On 16 March the Ministry of Nature Resources together with the UN Development Programme in Uzbekistan (UNDP), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) visited Surkhandarya region to review the results of the joint afforestation project “Master planning and innovative financial solutions to support the implementation of the Yashil Makon Initiative of the Republic of Uzbekistan” engaging Afghan and Uzbek residents with the goal to contribute to socio-economic development of the region.
The project seeks to meet urgent humanitarian needs in Surkhandarya region, bordering Afghanistan, by engaging Afghan refugees in Uzbekistan and vulnerable people from host communities in afforestation activities through cash-for-work and other payment mechanisms. It allows to enhance the resilience of local communities in Surkhandarya, while addressing pressing environmental issues such as dust storms, and their damaging impact for the population and the economy.
Hans Friedrich Schodder, UNHCR Representative for Central Asia said, “Climate change affects everyone, both local population and displaced persons. As the impacts of the environmental crisis become increasingly severe, we need to work together to increase the resilience of communities to adapt and to combat the negative impacts. Our project is a telling example how displaced and host communities join efforts to protect and develop area where they live.”
Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative noted, “Extensive human resources and systemic scientific research are required to plant, nurse, and maintain trees. We support the Government and the people of Uzbekistan in their efforts to ensure the success and sustainability of “Yashil Makon” considering the environmental, financial and social factors. This initiative goes beyond planting trees, it is about creating jobs, advancing agriculture, reducing carbon emissions, and overall contributing to the well-being of not only the people of Uzbekistan, but also our neighbors and the entire planet that we all share.”
As part of the visit, delegates met with representatives of local authorities and other partners to discuss achieved results and solutions for ensuring sustainability of the project, participated in the opening ceremony of the green zone around the residential area “New Uzbekistan” in Jarkurgan district and visited the afforestation site in Termez district. The visit was wrapped up by a lively discussion with local businesses to discuss entry points for entrepreneurship, private finance, and business-model innovation as part of the project’s work in support of innovative financing instruments for “Yashil Makon”.
To this day the joint project activities resulted in planting seedlings in the newly established 100-hectare green belt, green park, and green public parks in Surkhandarya region (in Termiz city, Termiz, Jarkurgan and Sherabad districts). As of the end of 2022, 413 Afghan refugees (113 women, 300 men) and 194 members of the host community (62 women, 132 men) had been engaged in the project.
The project “Master planning and innovative financial solutions to support the implementation of the Yashil Makon Initiative of the Republic of Uzbekistan” was launched by the Ministry of Nature Resources, UNDP, UNHCR and UNECE in 2022 to combat negative impact posed by climate change and contribute to the nation-wide afforestation programme in line with objectives of the National Development Strategy – New Uzbekistan for 2022-2026.
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