INFORMATION DIGEST OF PRESS OF UZBEKISTAN # 188 October 20, 2016

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43RD SESSION OF THE COUNCIL OF FOREIGN MINISTERS OF THE ORGANIZATION OF ISLAMIC COOPERATION
The Tashkent Declaration of the 43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation «Education and Enlightenment - Path to Peace and Creativity»

HISTORY
Wisdom Revealed in Epigraphy

HEALTHCARE
Uzbek Healthcare to be Revamped

PROBLEMS OF WATER RESOURCES IN THE CENTRAL ASIA
Aral Sea’s Planetary Predicament Addressed through Joint Efforts


43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

The Tashkent Declaration of the 43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation «Education and Enlightenment - Path to Peace and Creativity»

Tashkent, the Republic of Uzbekistan,

October 18-19, 2016

(17-18 Muharram 1438 AH)

We, the Foreign Ministers and heads of delegations of member-states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), participants of the 43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC in Tashkent, held on October 18-19, 2016,

Recognizing the leading role of the OIC in joining efforts to strengthen the mutually beneficial cooperation between the Member States in political, economic, security, social, cultural, educational, scientific and other vital areas,

Welcoming the initiative of the Republic of Uzbekistan on holding the 43rd Session of the CFM under the motto: «Education and Enlightenment - Path to Peace and Creativity»,

Recognizing whereas in the conditions of growing tensions and instability in various regions of the world, aggravation of ongoing conflicts, manifestations of deliberate attempts to tarnish the sacred religion of Islam and countering the Islamic world with other cultures and religions, there is a growing need to convey to the entire world community the true humanistic essence and tolerance of Islam, its spiritual enlightening beginning,

Taking into account and deeply appreciating the historical scientific heritage of outstanding scholars and thinkers of the Islamic world, their invaluable role and place in the history of modern civilization and the entire humanity in general, their invaluable contribution to the development of  the world science, thought, culture and socio-economic progress,

Highly appreciating the enormous attention paid by the Leadership  of the Republic of Uzbekistan to preservation and enhancement of historical scientific and cultural-spiritual heritage, as well as the true values of Islam, such as aspiration for peaceful and tranquil life, tolerance in interethnic and interreligious relations, sense of mutual respect and accord,
as well as development and improvement of education system, upbringing of the younger generation in the spirit of mastering the universal and Islamic values and peaks of modern science,

Reaffirming the full commitment to the goals and principles of the OIC in the interests of Member States and support for peace, stability, sustainable socio-economic development, advancement of science, education and enlightenment in the OIC countries in the framework of Islamic solidarity and coordination of joint actions, we hereby make the following declaration: 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the entire Islamic world deeply mourn the recent untimely passing of the First President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, a prominent politician of modernity and the great son of the Uzbek nation, His Excellency Mr. Islam Karimov.

We highly appreciate the enormous contribution made by President Islam Karimov during his  lifetime to the cause of ensuring the unity of the Islamic Ummah, maintaining and strengthening security and stability in Central Asia and the world as a whole, care for the heritage of outstanding scientists and thinkers of the Islamic world, protection of Islam in the international arena as a religion of peace and creativity, sustainable progressive socio-economic development of member-states of the OIC, formation of the younger generation in the spirit of respect for the true values of the Sacred religion of Islam, improving the system of cadres training, upbringing of highly-educated, intellectually and harmoniously developed youth, strengthening of mutual understanding and respect among the OIC countries by enhancing cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

We emphasize that since its establishment the OIC has secured a rightful place among the prestigious and influential international organizations, becoming a key dialogue platform for maintaining international peace and countering modern challenges and threats across the OIC space. In this context, we urge the Secretary-General to intensify the efforts on improving the activities of the Organization in order to ensure the unity of the Muslim Ummah, establishing lasting peace and security, promoting sustainable socio-economic development in member-states.

We once again place emphasis on the importance of ensuring security, sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and respect for the legitimate rights of member-states, as well as the need to resolve ongoing or emerging problems and conflicts through peaceful negotiations, with the use of political, diplomatic and international legal mechanisms based on the universally recognized principles and norms of international law. In this regard, we support the new OIC Peace and Security architecture and the efforts of the Secretary-General.

