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Central Asian countries renew commitment to green their economies

Central Asian States have gathered during a side event held in the margins of the Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference to measure progress towards a Green Economy and discuss ways to accelerate the transition.


High-level country representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan confirmed that Central Asia is moving towards an inclusive Green Economy and is willing to accelerate economic and social development while responding to climate change, environmental degradation and resource scarcity.


Facing numerous challenges but also opportunities, Central Asian states took stock of their achievements and shared their latest action plans and developments. They also identified priority measures and sectors for propelling the Green Economy transition. For Kazakhstan, water management was mentioned as the top priority, while agriculture was highlighted by Uzbekistan, energy by Kyrgyzstan and land management by Tajikistan, while Turkmenistan focused on the need to develop a new legal basis to support sustainable development principles.


Concrete examples shared by country representatives included new national laws to support renewable energy, national plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reinforced collaboration with the business sector on green initiatives, the introduction of green technologies and the shift towards sustainable agriculture, to name but a few.


“Environmental challenges but also environmental opportunities and benefits know no borders,” stressed Jan Dusik, Director and Regional Representative of the United Nations Environment Programme, when moderating the discussion. “It is therefore important to exchange information at regional level and look at a broader picture than just the national one. That is why we are here, that is why holding this meeting in the margins of the Environment for Europe conference made a lot of sense”.


Countries also reflected on the next steps following the Batumi meeting and agreed to meet regularly to exchange ideas on green initiatives and best practices. States and partners also reviewed progress made so far in the region with a particular focus on how the recent achievements contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and their implementation at different levels.


The side event, titled ‘Greening the economy and sustainable development in Central Asia – current achievements and the way forward’ was highly timely as it took place immediately before pan-European countries made concrete pledges to move towards greener economies.


It was organised by the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Aral Sea Saving, the Inter-State Commission on Sustainable Development, UNEP’s Regional Office for Europe, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia and the German Agency for Development Cooperation GIZ.


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