BAKU, Azerbaijan, Aug. 26
By Ilkin Seyfaddini – Trend:
It is often said that the past can be an excellent predictor of the future, and here in Uzbekistan, the recent past, with extraordinary reforms and advances across the broad spectrum of government and society, predicts positive development and a better future for the people of Uzbekistan, OSCE Project Co-Ordinator in Uzbekistan, Ambassador John MacGregor told Trend in an interview.
“What I have observed since late 2016 were the major reforms and improvements in the Justice sector, Rule of Law, Human Rights, economic issues, environmental concerns, and overall comprehensive security, which have contributed to positive trends apparent in today’s Uzbekistan. The fundamentals of a State with 34 million well educated and motivated people, with good leadership, improving governance, and an increasing practice of international cooperation bodes well for the future,” said MacGregor.
He admitted that the current COVID-19 pandemic has slowed development in Uzbekistan and caused setbacks around the world, but, as John MacGregor said, he still sees an overall positive tendency for the future in Uzbekistan.
He also touched upon the Aral sea problem and measures taken by Uzbekistan to solve it.
“Particularly since 2017, the foreign policy of Uzbekistan has included the development of good neighbourly relations, and that includes bringing stakeholders together to attract attention to the grim reality of the Aral problem. Recognizing the need for international cooperation to try to mitigate the one the worst man-made global environmental catastrophes of all time, the Government of Uzbekistan and the United Nations jointly established The Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea region in Uzbekistan (MPHSTF), which has commenced work under the aegis of the UN Development Program,” stated MacGregor.
"In terms of work on the ground that will most immediately benefit the residents of the area, Uzbekistan has instituted a plan to plant Saxaul trees across the entire former bed of the Aral sea," added OSCE Project Co-Ordinator.
The Saxaul trees were chosen because they can survive with little moisture and because each fully grown tree can fix up to 10 tons of soil around its roots. This then prevents the winds from picking up contaminated sand from the dried up sea bed and spreading them through the atmosphere.
“I have also seen much attention improving infrastructure and social support services for the people living in the area of the former Aral Sea, generally improving their lives, living conditions, and prospects for the future,” John MacGregor pointed out.
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