increasing number of companies with European capital operating in Uzbekistan. The EU business community also has been showing an active interest in the investment potential of the Navoi free industrial and economic zone in Uzbekistan.
At the talks in Oqsaroy, President Islam Karimov and Andris Piegalbs considered perspectives of bilateral cooperation and other issues of mutual interest.

 

LEGISLATIVE CHAMBER AND SENATE HOLD JOINT SESSION

The joint session of the Legislative Chamber and the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan was held on 12 November in Tashkent. President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov participated in the session.
Members of the Cabinet of Ministers, heads of the republican organizations, heads of diplomatic missions and international organizations, as well as correspondents of the local and foreign media attended the session.
The Speaker of the Legislative Chamber Dilorom Tashmuhamedova chaired the joint session of the parliament.

President Islam Karimov presented a report at the session titled “The Concept of the further deepening of the democratic reforms and the formation of the civil society in the country”.
The head of the state put forward a number of legislative initiatives, aimed at development and strengthening of the branches of the state authority in solving the most important state tasks, increasing the role of political parties, improvement of the judicial and legal system, election legislation, development of the civil society institutes and mass media, as well as deepening democratic market reforms and liberalization of the economy. 
The Legislative Chamber and the Senate passed a joint resolution on the report of the President of Uzbekistan.
The councils of the both houses of the parliament were entrusted with organizing discussions of the report of the head of the state at the plenary sessions of the Legislative Chamber and the Senate.

PRESIDENT OF UZBEKISTAN RECEIVES PRIME MINISTER OF ESTONIA

President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov received Prime Minister of Estonia Andrus Ansip at Oqsaroy residence in Tashkent on 2 November.
Welcoming the guest, the head of the state expressed satisfaction with the current state and level of development of Uzbek-Estonian relations.
“We consider Estonia as a rapidly developing state, in terms of its developed infrastructure, as well as transit and transport opportunities the country possesses today,” Islam Karimov said.
There are all grounds to use available possibilities for establishment of bilateral relations on a mutually beneficial basis, the President added.

Prime Minister of Estonia thanked the head of Uzbekistan for the warm welcome and emphasized that his country had a great interest in expansion of political and economic cooperation with Uzbekistan.
“This is the first visit of the Prime Minister of Estonia to Uzbekistan, and the purpose is to qualitatively raise the level of relations with Uzbekistan, the acknowledged leader of the region,” Andrus Ansip said.
He agreed with the President of Uzbekistan that all conditions for full-scale cooperation had matured long ago.
The development of bilateral relations between Uzbekistan and Estonia will serve to expansion of the scale of interaction of the Baltic states and the European Union with the countries of Central Asia.
The partnership of the two states covers trade, economic, investment, energy and transport and communication sectors, providing for development of mutually beneficial joint project in textile, pharmaceutical, chemical and other fields of economy and science. One proof of this fact was the Uzbek-Estonian business forum held in Tashkent.
Having a developed transport infrastructure and convenient geographical position, Uzbekistan and Estonia closely cooperate in transport sphere. he investment and logistics potential of the international hub of the Navoi free industrial zone has been acknowledged as one of the most demanded transit junctions of the region.
At the talks in Oqsaroy, President Islam Karimov and Prime Minister Andrus Ansip considered perspectives of bilateral cooperation and other issues of mutual interest.

UZBEKISTAN MARKS STATE FLAG ADOPTION DAY

On 18 November, the Republic of Uzbekistan marked the day of adoption of its state flag. On this day in 1991 the law “On the State Flag of the Republic of Uzbekistan” was signed.
The national flag flies at all official buildings of the country, and during official visits by delegations of Uzbekistan to foreign countries, at the entrances to the embassies of the country abroad and at representations in international organizations, at international forums, world fairs and sports events.
Each color and symbol on the state flag bears a deep philosophical meaning and corresponds to the centuries-old traditions of the people.
Blue color is a symbol of clear sky and water. It represents intelligence, potential and spiritual strength of the people, transmitted from generation to generation.
White color stands for peace and tranquility, purity, noble dreams and aspirations, inner beauty.
Green means renewal and youth, it reflects the unique nature of the country.
Red stripes symbolize blood flowing in the people’s veins, reminding the freedom-loving ancestors who sacrificed their lives for freedom.
The young crescent is a symbol of independence, and 12 stars mean that people will always strive for perfection and choose the path that leads to happiness and bright future.