We note that in the conditions of the 21st century, which reputedly is the age of globalization, information-communication technologies, the Internet, and growing competition in the world space, as well as the world market, a priority attention must be paid to increasing investments and inputs in human capital, training an educated and intellectually developed generation which is the most important value and a decisive power in achieving the objectives of democratic development, modernization and renewal.

In the context of the motto of the Session: «Education and Enlightenment - Path to Peace and Creativity», we call upon member-states and relevant OIC institutions to continue and further expand the programs and activities in the field of higher education, in particular in the framework of Educational exchange program, put efforts to improve the training programs and courses, strengthen the links between higher educational institutions, promote the joint scientific and research projects, establish scholarships and programs of vocational training.

We note the need for dissemination of knowledge about enlightened Islam as an important tool to combat the ideology of terrorism, violent extremism and religious fanaticism. We highly appreciate the comprehensive efforts to combat radicalization and extremism using the true values of Islam and establishment of a broad educational process, inducting in the religious sphere. In this regard we note the positive role of the activities of the Tashkent Islamic University, which has become one of the leading educational institutions in Central Asia in training the qualified theologians and religious scholars.

We emphasize that a profound respect for its own history and intellectual heritage makes up the basis of both material and spiritual progress of any state. In this regard, we highly appreciate the work carried out in the member-states on studying and preserving the rich historical, scientific, cultural and spiritual heritage for future generations.

Recognizing the need to deeply comprehend the works of eminent Islamic scholars and thinkers, assess their role and place in the history of the modern civilization, we believe it is important to give a new powerful impetus to further comprehensive research and promotion of their invaluable scientific heritage, providing insight to the urgency and relevance of discoveries made by them for contemporary science and progress. We welcome the efforts of the member-states, including Uzbekistan, on creating a modern infrastructure for a comprehensive study and popularization of the invaluable scientific heritage and we highly appreciate the construction of new building of the library of the «Center of  Oriental Manuscripts at the Tashkent Institute of Oriental Studies» being established with the assistance of the Sultanate of Oman.

We reiterate our full support for Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Shareef, the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and return to their ancestral places of residence. In this context, we express support to the Arab Peace Initiative for the Middle East, as well as to fair and coordinated solution of the Palestinian refugee problem in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions and international law.

We welcome the recently adopted Resolution of the UNESCO Executive Committee aimed at preservation of historical, religious and memorial sites in Palestine, including in East Jerusalem. Recognizing the invaluable nature of the cultural heritage of East Jerusalem, we call upon to careful treatment and ensuring integrity of all historical sites located in this sacred city.

We underline the need for earliest stabilization of the situation in the Middle East and North Africa and other parts of the continent by way of urgent political resolution of crises in accordance with the principles of the UN and OIC Charters and universally recognized international norms in order to bring to an end the sufferings of the people and the resultant migration and displacement of affected population.

We note that the earliest achievement of peace and stability in Afghanistan is an important factor in maintaining and strengthening security not only in the vast Asian continent, but also around the world. Reiterating the absence of a military solution to the Afghan problem, we support the settlement of the Afghan conflict through promotion of an inclusive process of national reconciliation and proceed from the fact that these efforts should be undertaken under the leadership of the Afghans and by the Afghans themselves, without putting any preconditions and under the central coordinating role of the UN in the process of international cooperation on Afghanistan. We welcome the OIC efforts to convene an International Ulema Conference aimed at political reconciliation and restoring peace, security and stability in Afghanistan.

We reiterate that the struggle against terrorism and violent extremism in all forms and their manifestations, illicit production and trafficking of drugs, illegal trafficking of humans and arms, ammunition and explosives substances, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery should remain a priority of the OIC. We are convinced that these dangerous phenomena can be defeated and eliminated only through a joint action, elaborating the measures of influence both to the symptoms and the roots of these problems. We highly appreciate the launch of an OIC Messaging Centre to counter the sham narratives of radical and extremist groups. We are continuing to advocate for further close cooperation in the fight against terrorism, spread of extremist ideology, especially among youth.

We welcome the entry into force on March 21, 2009 of the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, which was initiated by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan His Excellency Mr. Islam Karimov on September 28, 1993 at the 48th session of the UN General Assembly and which has become the first such zone entirely formed from member-countries of the OIC. In this connection, we call on other parts of the world to use this positive experience to establish similar zones in their regions, including the Middle East.

We believe that the earliest entry into force for each Party of the Protocol on negative security assurances to Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty will contribute significantly to strengthening the global non-proliferation regime, ensuring regional and international peace and stability.

