The United Nations in Uzbekistan in cooperation with the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade (MIFT) of Uzbekistan jointly hosted the Second Meeting of the Advisory Committee on sustainable development of the Aral Sea Region in Uzbekistan on March 30, 2021 online. The Meeting brought together more than 130 representatives from the academia, foreign missions to Uzbekistan, international financing institutions, UN agencies, international NGOs, private sector, state, and civil society organizations.
The Government of Uzbekistan presented the concept of the Integrated Roadmap for ensuring an environmental balance and socio-economic development in Aral Sea Region. The purpose of the Integrated Roadmap is to develop a coherent action plan of sustainable development of the region. Having developed a coordinated approach to all interventions for effective monitoring and mobilization of resources, might help to achieve transformational change for the people of the Aral Sea region.
Moreover, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) conveyed its vision on the Implementation of the Roadmap as an integral part to transform the action plan into tangible results in the region. The implementation of the Roadmap will be carried out within the three Working Groups of the Advisory Committee on Sustainable Investments, Data and Assessments, and Visibility, thereby involving a wide range of development partners. Ms. Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan highlighted the need for ‘high impact initiatives’ that will ultimately lead to systems changes.
In their turn, the Participating UN Organizations (PUNO) presented the key results achieved so far in the frame of the ongoing Joint Programmes funded by the Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for Aral Sea region. In particular, the Trust Fund has currently funded five Joint Programmes in such areas as improving public access to clean drinking water, improving access and quality of perinatal care, supporting innovative youth projects in agriculture, refining sanitation conditions in public schools, and strengthening the health system.
To date, about 3,500 thousand people in five localities have been provided with clean drinking water, and the infrastructure has been improved significantly, besides the new equipment was installed in maternity hospitals in the Kungrad and Beruniy districts, as well as in the Nukus city perinatal center. Furthermore, about 8,900 mothers and the 9,000 of newborns received access to high-quality perinatal services.
Furthermore, development partners such as the European Union, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Alwaleed Philanthropies, Islamic Development Bank, UN Environment Programme, United States Agency for International Development, Embassy of Israel have expressed their willingness to support interventions on sustainable development in the Aral Sea region with the Government of Uzbekistan and the United Nations. Particularly, John Mikal Kvistad, Ambassador of Norway and one of the MPHSTF donors underscored ‘we fully support the efforts both politically and financially’.
In conclusion, Ms. Helena Fraser, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan, and Co-Chair of the Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund Steering Committee encouraged everyone to join the Advisory Committee to have an opportunity to contribute ideas, insights, innovation and to support the national initiatives in the Aral Sea region.
The Advisory Committee on sustainable development of the Aral Sea region has been launched on December 1, 2020 under the UN Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea region in Uzbekistan to serve as a single platform for accelerating sustainable development in the Aral Sea region. The Committee advices to the Fund Steering Committee on comprehensive solutions, effective mechanisms and approaches that translate financial commitments made by the national and international communities into sustainable development results.