WB allocates $38M to lessen impact of climate change in Aral Sea basin

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Nov. 4

By Demir Azizov- Trend:

The Board of Directors of the World Bank (WB) has approved the allocation of $38 million from the International Development Association (IDA) to finance the first phase of the Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program for the Aral Sea Basin Project, the Tashkent office of the World Bank told Trend Nov.3.

Tajikistan will receive $9 million of the funding, while $14 million will be delivered to Uzbekistan. Another $15 million has been allocated for carrying out regional activities by the executive committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), with the support of the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia.

The objective of the Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program for the Aral Sea Basin Project for Central Asia is to expand regionally coordinated access to improve climate change knowledge services for key stakeholders, including policy makers, communities, and civil society, in participating Central Asian countries. It also seeks to increase investments and capacity building that, combined, will address climate challenges common to these countries.

The project consists of three components. The first component, regional climate knowledge services, will provide technical assistance, as well as minor civil works, goods, including software and equipment, and training, at both the regional and national levels, to develop a unified, integrated regional analytical platform for climate-resilient and low emission developments, with improved data, information, knowledge, and decision-support tools.

The second component, the regional climate investment facility, will provide technical assistance and facilitation support to plan, implement, and manage climate investments. The second component consists of two sub-components: investment financing and capacity building and community support.

The third component, regional and national coordination, consists of two sub-components: regional and national coordination.

So far, water volume in the Aral Sea has declined by over 13 times, and its area has shrunk by over seven times. Water level in the Aral Sea has dropped by 26 meters, while the shoreline has receded by hundreds of kilometers.

Meanwhile, water salinity in the Aral Sea has multiplied.

Consequences of this environmental catastrophe have affected the living conditions of millions of people residing near the Aral Sea.

The International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea was established in 1993 with the participation of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

The objectives of the fund are the conservation of biological fund, maintenance of a favorable condition of the environment, ensuring improvement of the quality and standard of living of the population. Since December 2008, the IFAS has an observer status in the UN General Assembly.

In September 2013, a program of measures to eliminate the consequences of drying of the Aral Sea and prevent ecosystem disasters in the Aral Sea has been distributed as an official document of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

Uzbekistan became a member of the World Bank in 1992. In total, the WB allocated around $2 billion worth loans to Uzbekistan for implementing projects in the field of privatization, financial sector development, modernization of agriculture, electricity sphere, improving social infrastructure, health and education.

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