We highly appreciate the adoption of the new «Ten-Year Program of Actions: OIC - 2025» and are confident that its implementation will contribute to further development of trade and investment, transfer of high technologies, promotion of private sector, industrialization, scientific spheres and education in Muslim countries in the 21st century.

We reaffirm the leading role of the Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) in joining the efforts of the member-states in the development of science, innovation and technologies, promoting research and joint programs and call upon the member states to actively participate in the next OIC Summit on Science and Technology in 2017.

We underline the importance of sharing experience among OIC Member States in addressing the issues of economic slowdown, introducing the innovative technologies, forming a favorable investment and business climate, implementing the long term mutually beneficial projects in priority areas of cooperation and infrastructure development. In this regard we commend the role played by COMSEC and other OIC Institutions in promoting intra OIC trade and exchange.

We support the efforts of the OIC member-states on implementation of national programs for renewable energy and creation of an innovative economy, and call to continue studying international best practices in this area.

We note that in the conditions of depletion of natural resources and exacerbation of problems in the field of protection and preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, there is a need for undertaking the large-scale scientific research and experiments on a wide range of directions of exploring the world around us.

We affirm the special importance of development of tourism, as one of the sectors of economy, which contributes to a long-term sustainable growth, socio-economic development, and as consequently, enhancement of mutual understanding and promotion of tolerance among peoples and nations.

We welcome the election of the cities of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah (Saudi Arabia) and Tabriz (Iran) as the OIC tourism capitals in 2017 and 2018, respectively, at the 9th Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers of the OIC member-states, which took place on December 21-23, 2015 in Niamey, the Republic of Niger.

We underline the key importance of healthcare in ensuring high living  standards and prosperity of society as a whole, and in this context, call for the effective and full implementation of the «OIC Strategic Health Program of Action 2014-2023», as well as welcome the strengthening of cooperation of the OIC with relevant international partners in the sphere of health care.

We support the «Program of capitals of Islamic culture» developed by the Organization for the Islamic Education, Science and Culture (ISESCO) as an important factor in preserving and restoring the cultural heritage and exchanging best practices in learning and teaching languages, history and  culture of the Islamic countries. In this regard, we welcome the
announcement of the city of Bukhara in Uzbekistan as the «Capital of Islamic culture» in 2020.

We welcome the efforts of the Secretary-General to further deepen the cooperation and interaction of the OIC with regional and international organizations, especially the UN and its institutions.

We welcome signing of memoranda on obligations of India and Pakistan with the purpose of seeking the status of a SCO member-state at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on June 24, 2016 in Tashkent, which means the beginning of the process of joining of these countries the ranks of full members of the SCO, and express hope that this process will contribute to strengthening confidence between Pakistan and India, maintaining a constructive dialogue and effective multifaceted cooperation, ensuring security and stability in the regions of South and Central Asia.

We express our appreciation of the efforts made by the State Kuwait as the Chair of the 42nd session of CFM to promote Islamic solidarity and advance partnership among the OIC member-states. We congratulate His Highness the Emir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, on having been designated the title of Humanitarian Leader by the UN Secretary General in September 2014 in recognition of His Highness’ significant role in the humanitarian domain, as well as designating the State of Kuwait as a global humanitarian center.  

We welcome the proposal made by Côte d’Ivoire to hold the 44th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC in Abidjan in July 2017.

We express our gratitude to the Secretary General of the OIC His Excellency Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani for his role in promoting the interests of the Muslim Ummah and Joint Islamic Action in achieving the goals set in political, socio-economic and humanitarian spheres.

In conclusion of the 43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, we express our deep appreciation to the people and the Government of Uzbekistan for a warm hospitality and excellent organization of this conference, which ensured the success of the 43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers titled «Education and Enlightenment – Path to Peace and Creativity».

HISTORY

Wisdom Revealed in Epigraphy

Time has handed down a fascinating treasure trove of medieval architecture that captivates millions of people who annually visit Uzbekistan to witness the majestic ancient buildings, whose sophisticated décor is complemented by remarkable calligraphic inscriptions. Many people have wondered what these writings say and what kind of wisdom our forefathers perpetuated through them. Today, thanks to the knowledge and experience of Uzbek scholars, an opportunity has arisen for the broad public to read a series of books titled ‘The Architectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan’ and unravel these mysteries.

