The primary goals of the executive committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea - maintenance of practical realisation of decisions of the Council of heads of the states-founders, the President and Board of IFAS on problems of the basin of the Aral sea; development, conduction of inspection and realisation of programs and projects directed to the improvement of ecological conditions of the Aral sea basin. The committee co-ordinates activity of branches, special agencies and funds for improvement of social and ecological conditions in the Aral sea basin located in the territories of the states-founders of IFAS, assistance of work of the Interstate Commission on Water Coordination (ICWC) and the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD).
An important aspect is adjustment of close cooperation with ministries, departments of the countries of the region, public and international organisations, and countries-donors, ecological and other funds with a view of enhancement of activity on problems of preservation of the environment. Proceeding from it, the Executive committee ensures representation of IFAS in authoritative structures, accumulates financial and other means, guarantees their target use, gives information-analytical materials to the states-founders of IFAS, and carries out information and publishing activity. Among other functions - preparation of materials and organization of sessions of the Council of heads of the states-founders and board of IFAS, the organisation of thematic conferences, symposiums and seminars on the issues connected with the IFAS activity and others.
As known, the Aral sea problem the original cause of which were changes of the hydrological regime of rivers of the basin , at the turn of the century the 20th -21st centuries found a critical character and today is in the centre of attention of the world community. Consequences of the ecocatastrophe caused by irrational use of water resources, affected the living conditions of many millions of people living on the basin of the Aral Sea. Moreover, the processes of degradation of natural resources caused by an intensive shallowing of the reservoir, including desertification of coastal areas, deterioration of natural pastures, salination of soils, formation of saline soils and as consequence, decrease in the biological diversity, also bear in threat not only to Central Asia, but also to the adjacent territories. The situation is aggravated with global climate changes on the planet.
The solution of the given problems in many respects depends on the co-ordinated actions of the states which directly experience negative consequences of ecological disaster. Proceeding from it, the decision on creation of the International Fund for the Aral sea founders of which are Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in due time was accepted. The Interstate Commission on Water Coordination (ICWC) and the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD) were established at IFAS.
In December, 2008 the Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations on granting IFAS the status of the observer that positively affected intensification of cooperation with international organisations, the countries-donors, ecological funds were accepted. In particular, within the framework of IFAS the Aral Sea Basin Program (ASBP) and also «Program of Measures on Eliminating the Consequences of Drying up of the Aral Sea and Averting the Catastrophe of the Ecological Systems in the Aral Sea Region» approved at the 68th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations is stage by stage realised.
Presiding at IFAS, Turkmenistan intends to pay the most steadfast attention to issues of rational use of water resources of the region and adaptation of the countries of Central Asia to global climate changes. The initiatives made by President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov at the Conference of the United Nations on sustainable development "Rio+20", the United Nations Summit on sustainable development beyond 2015 which took place within the limits of the 70th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, 3rd world conference of the United Nations on decrease of risk of acts of nature in Japan and 7th world water forum in the Republic of Korea, are aimed at it.
Among them – proposals made at the opening of the Ashgabat Regional Centre for Technologies connected with climate change in Central Asia for which work the Turkmen party is ready to give a necessary infrastructure in Ashgabat and also on development of a special program of the United Nations on Rescue of the Aral and Water Strategy of the United Nations.
The International ecological forum «the Initiative for cooperation in the field of preservation of the environment and sustainable development in Central Asia», organised by the State Committee for Preservation of the Environment and land Resources of Turkmenistan and the Regional Ecological Centre of Central Asia (RECCA) held in Ashgabat in early June was devoted to the vital topic.
On the agenda – development of a new Program of actions for rendering assistance to the countries of the Aral Sea basin (ASBP-4), strengthening of a legal basis of activity IFAS, creation of uniform regional information system and database on the pool of Aral Sea and monitoring of ASBP and others.
On the proposal of Turkmenistan at the next session of the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD) which has recently passed in the Turkmen capital, the decision on development of a new «Regional program on preservation of the environment for sustainable development in Central Asia», with the account of modern realities and challenges was accepted. In particular, it is planned that each of the IFAS countries will concentrate the efforts to a certain direction. For example, Kazakhstan will see to pollution of water resources, problems that will be given at the disposal of Turkmenistan – issues on degradation of lands and struggle against desertification, Uzbekistan - monitoring of condition of atmosphere, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - mountain ecosystems and others.
Large scale actions which are planned for within the chairmanship of Turkmenistan at IFAS will allow giving to the joint activity a systematic character and directing it to the achievement of concrete results.
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