INTL FORUM DISCUSSES HEALTHY LIFESTYLE ISSUES

The international forum on “Healthy lifestyles as the basis of upbringing harmoniously developed generation” started in Tashkent. The event is being held in the framework of the State program “Year of harmoniously developed generation”.
Among its organizers are the National Center for Social Adaptation of Children, children’s fund “Sen Yolgiz Emassan”, ministries of public education, higher and secondary special education, health, labor and social protection, Tashkent city administration, representatives of international organizations, including UNICEF, UNESCO and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
Along with education, health and social protection specialists of Uzbekistan, experts and scholars from the United States, Britain, Russia, Ukraine, Israel and Armenia are attending the forum.
Speaking at the forum, head of UNESCO office in the country Jorge Espinal and head of UNICEF office Jean-Michel Delmote noted that protecting the interests of youth and upbringing a harmoniously developed person are issues of global importance.
Uzbekistan has pursued active reforms in the areas of education, healthcare and social protection, which are are fully consistent with the UN Millennium Development Goals.
The youth comprise more than 60 percent of the country’s population, and its physical and moral upbringing, education and guidance have been in the top priority areas of the government.
The annual expenses for education make up 10 to 12 percent of the gross domestic product, while in the world this figure is usually 3 to 5 percent.
Health Minister A.Ikramov, Minister of Labor A.Khaitov, Deputy General Prosecutor A.Sharafiddinov, Minister of Public Education A.Marahimov, Minister of Higher and Secondary Special Education B.Khodiyev and others spoke about large-scale reforms implemented in the country in accordance with the laws “On Guarantees of the Rights of the Child”, “On Education”, the National Program for Personnel Training and others.
The forum will discuss topics like improving the legal framework for the protection of the young people’s interests, promoting family values and healthy lifestyle, issues of social adaptation. The event will also feature presentations of new social projects, round tables and discussions.

TRANSBOUNDARY ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS DISCUSSED

One of the most important tasks for the whole mankind today is to preserve the environment and ensure environmental sustainability, including through effective solution of transborder issues, without which sustainable development in the 21st century is impossible. This was the topic of the international conference “Transboundary environmental problems in Central Asia: application of international legal mechanisms to solve them” held in Tashkent on 16-17 November.
The forum was attended by experts, scientists and environmentalists from 30 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Britain, Germany, India, Spain, Italy, Canada, China, South Korea, Netherlands, Russia, USA, Turkey, Ukraine, France, Switzerland and Japan, as well as representatives of more than 60 international organizations and financial institutions – the UN, OSCE, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Wildlife Fund, World Conservation Union and others.
The Chairman of the Board of the Central Council of the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan, Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis Boriy Alikhanov opened the conference.
The First Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Rustam Azimov read the message from the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov to the participants of the international conference.
Protection and preservation of the environment are of great importance for further progress, including food security, and in general for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially in today’s conditions of climate change, said secretary-general of the International Commission for Irrigation and Drainage M.Gopalakrishnan. He stressed that the use of water resources should not be considered only in terms of hydropower energy. In complex regions like Central Asia, use of small power stations is preferred, he said.