For centuries, many specialists have struggled to decipher these epigraphic inscriptions, and scientific debate about the correctness of the reading of the centuries-old monograms and other texts made by talented craftsmen continues even today. However, as it has been stated above, a complete deciphering of epigraphy monuments located in the ancient Uzbek land, and a publication thereof, has still not been made. The research seeking to explore and decipher the ancient inscriptions became possible thanks to the advent of Uzbekistan’s independence, which reinstated the monuments’ worthy place in history.

For six years, a creative group of scholars has been working painstakingly to study, decipher and restore epigraphic inscriptions destroyed by time. Today they are encapsulated in the ‘Architectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan’ series of albums published in Uzbek, Russian and English by Uzbekistan Today News Agency. The project was launched as part of the April 6, 2011 Presidential Resolution “On Preparations for and Celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the Republic of Uzbekistan’s Independence” and Cabinet of Ministers resolutions dated June 17, 2011 and April 1, 2012.

In terms of the number and uniqueness of epigraphic landmarks, Uzbekistan remained the undisputed leaders in Central Asia. The bulk of them are a treasure trove of art and culture and an integral part of the global civilization as a whole that require in-depth research. To bring the idea to fruition, the initiative group enlisted the help of a number of specialists from the Institute of Oriental Studies of Uzbekistan and the Bahauddin Naqshband Memorial Complex Center. With comprehensive support from regional mayors’ offices and local connoisseurs, a large amount of work has been carried out over the past six years to publish the first twelve books.

Socrates said: “In this world, man suffers in all his deeds for he shall not remain bound to his amassed property. Your heart is powerless before what…”. This inscription appears on one of the monuments that make up the Shahi-Zinda memorial complex in Samarkand.

On October 17, 2016, Uzbekistan Today News Agency, the UNESCO Office in Uzbekistan and the National Association of Electronic Mass Media of Uzbekistan are hosting a presentation of the project ‘The Architectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan’ dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Uzbekistan's national independence and the 10th anniversary of Uzbekistan Today News Agency. The event will be held under the slogan “Messages from the Depth of Centuries: Education, Enlightenment, Peace and Creativity in Uzbekistan’s Architectural Epigraphy” in Tashkent.

The presentation, which will be held as a roundtable, will summarize the first results of the project and will include film demonstration and speeches by leading scholars, who have contributed to the project, as well as representatives of the international public. The event will be attended by members of Uzbekistan’s scientific community, representatives of governmental and public organizations as well as international organizations, diplomatic missions and media outlets.

The roundtable will present 12 recently published albums dedicated to epigraphic inscriptions on architectural landmarks in Karakalpakstan, Andijan, Bukhara, Kashkadarya, Navoi, Namangan, Surkhandarya, Fergana and Khorezm Regions and Tashkent city as well as two albums on two architectural historical landmarks, Registan and Shahi-Zinda, in Samarkand. The albums are in Uzbek, Russian and English.

Education and enlightenment

As is known, epigraphy is the most significant and spectacular part of the cultural heritage of not only Uzbekistan and the Muslim world, but also the entire global civilization. Moreover, Uzbekistan is one of the world leaders in terms of the amount of architectural epigraphy. However, due to certain circumstances, these inscriptions have not been studied and published until recently. According to our estimates, only 10% of inscriptions on monuments of Amir Temur’s era have been explored, read and partially published. Consequently, the most remarkable and significant pages of our cultural legacy remained out of the reach of science as well as our nation and visitors to our country. The research has helped to read and translate inscriptions on more than 1,500 epigraphic landmarks (most of them for the first-ever time), which include over 200 poems, edifications, maxims, names of over 100 masters and calligraphers, 300 religious and 150 dedicatory inscriptions, 150 chronograms, 100 historical dates and around 100 edicts by rulers of the days gone by.

‘The Architectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan’ is the only project of its kind whereby the government works to explore, collate and sum up all the architectural epigraphy found in the country, something that no country in the Muslim world has done before. It is noteworthy that this work became possible thanks to the advent of Uzbekistan’s independence, which reinstated the monuments’ worthy place in history.

Peace and creativity

The series of books represent the first phase of the project which will be continued. The next series will encompass the remaining unexplored epigraphic inscriptions across Uzbekistan. All told, 25 volumes are expected to be published.

