Innovative means of tackling the Aral Sea challenges

June 9, 2020

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Starting from 8 June 2020 UNDP Uzbekistan commenced to host the series of trainings to assist national experts and specialists in fine-tuning the Concept Note on ‘The Aral Sea Region - Zone of Ecological Innovations and Technologies’ and developing a Roadmap for its operationalization.  

10 June 2020, Tashkent - The series of trainings are organized within the UNDP’s SDG Integration initiative aimed to contribute to the Concept to transform the Aral Sea region into ‘A Zone of Ecological Innovation and Technologies’. The objective behind this concept has been to draw foreign investments in the region that can bring in environmentally-friendly technologies, improved natural resource management, prevent desertification and migration of communities, among others.

UNDP has been working with the Government to strengthen the Concept and identify opportunities than can make this vision a reality. Three missions (in September and October 2019) were mobilized to identify innovative approach and solutions to the complex, long-standing development challenges of the Aral Sea. They contributed to the Concept as well as to the organization of the high-level International Conference ( October, 2019 in Muynak). The work now focuses on finalization of the Concept Note and the drafting of the Operational Plan or Roadmap that will help transform the vision of the concept into concrete, timebound actions.

These trainings, on Systemic Risk and Complex Systems, are to contribute to that effort and to build deeper understanding of applying the innovative system thinking approach in addressing the complex challenges and its applicability to the developing of the Aral Sea region. 

The first training session was opened with welcome speeches by Mr. Azimjon Nazarov, the Deputy Minister of Innovative Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan who noted: “The old saying goes that a problem can’t be fixed with the same mentality that created it, and this definitely applies to environmental challenges,” and by Ms. Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan, who asked the participants to challenge the theory and try to see how it fits to our reality, to make it even more practical, and to facilitate the preparation a Roadmap for operationalization of the Concept reflective of systems innovation. “Innovation and new ways of thinking are essential for resolving both short-term emergencies like the COVID-19 outbreak, and long-term issues like the ecological impacts of the Aral Sea disaster as worsened by climate change.”

The first session was attended by 45 technical experts and specialists from relevant government ministries and NGOs of Uzbekistan, who are working together to fine-tune and implement the Concept for introducing ecological innovations and technologies into the Aral Sea region. 

All trainings will be conducted online through Zoom, thereby ensuring that quarantine rules are respected, while also allowing participation from all regions of Uzbekistan

“The successes made by UNDP and our partners in addressing the human and ecological impacts of the Aral Sea catastrophe, have been rooted in our willingness to try new ideas that adapt best international practices to national circumstances,” said UNDP Resident Representative Matilda Dimovska. 

“Getting new ideas on the table and finding the best ways to put them into practice, is essential to achieving long-term change.”