“The Aral Sea disaster is one of the reasons to raise the question of the expediency of building giant hydroelectric plants,” Gopalakrishnan noted.
He praised the creation of the Environmental Movement of Uzbekistan, as well as amendments to the electoral laws that made it possible for the environmentalists to occupy seats in the parliament.
According to him, to address environmental issues, especially cross-border ones, an open dialogue is required, and one good example of this approach is the current international conference in Uzbekistan.
Speaking to forum participants, head of the Ecological Movement Boriy Alikhanov drew the attention to the fact that many cross-border environmental problems in Central Asian region were a direct result of the reckless economic activity in the past.
This is primarily the consequences of the Aral Sea crisis, which are increasingly acquiring global nature, and the desire of some states of the Aral Sea basin to implement projects on construction of huge hydro structures disregarding the interests of other countries.
Another issue he raised was the activity of the Tajik Aluminum Company (TALCO), which has for over 35 years caused huge damage to the nature, health and socioeconomic development of the southern regions of Uzbekistan.
The participants emphasized that after attaining independence Uzbekistan has paid a lot of attention to environmental protection and public health, improving the ecological situation in the country and throughout the region. The country has a legal framework created in line with international standards, aimed at rational use of natural resources and protecting people’s health. Several state programs and national action plans are also being implemented in this area. Uzbekistan has ratified major UN conventions and other international documents in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development, and has been fulfilling all of its commitments.
“This work, held with active involvement of non-governmental organizations, is an integral part of a complex socioeconomic policy of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, carried out in the interests of security and human rights, including the right to dignified life in supportive environment,” said professor at New York State University (USA) Pervez Morvidge. One proof of the effectiveness of this policy is the GDP growth of 8.1 percent last year, despite the global economic crisis. Uzbekistan today sets an example for many nations in solving economic and environmental problems. The scholar noted that all countries should take into account the ecological interests of each other. At the same time, he drew attention to the inadmissibility of the situation when one country builds industrial plants, and the population of the neighboring states suffers from it.
Editor of the Austrian magazine “Business, Culture, Sport” Manfred Tichy said that all countries should abide by relevant UN convention on transboundary watercourses. He said that their trip to the Aral Sea showed that the unreasonable use of water resources has in a short period of time led to environmental disaster and human suffering. Rogun hydropower station is a vivid example when one country tries to implement the project that would harm another country. The 30 to 40-year-old project, born during the Soviet megalomania, which does not meet the requirements of environmental and technological safety, should not be implemented,” he said. The editor stressed that Austria was also a mountainous country, and the evaluation of the project has shown that in such regions it was extremely dangerous to build gigantic dams, especially since this area is seismically dangerous. He noted that mountainous countries of Europe had decided to recommend to other similar regions to construct small hydropower stations, which are much less expensive, cost-effective and most importantly safe.
Foreign experts have emphasized in their speeches that it was President of Uzbekistan who first drew the world attention to the urgency and importance of environmental issues, many of whom have already moved beyond the regional level. Among them, in particular, is the complex set of environmental, socioeconomic and demographic problems of planetary impact in the Aral Sea region. President Karimov, in his speeches at international high-level meetings, called on the international community to come together and adopt comprehensive measures, not only for improving the environmental situation, but also to create the enabling environment and living conditions of future generations. On the initiative of the head of Uzbekistan, Nukus and Tashkent declarations were signed, and the International Aral Sea Rescue Fund was created. At the meeting of the fund heads of states in April 2009, President of Uzbekistan put forward the concept of the third phase of the Program of Action to Assist the Aral Sea Region for 2011-2015.
The participants were able to see for themselves how serious the problems discussed at the conference were. One day before the event, a group of conference participants visited the Republic of Karakalpakstan, namely Nukus and Muinak district, and saw the disastrous consequences of the shrinking of the Aral Sea. Another group visited Sariasiya district of Surkhandarya region, whose population and economy has been affected by the negative impact of harmful emissions from the TALCO plant. The conference participants were struck by the consequences of human destruction of local ecosystems, causing a disastrous effect on human health, flora and fauna, leading to land degradation and creating a threat of humanitarian catastrophe. In addition, before the conference an exhibition of photographs from the zones of ecological disasters – the Aral Sea and Surkhandarya was organized.
The volume of the Aral Sea, once one of the largest inland bodies of water of the planet, has shrank 13 times, and the area more than 7 times, the water level has dropped by 26 meters, the salinity in some parts has reached 280 grams per liter. On the dried Aral seabed, a new desert with the area of more than 5 million hectares has formed. Many small lakes have also dried up. Annually, up to 100 million tons of saline dust rises into the atmosphere from here. More than half of the gene pool of flora and fauna in the Aral Sea region has been lost, and many species are listed in the Red Book as endangered. These negative processes are accompanied by loss of land resources, worsening living conditions, and difficult socioeconomic development of the Aral Sea area.
The Regional Advisor on Environment of the European Economic Commission Bo Libert said that all of this was a consequence of past approaches to economic development through the uncontrolled consumption of natural resources. He noted that any activity in the sphere of nature use must be based on the principles of preventing harm to the population, ecology and environmental management. According to the expert, Uzbekistan today demonstrates the effectiveness of the complex solution of development issues, and actively participates in the implementation of UN conventions on environmental issues. Many international organizations, including the World Bank, are collaborating on this area with Uzbekistan, carrying out large joint projects, including those on water resources management.
At the conference, it was noted that a very complex ecological situation was being observed in the border areas of Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan with Tajikistan, from where the winds, ground and surface waters distribute hundreds of tons of pollutants emitted by TALCO. The most dangerous to human health, flora and fauna are components of its emissions like hydrogen fluoride, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. The damage to the environment and health of the population of the southern regions of Uzbekistan has been estimated in hundreds of millions of dollars. Back in 1994, an Uzbek-Tajik intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in improving the environmental situation in the area of the negative effects of the Tajik Aluminum Plant was signed. However, many of the planned activities were not implemented, the technologies applied at the plant have outdated, and a number of cleaning plants are not operating. Despite this, the plant plans to expand production, which means increase in toxic emissions – according to preliminary estimates from 21,700 to 32,000 tons per year.