It is notable that each inscription on the multitude of historical architectural landmarks in Uzbekistan conveys wise messages, exhortations, good wishes, poetic maxims and historical events that call on people to aspire for education, enlightenment, peace and creative, which has been made the slogan of the upcoming presentation.

It is for a reason that the covers of the architectural epigraphy books designed in national style feature an embossed inscription from the 14th-century Al-Hakim at-Termizi memorial complex located in Termez in Surkhandarya Region: “He who seeks knowledge is sought by Paradise”, which has become a symbol of the series of albums.

Each book presents dozens of similar epitaphs, maxims, appeals and calls for good. For example, the central medallion in the Usta Alim Nasafi Mausoleum at the Shahi-Zinda Complex features an epigraphic inscription in gilded letters that talks about peace: “There is no peace except in concord, no togetherness except in the Verity, no modest behavior except in forgiveness, no friendship except in fidelity.”

Heightened interest and fascination by our memorials and careful attitude have led to efforts to explore them. The texts presented in the books are diverse. They include, for example, purely historical (dedicatory) inscriptions, or gravestone epitaphs that also present samples of not only calligraphic art but also full literary and historical monuments. The creative group has studies and deciphered inscriptions on world-famous architectural landmarks such as the Shahi-Zinda Complex, the Gur Emir Mausoleum, the Amir Temur cathedral mosque, the Bibi Hanum Mosque and Registan Square in Samarkand. Research into epigraphic inscriptions in Khiva has helped to decipher inscriptions on thirteen architectural complexes, including gravestone texts at the Pahlavan Mahmud complex.

For the first-ever time, the album dedicated to the architectural epigraphy of Karakalpakstan provides translations of epigraphic material at the Narinjan-baba complex and full readings and translations of epigraphic inscriptions that have survived on another famous landmark, the Mazlumhan-Sulu sepulchral and memorial complex, located  in the ancient Mizdakhan settlement. Another album, focusing on Shakhrisabz, is particularly interesting from the viewpoint of studying the history of not only Central Asia but also the entire Muslim Orient. These albums present unique samples of inscriptions and provide information about important events and historical figures.

The album “The Architectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan. Surkhandarya” provides full translations of inscriptions featured on landmarks such as the mausoleum and gravestone of outstanding Sufi sheikh Hakim at-Termizi, the Jarkurgan minaret and the Sufi Allayar Complex, the first time this has been done since efforts were started to study Surkhandarya epigraphy of the Islamic era. 

A book devoted to the monuments of Namangan for the first time presents fully read inscriptions on the monuments of Hoja Amin, Mullah Kirgiz, Mawlawi Namangani and others. The book presents the most original writing artifacts – epitaphs containing unique data and the date of death of a number of well-known sheikhs and scholars of the past. The album dedicated to the epigraphy of Andijan will finally disprove the widespread belief that Andijan does not have many noteworthy sites and that most of them have not survived. It features unique monuments such as Jami, Gumbaz, Madrassas Mirzakul bulish, Ata-Kuzi and Kutaiba ibn Muslim Mausoleum among others.

Equally interesting are albums focusing on epigraphy in Bukhara, Fergana, Navoi and, of course, Tashkent city that offer a wealth of interesting and valuable information.

The results of years of efforts by the creative group of scholars, who painstakingly study the epigraphic inscriptions destroyed by time, are encapsulated in the ‘Architectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan’ series of albums published in Uzbek, Russian and English by Uzbekistan Today News Agency. The fundamental project will now store the mysteries of epigraphic inscriptions on the pages of the books, and even if the physical landmarks succumb to the ravages of time, “The Architectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan” books will carry this spiritual legacy through ages to coming generations.

Scholar viewpoints

Prominent scholars and epigraphy experts have provided positive references on the books. They include the Vice-President of Uzbekistan’s Academy of Sciences Bahrom Abduhalimov, the Deputy Chairman of Uzbekistan Muslim Board Sheikh Abdulaziz Mansur, academician Edvard Rtveladze and academician Akbar Hakimov.

The series of albums has received positive reviews from several top international specialists: Professor Sims-Williams, the Curator of Medieval Oriental Epigraphy at the British Museum; Professor Ludwig Callus, head of the Arabic calligraphy section at Sorbonne University, Professor Anke von Kugelgen at the University of Bonne Свободного; Professor Vladimir Nastich, lead specialist on numismatics and Central Asian epigraphy at the Institute of Oriental Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences among others. Similar reviews were provided by specialists during a major international conference held in May 2012 in Bukhara.

