The Tashkent Environmental Declaration

The Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan promoted a meeting in November 2010 of over 250 delegates from more than sixty countries to discuss “Transboundary environmental problems of Central Asia” and legal means to resolve the crises. Other representatives were sent from international organizations such as the World Bank, IUCN, and the United Nations.

The meeting resulted in the issue of the Tashkent Environmental Declaration, focusing especially on water resources in the region, trans-boundary river flows, interstate cooperation on a legal regime and financing of protection, efforts to combat soil salinization and desertification, improved tree planting for ecological amelioration, and attention to water courses that feed into the shrinking Aral Sea. The declaration also gave attention to economic development needs of the Central Asian states.

soil salinization, Uzbekistan photo courtesy of Kathleen Braden

Both agricultural activities and the expansion of the aluminum industry (related to upstream construction of hydroelectric dams, such as the controversial Rogun project on the Vakhsh River in Tajikistan) in the region were discussed as problems contributing to the ecological crisis. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have been in a diplomatic wrangle over the Rogun dam completion, complicated in April of this year when the World Bank released terms of reference for an environmental and social assessment of completing the Rogun project.

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