In the view of the international experts, projects of construction of new giant hydro stations upstream of transboundary rivers Amu Darya and Syr Darya, primarily Rogun HPS, pose the risk of destruction of the already fragile ecological balance in Central Asia. They emphasized that the desire of some countries to exploit cross-border water resources in violation of international norms, without consideration of interests of other states in the region, was causing great anxiety. As international experience and research results show, possible consequences of such construction are extremely dangerous. Such actions may not only deepen the ecological crisis in the Aral Sea area, but also lead to technological and humanitarian disasters, making vast areas uninhabitable for millions of people.
In this regard, executive director of the US Banks Information Center Chad Dobson drew the attention of the conference participants to the fact that large-scale hydropower projects should be implemented for the benefit of the entire population of the region, for their prosperity, and not for one country or individual production, which is also environmentally harmful. International financial institutions sometimes substitute the concepts. Power generation facilities should primarily be used not to build new environmentally unsafe aluminum industries, but to address the immediate needs of the population, including stable supply of electricity, he said. According to Chad Dobson, the World Bank and other financial institutions should cooperate with civil society, listen to their opinion, and make decisions only after the majority of the population supports such projects. All interested parties should be able to participate in making decisions about the construction of these hydro stations. The expert expressed his belief in the need for extensive public consultations on these issues to ensure the transparency of all procedures.
Hydropower projects planned to be implemented now have long been outdated, they do not take into account the high seismicity of the zone of the construction, which is up to 9 on the Richter scale, as well as landslide and mudflow processes occurring here. For the last 110 years, more than 20 strong earthquakes have been registered here. In world practice, there are no precedents of construction of giant hydropower stations in such areas. Rogun HPS project in Tajikistan envisages raising the dam with the height of 335 meters, which has no analogues in the world. In the case of its destruction, the height of the wave at the initial point will exceed 250 meters, and at 1,500 kilometers from Rogun, in Karakalpakstan, the wave will reach 6-7 meters in height. Areas up to 1.5 million hectares will be flooded, including over 700 settlements on the territory of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, where about 5 million people live.
Even with the most favorable conditions, the work of the Rogun HPS in the planned energy regime would lead to sharp deterioration of living conditions of millions of people in the lower reaches of the Amu Darya. The salinity of water in the river will double, and its flow during the growing season will be significantly reduced. Direct losses of crop production, and related processing industries and fish resources are estimated at almost USD 20.6 billion over five years.
In this regard, the conference participants emphasized that there were alternative options for obtaining the same amount of electricity like Rogun would provide by building small hydropower stations, which is much cheaper and does not create the above mentioned threats. President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, in his speech on 20 September at the UN Summit on Millennium Development Goals, highlighted much greater rationality of such approach to the development of hydropower sector. The head of the state has repeatedly drawn the attention to the fact that any construction projects on transborder rivers should be conducted only on the basis of international expertise, which should ensure that the volume and flow regimes of the rivers is not violated, and the ecological situation in the region does not deteriorate.
The conference concluded that all regional states should strictly abide by international norms acting in this sphere. In accordance with the UN Conventions on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, and on Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, the Helsinki Rules of Using the Waters of International Rivers, the Geneva Convention on the Impact of Hydropower Production to Other States and other international documents, coordination of construction and conditions of operation of hydropower facilities with all countries located in transboundary river basins should be mandatory.
During the conference, thematic sessions were held, which discussed the problem of transboundary pollution in Central Asia, improvement of cross-border cooperation through integrated water resources management, children’s health, conservation of biodiversity in ecologically disadvantaged regions, climate change in the Aral Sea region, influence of large industrial enterprises on the environment and other pressing environmental issues.
On the results of the conference, the Tashkent Environmental Declaration was adopted. It notes that regional states should strive for cross-border cooperation, in accordance with the key international documents defining basic principles of management of transboundary rivers, to prevent harm to other states of these rivers’ basin. It recommends to precede the construction of any large hydropower station in the upper reaches of transboundary rivers in Central Asia with an independent international technical and environmental audit, conducted in a transparent manner for the benefit of the population of all states in the region.
The declaration also notes that international financial institutions and organizations should contribute to environmental sustainability in the region, including through collaboration and open dialogue with civil society in all countries in the zone of impact of proposed projects. The document stresses that in accordance with recommendations of international environmental organizations, it would be more rational to commence construction of safer and more fuel-efficient small power plants, as well as to expand the use of environmentally friendly renewable energy sources, including solar and wind power. The conference participants also recommended to take necessary measures to ensure that the level of emissions from the aluminum enterprise is within international norms.
The Declaration identified the major environmental problems in Central Asia. These are avoiding artificial reduction of the volume and flow regime of transboundary rivers, implementation of measures to curb the spread of desertification and soil salinization in the zone of ecological disaster and to create conditions for increasing employment and income growth in this area through the development of small businesses, primarily industrial and low water consuming agricultural productions, as well as services sector.
The participants called on the governments and international organizations to join efforts in addressing transboundary environmental problems and reducing environmental threats. They stated that international environmental organizations should support the Environmental Movement of Uzbekistan in its efforts to protect the environment.
All of this should ensure a more balanced way to solve the problem of transboundary natural resources, and harmonize the socioeconomic and environmental development across the region. Nobody has the right to cover their needs at the expense of others and nature, which should be preserved for future generations, the conference said.