Edvard Rtveladze, Academician of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan:

“These albums are large-scale and unprecedented in the scientific and cultural value of the project, whose main purpose is to find, study and publish epigraphic inscriptions on architectural monuments in Uzbekistan. The work carried out is colossal. The authors were able to supplement and correct the previously published and read translations of Arabic, Persian and Turkic inscriptions, for the first time to engage in a lot of the scientific currency of epigraphic material that previously could not be read in the art, and therefore had remained unknown to researchers. For example, inscriptions on such outstanding complexes as Shahi Zinda, Registan, a number of monuments of Bukhara and Khiva, cartouches with inscriptions on the pylons of the palace of Amir Temur, Aqsarai, and more that were once inaccessible. This work is a clear contribution to the study of the spiritual and cultural history of Central Asian peoples. And most importantly, no country where monuments of Islamic art and architecture can be found has carried out such a large project. Uzbekistan is the first country to have done that.”

Hamad bin Muhammad ad-Davani, Professor, Chairman of the National Chancellery of Oman’s Cabinet:

“You are doing great and important work, and I want to express my gratitude for these efforts. It is hard work, and it aims to benefit all mankind. These books provide a unique opportunity to get acquainted with architectural monuments and learn the essence of the inscriptions left by our ancestors. In addition, the published material demonstrates the wisdom and glory of the Uzbek people, the whole country’s genius scientists reared in this land, the high civilization of the region. Each researcher who wants to study the history of Uzbekistan should definitely read this book. I think that not only Uzbek, but also foreign researchers must deeply study the history of the ancient cities of Uzbekistan, the experience of the great scientists, the scientific heritage of the East. We must treasure and preserve this cultural heritage for all mankind.”

Jurgen Paul, Professor, the University of Gale, Germany:

“These publications are important not only for Uzbekistan but also epigraphy experts throughout the world. These albums exemplify careful attitude to the preservation of national heritage. I am very pleased that the project continues, and I think that you are in for more inspiring discoveries. It seems that the old dream of starting to memorialize and publish Uzbekistan’s epigraphy has finally come true. And the fact that the project is supported by the state instills confidence in the future...”

Vladimir Nastich, Doctor of History, the Institute of Oriental Studies, the Russian Academy of Sciences:

“This is a truly important project that kicked off with the publication of the book “Masterpieces of Uzbekistan’s Architectural Epigraphy”. It is remarkable that the study of arabographic epigraphy in your country is carried at the level of a state program. I am not aware of any such precedent. I hope that the continuation of the project in the form of presentation of readings and translations of inscriptions on other monuments of Uzbekistan will be realized in the near future. This will be a truly important contribution to science.”

Rocco Ronte, Professor and head of the Section of Oriental Culture and Art, The Louvre Museum:

“These publications are of great interest not only for epigraphy specialists, but also for the people of the historical cities of Uzbekistan. They will increase the required level of knowledge regarding the content of the inscriptions on historical monuments of Uzbekistan. The creative team of the project has done a great job in the field of study and systematization of epigraphy of various regions of the country. These remarkable albums are the outcome of these efforts.”

Ahmad Rajab Rizk, Professor of Central Asian history, archeology and art, Cairo University:

“This research work captures the most important inscriptions and varieties of calligraphy. It is very important and useful for all researchers and contains a lot of useful information for students as it acquaints them with outstanding landmarks in Uzbekistan and the inscriptions found on them. This fundamental research work contains a lot of illustrations and it may be deemed significant not only for Uzbekistan but also for the Islamic civilization as a whole.

I would like to express my deep thanks to everyone who has contributed to the publication of these books. It is important to present these books in Arabic and English so that they can be disseminated in Arab and European countries. These countries are very interested in learning more about the culture and art of Uzbekistan which formed the crust of Islamic civilization and was the culture and education hub for the entire world.”

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

Healthcare

Uzbek Healthcare to be Revamped

From 2011 to 2015, the number of hospital beds in Uzbekistan decreased from 139,800 to 129,800. New reductions will continue until 2020. True, this will be related solely to anti-tuberculosis service. Will there be enough hospital beds for all those in need of them?

The situation was clarified at the Chair of Organization, Economics and Administration of Healthcare of the Tashkent Institute of qualification improvement of physicians.

