UN Joint Programme – multilateral cooperation platform to support the development in the Aral Sea Region
An official launch event of the new UN Joint Programme “Building the resilience of communities affected by the Aral Sea disaster through the Multi-partner Human Security Fund for the Aral Sea” was held in Tashkent, on February 10, 2017. A special UN mission represented by Ms. Mehrnaz Mostafavi, Head of Human Security Unit (HSU) and Mr. Martijn Dalhuijsen, representative of the United Nations Human Security Trust Fund (UNTFHS), took part in this event.
A wide range of presentations and discussions illustrated negative impacts of the Aral Sea disaster as well as highlighted actions being taken by the Government of Uzbekistan jointly with United Nations to address the issues of the Aral Sea region.
The event participants have also had a chance to review the results of the previous phase of the UN Joint Programme, implemented in Karakalpakstan (funded by UNTFHS) over the period of 2012–2016, the Programme’s achievements and overall outcomes, which enabled to expand the action plan of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The new Programme, initiated by the UN agencies in Uzbekistan – UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNV, is also funded by UNTFHS, as well as by internal resources of agencies, participating in the programme implementation. The newly launched Programme will be specifically focused on the human security needs of the region’s population, most vulnerable to adverse effects of the Aral Sea disaster. Improvement of the living standards and enhancement of income generation opportunities both for the population and communities are among the primary goals of the Programme as well. It is important to note that key priorities of the State programme for 2017, “The Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests”, and objectives specified in the State Programme for Development of the Aral Sea region for 2017-2021 are reflected in this initiative.
One of the most significant goals of the new Programme will be the establishment of a multi-partner international human security Fund for the Aral Sea that provides for supporting the efforts of the Government in improving the living standards in Karakalpakstan. Activities of the being established Fund will be aimed, above all, at developing an effective mechanism for coordination of the initiatives undertaken in this field and the funds invested by the international community in the format of a single regional development Programme.
As expected, the joint Programme will allow to strengthen the dialogue, since, as it was underlined during the meetings, it is necessary to join efforts not only at a local, but also at a global level, to mitigate negative impacts of the Aral Sea disaster and recover ecological balance, and to ensure the socio-economic development of the region. Moreover, a significant role is played by the perspectives of introducing best practices and tools, mobilization of technical and financial assistance resources of partners that are also included in the proposed scope of goals and objectives of the Programme.
Meetings at grassroots level will help shape a further course of cooperation. Consequently, the mentioned UN mission in Uzbekistan is planning study visit to 3 pilot to visit the Republic of Karakalpakstan, to deliver presentations and visit pilot districts. On February 16, the mission will conduct a seminar in Tashkent to present detailed information on the Concept of Human Security for government agencies, ministries and international organizations.
Upon completion of the UN Joint Programme launch event, the Cooperation Agreement between UNDP in Uzbekistan and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation was signed for implementation of a water project within the framework of the new initiative.