COAL INDUSTRY UNDERGOES MODERNIZATION

An important result of economic reforms initiated by the head of state is technical and technological renovation of one of the key sectors of the real sector – power industry. 
The staple sector currently implements dozens of investment projects aimed at further development of the energy potential of the republic, modernization, technical and technological renovation of enterprises, introduction of resource-saving technologies, ensuring of reliable and quality supply of consumer with electrical and thermal energy. The particular measures to improve the efficiency of power plants, to reduce specific energy consumption and the use of natural gas by increasing the use of coal in power generation are implemented. 
Energy policy of Uzbekistan is not inferior to the world trends of formation of the structure of energy balance. The global energy trend of substitution of fuels is organized as follows: a decrease in the share of oil and gas along with the increase in coal consumption. 
The prospects of growth of coal mining in Uzbekistan are stipulated by the resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the Program of measures for the implementation of major projects on modernization, technical and technological re-equipment of production for 2009-2014 
The country worked out a long-term program for the development of coal industry. Its purpose is to create conditions for the increase of the share of coal in the energy structure for electricity production, to meet growing demand for solid fuel of the population, institutions, public sector, and other sectors of the economy, to increase exports and create new jobs. 
“The program of modernization, technical and technological re-equipment will include a phased increase in coal mining and stripping operations,” said Yuri Krivenko, the chief engineer of O’zbekqo’mir JSC. “In November 2010 the shipments of technological equipment under the large project for transformation of units N 1-5 of New Angren heat power station to year-round coal consumption with the modernization of the Angrenskiy open cast. 
Modernization and technical renovation of the Razrez Angrenskiy company stipulates the improvement of the mining using modern technologies and efficient equipment, the phased increase in cut of overburdens, the increase in coal production to 6.5 million tons per year. This ensures the increase of the share of solid fuels in energy complex from 5 to 20% and the retrenchment of natural gas to 2 billion cubic meters a year. 
The complex development of coal deposits, rational extraction and the use of produced minerals such as kaolin, limestone, gypsum, gravel, etc play an important role. The own high-quality raw materials base will expand and establish new productions of import-substituting and export-oriented products such as pottery, ceramics, refractory bricks, insulators in technologically related industries. 
The undertaken measures will bring the coal industry of Uzbekistan to the next level of development and significantly enhance its export potential.

UZAGROEXPO 2010 OPENS IN TASHKENT

The sixth international Uzagroexpo exhibition showcasing the latest achievements in agricultural and food industry opened in Tashkent on Tuesday.
The traditional forum aims to help businesses establish new contacts, get acquainted with new technologies and expand cooperation with foreign partners.
Uzagroexpo 2010 has gathered representatives of more than 50 companies from some 15 states. About half of the participants are companies from Uzbekistan.

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