It turned out that this tendency was laid down into the State program 18 years ago. Already then had been clearly specified the major transformations to be carried out in the sphere of medical services to the population of the country.

They were prioritized in the following order: primary medical-sanitary health care, protection of maternal and child health, emergency medical aid, specialized medical assistance, sanitary-epidemiological welfare of the population, provision of medicines and so on.

The modernized healthcare system of the country gives priority to the outpatient rather than inpatient service as was the case in the past. A true vector of this concept had been recognized very soon, first of all, by industrially advanced states and they took to implementing it in their respective countries.         

The course of these transformations and their initial results are being actively analyzed in many countries of the world. The majority of experts admit the positive impact of reduction of the number of hospital beds on the development of healthcare system in general. Time, however, has not come so far for categorical statements; the long-term results of these transformations will have to be seen yet. 

What hospital beds are subject to reduction, and what will replace them? Head of Chair “Organization, Economics and Healthcare administration” Damin Asadov helped us clarify the issue.

“Specialists consider that time has come today to introduce a thorough control over the justification of the need to hospitalize a patient. Patients who may be treated on an outpatient basis should not be sent to hospitals.  Undertreated patients should not be also discharged from a hospital or high turnover of hospital beds should not be achieved on account of hospital overload work by sacrificing sanitary-hygienic conditions.

There are always patients who may well be treated efficiently outside the hospitals. It has been established that in such areas as “therapy”, “nursing the elderly patients”, as well as a number of other specialities the proportion of unjustified cases of admissions for inpatient treatment makes up more than 20-27%, while the share of patients for whom hospital treatment is no longer useful after a certain period is equal to14.6% for all specialities, except psychiatry and obstetrics.

This indicator exceeds 60% for patients getting treated at therapeutic departments and sections nursing the elderly patients at general type municipal hospitals.

 The results of some scientific research provide evidence that 20-30% of patients getting treated at inpatient hospitals may receive more effective and cheaper medical assistance at day care centers and at their homes.

Let us refer to upcoming reductions, which are planned to be carried out up to the year 2020. Why are they related to anti-tuberculosis service? Optimization of the network of establishments has been continued in this area with simultaneous elimination of low-capacity and expansion of modern well-equipped hospitals. At the same time, the Ministry of Healthcare keeps introducing modern methods of treatment at the recommendations of the World Health Organization, which enable certain group of patients to get safe treatment in outpatient conditions at home. Thus, the need in 1450 hospital beds will drop out after the realization of these projects, and their number will be gradually reduced, according to specialists.

Experts also pay attention to the fact that it has been becoming more and more evident in recent years that the systems providing a patient the opportunity to immediately take a specialist advise after the initial appeal (France, Germany, Sweden, USA) shows the tendency towards higher costs compared with that where there is a link between a patient and specialist doctor in the person of a general practitioner (Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, UK).

Resources saved on account of reducing the inefficiently used hospital cots in Uzbekistan are channeled to the development of the system of general practitioners and introduction of modern high technological methods of diagnostics and treatment at medical establishments, which enable to reduce time required for recovery of patients.”

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

Problems of water resources in the Central Asia

Aral Sea’s Planetary Predicament Addressed through Joint Efforts

During the presidency of Uzbekistan in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) (2013-2016), a third action plan to assist countries in the Aral Sea Basin Program (ASBP-3) was implemented, monitoring the progress of which was carried out by the Executive Committee of IFAS jointly with the IFAS Agency for management of projects in the Aral Sea Basin and Global Environment Facility (GEF IFAS) and its subsidiaries, founder states of the Fund, regional and international organizations and donors.

Monitoring results have showed a significant increase in the financial contribution not only by the founding states of the Fund, but also international organizations and donors in comparison with the two previous programs of action to assist countries in the Aral Sea basin. Indicative of this is that within the framework of ASBP-3, out of 501 national projects worth $15.04 billion in Uzbekistan 295 projects worth $6.05 billion have been implemented, 125 projects worth $7.3 billion are in the implementation phase, and 81 projects amounting to $1.7 billion are at the launch stage.

These projects are aimed at construction and reconstruction of medical, educational and sports facilities, residential houses in rural areas, roads and railway lines, bridges, power lines, irrigation systems and other hydraulic works. In addition, they have covered land improvement and implementation of the principles of integrated water resources management and modern technologies of water conservation, providing the population with quality drinking water, forest plantations on the dried bottom of the Aral Sea and the mountainous terrain, the creation of local water bodies, development of the legal framework and institutional systems, and much more.

