New visitor center of the Gissar State Reserve opens its doors to the people of Shakhrisabz

June 20, 2022
Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Widespread environmental problems are caused by unsustainable human behaviour towards natural ecosystems. To address biodiversity conservation issues with a focus on mountain ecosystems, a joint project of UNDP, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and State Ecology Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, supports the Government of Uzbekistan. Most of the work is focused on the environmental education of the people living in buffer zones with protected areas.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Today, the opening ceremony of the modern and interactive visitor centre of the Gissar State Mountain-Juniper Reserve took place in Shakhrisabz city of Kashkadarya Region, in the presence of  Ms. Marina Walter, Deputy Regional Director of UNDP in Europe and CIS. Ms. Walter, who is on official visit to Uzbekistan for the first time, said in her welcoming speech: “It is my hope that through information and knowledge sharing platforms of the visitor center, through its exhibits, publications, and regular discussions, children and communities will acquire a better, richer understanding of the value of the Gissar ecosystems, that supply oxygen, clean air and water, pollination of plants, pest control, wastewater treatment and many other vitally important services.”

The opening of the visitor center aims to contribute to the materialization of the common goal of UNDP and State Committee on Ecology of Uzbekistan – environmental awareness of the importance of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. The main exhibition area welcomes visitors with information stands about key wild animals and ecosystems of the reserve; threats faced by local wildlife; details on the inspectors’ work, including important on-going research carried out by scientists.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Mr. Jusipbek Kazbekov, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee on Ecology and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Ms. Marina Walter, Deputy Regional Director of UNDP in Europe and CIS, Ms. Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan, and Mr. Akrom Sulaymonov, Khokim of Shahrisabz city were the honorary guests of the official opening ceremony of the Visitor Center.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

The second part of the event shed light on modern approaches, in particular the use of IT technologies, for protection and rational use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation. One of these methods is the use of drones. Drones allow the collection and analysis of data through topographic and aerial photography(surveying). Such methods improve the accuracy of data acquisition and binding them to a specific area and creating up-to-date database for further monitoring.

A mobile center of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) control, has been handed over by the UNDP to the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Ecology and Environmental Protection. The whole center consists in:

  1. a drone with a wide range of functionality that allows to carry out vegetation research and keep records of animals and violations;
  2. a vehicle fully equipped with all necessary tools for collecting and analysing required data that allows mobility of the staff of the State Committee for Ecology to reach any place in the Uzbekistan.

The visitor centre is expected to become a popular tourism destination where students of local educational institutions, visitors of different ages and especially children, will be spending time, positively serving educational purposes and fostering appreciation for specially protected natural areas and natural resources.