Desertification, water scarcity, droughts, and the shrinkage of the Aral Sea are some of the challenges that Uzbekistan faces due to climate change. Given their vital role in regulating ecosystems, protecting biodiversity and landscapes, and supporting livelihoods, trees and forests are at the centre of efforts to tackle these negative consequences of climate change and to build resilient communities.
With this in view, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Uzbekistan and the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection (SCEEP) of Uzbekistan are joining forces to implement a project on “Master planning and innovative financial solutions to support the implementation of the Yashil Makon (Green Nation) Initiative of the Republic of Uzbekistan”.
The project establishes cooperation among the three partners based on shared funding, coordination, and capacity-building to support Uzbekistan’s Yashil Makon initiative on afforestation, green cities and landscapes and develop viable, innovative finance for its long-term funding. It will be implemented in close collaboration with the relevant national partners. At UNECE, the project is led by the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section.
At the signing ceremony of the Statement of Intent in support of the project held on 22 June 2022, UNECE Deputy Executive Secretary Mr. Dmitry Mariyasin highlighted the importance of this multi-partner cooperation for sustainable, long-term impact and results. “In building resilient ecosystems and our forests”, he stressed, “we are building resilient communities in Uzbekistan”.
All three partners recognized the joint project as the first step towards a long-term prolific cooperation to support the Uzbek Government in its efforts to mitigate climate change through nature-based solutions.
Background: Uzbekistan faces major climate change challenges exacerbated by annual temperatures rising at a greater than average rate and mountain glaciers – a vital source of drinking water – melting at a faster pace than the global mean. While forests account for only 7.7 per cent of the country’s territory (much lower than the world average), they are vital for reversing desertification and protecting biodiversity and landscapes, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
To combat the negative impact posed by climate change, the Government of Uzbekistan put forward an afforestation initiative, called Yashil Makon/Green Nation, in November 2021. This nation-wide afforestation programme was added to the Strategy for Developing the New Uzbekistan during 2022-2026 and envisages expansion of forest coverage area in the country by planting 200 million trees annually.