Over the past three years of Uzbekistan’s presidency in the Fund, the Executive Committee of IFAS, including with the participation of GEF Agency of IFAS, has organized more than 200 meetings, negotiations, forums and consultations. Cooperation has been established with reputable international financial institutions and development agencies, including in particular the UN agencies like UNDP, UNECE, UN FAO, UNEP, UNICEF, WHO, ESCAP, UNESCO, UNRCCA, the World Bank, ADB, IDB, international cooperation agencies of Germany, Switzerland, Republic of Korea, the United States, Turkey, Japan, other international organizations and donors to attract their attention and efforts to the implementation of practical actions to improve the environmental, socio-economic and water situation in the Aral Sea basin.

In this context, a vivid example was the forum that received worldwide publicity, namely, the international conference entitled “Development of Cooperation in the Aral Sea Region to Mitigate the Consequences of Environmental Catastrophe”, organized at the initiative of the President of IFAS, the first President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, on 28-29 October 2014 in Urgench. The conference sought to help intensify international cooperation and mobilize resources of the donor community for the implementation of practical actions aimed at improving the situation in the Aral Sea region.

As a result of the grand event, a number of documents was signed with international and foreign governmental financial institutions, donor countries and reached an agreement on the implementation of national and regional projects worth 3 billion U.S. dollars in the Aral Sea Basin, with the contribution of preferential long-term loans totaling $1.9 billion and provision of technical assistance funds and grants in the amount of $200 million.

In the meantime, the GEF Agency of IFAS as an international organization actively cooperates with the international community in the implementation of joint projects and programs in the Aral Sea basin. One of such schemes is the one entitled “Application of Integrated Water Resources Management and Smart Water Technology through the Introduction of Information and Communication Technologies in Uzbekistan”, realized in collaboration with the Korean Corporation for Water Resources (K-Water). The project is at the stage of implementation, as a result of its completion a national information system for monitoring water resources in Uzbekistan will be established.

At the moment, dynamic efforts are underway with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to raise funds of the Green Climate Fund and Global Environment Facility for comprehensive examination and restoration of degraded lands of the drained Aral Sea.

In addition, a project to study wetlands in the Aral Sea region to overcome the negative consequences of the catastrophe, GEF Agency of IFAS actively cooperates with the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), in conjunction with which the ornithological research on wetlands of the southern Aral Sea was carried out in 2014-2016.

It should also be noted that negotiations are in progress with other international financial donors to continue monitoring the biodiversity of wetlands in the Aral Sea region in 2017.

The data obtained in the study will be used in the process of inclusion of the Sudochye system of lakes in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar List).

Works undertaken is expected to facilitate the improvement in the socio-economic and ecological situation in the Aral Sea area and the Aral Sea basin in general.

Further implementation of the works carried out started in the period of the presidency of the Republic of Uzbekistan will continue by the GEF Agency of IFAS, which was created by the decision of the President of IFAS, the first President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov on May 12, 1998, for the implementation of projects, programs and emergency aid to the population of the Aral Sea basin.

At the same time, it becomes obvious that the enormity of the challenges to be addressed requires effective coordination and the pooling of resources at both the regional and international levels.

In view of the abovementioned, the GEF Agency of IFAS calls on the world community to mobilize efforts and resources for the implementation of specific programs and projects in the Aral Sea basin in order to mitigate the negative effects of the environmental disaster caused by the drying up of the Aral Sea.

Reference

In accordance with the decision of the heads of founding states of IFAS, chairmanship in the Fund for the next three years was assumed by the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2013.

Under the decision (№ 1-854) of the first President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the President of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, IFAS Executive Committee was established in Tashkent on August 2, 2013.

During the chairmanship of the Republic of Uzbekistan, IFAS activity aimed at the implementation of programs and projects in the Aral Sea basin, particularly the Program of Action of the Aral Sea Basin Countries for 2011-2015 (ASBP-3), as well as other programs worked out by the Republic of Uzbekistan to eliminate the consequences of the Aral Sea drying and prevent disaster in the Aral Sea ecosystems, approved by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and circulated as an official document of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

IFAS continues to remain a unique regional platform for the realization of these efforts.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

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