Rising temperature, water scarcity, air pollution: Uzbekistan’s president addresses COP28

Rising temperature, water scarcity, air pollution: Uzbekistan’s president addresses COP28
Rising temperature, water scarcity, air pollution: Uzbekistan’s president addresses COP28 and calls for faster action as Central Asia is in the front line of global warming / bne IntelliNews
By Muzaffar Ismailov in Tashkent December 1, 2023

Uzbekistan’s president Shavkat Mirziyoyev added to the voices expressing concern over the looming Climate Crisis in his speech at COP28 December 1.

 “The climate problems have already turned into a main threat to global sustainable development. These challenges are even affecting the global geopolitical landscape,” Mirziyoyev told the world’s assembled leaders.

Mirziyoyev pointed to the dramatically rising temperatures in the Central Asian, which are already twice as high as the global average indicator. Uzbekistan has just been through a second year of droughts that led to water ratioing in some cities. In recent years, the number of extremely hot days has doubled and one third of the glaciers in the country’s mountains have completely melted.

Uzbekistan’s leader added that the soil erosion was impacting the livelihoods of over 30mn people in the region. Strong sand and dust storms are becoming the new normal.

“Water scarcity, air pollution, loss of biodiversity, and a sharp yield decrease in agriculture are ever-growing. In a word, these global challenges are reaching their peak point in our vast region,” Mirziyoyev said.

Underlining key strategic objectives of his “New Uzbekistan” reform agenda, the president noted that the share of alternative energy in Uzbekistan has doubled, as Mirziyoyev has launched a green energy revolution in the country and committed the government to become the leading user of renewable energy in Central Asia.

“In cooperation with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, China, Turkey, and other foreign partners, we are working on creating 25 gigawatts of renewable energy capacities by 2030,” Mirziyoyev said.

Uzbekistan’s government is aiming to increase the area of green zones in cities to 30%. To create a resilient protective belt on the desiccated seabed of the Aral Sea, forests had been planted on an area of over 2mn hectares. This has allowed to decrease air pollution level in the Aral Sea region.

In his address, Mirziyoyev also called for finalisation of the Global Climate Change Adaptation Framework as part of the Paris Agreement. He underlined that the global transition to a low-carbon economy must be fair, transparent, and inclusive, with the interests of developing countries that are suffering great losses due to climate change must be taken into account.

“In accordance with the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly we are keen to transform the Aral Sea region from an environmental disaster zone to a ‘hub of innovation, technology, and new opportunities’,” Uzbekistan’s leader said.

He also invited leading and renowned scholars and experts to participate in the “Climate Scientific Forum” to be organised under the auspices of the “Green University” in Tashkent.

Mirziyoyev also announced his government’s intention to organise a conference in Uzbekistan in 2024 on the topic of “Climate Migration” in cooperation with the United Nations.

“Uzbekistan remains committed to universal ideas on fighting against climate change. For this noble purpose, I call for support for our initiative to hold the Samarkand International Climate Forum next year and to adopt a special resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, which reflects our regional approaches,” he concluded.