September 26, 2019. Nukus. Today the joint project of the Government, United Nations Development Programme and UNESCO “Addressing the urgent human insecurities in the Aral Sea region through promoting sustainable rural development " was launched at the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan.

This is the first project funded by the Multi –partner Human Security Trust Fund (MPHSTF) for the Aral Sea region in Uzbekistan with a budget of 1,463, 900 USD.

The project goal is to address the environmental, social and economic insecurities in the most vulnerable communities of the Aral Sea region through bringing comprehensive solutions to addressing environmental issues, promoting access to basic services, improving the livelihoods, development of sustainable tourism in Takhtakupir, Muynak and Chimbay districts of Karakalpakstan.

«Let me assure you that UNDP gives high priority to supporting the Aral Sea region and will work to expand its engagement in the region, said Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan in her welcoming speech to the participants of the ceremony. - The new level of engagement will be designed around the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan to turn the Aral Sea region into a zone of environmental innovations and technologies. In this context, UNDP will work to bring global expertise to jointly explore innovative solutions for integrated achievement of SDGs in the region».

The project will provide access to drinking water for more than 2,230 rural people, expand income generation opportunities for over 1,000 representatives of vulnerable communities through support to SMEs and community level eco-tourism development. Evidence based afforestation initiatives in the dried bed of the Aral Sea will help to promote climate change adaptation actions in the pilot districts.

The first Call for Proposals under the MPHSTF was announced in the beginning of the year. It was focused on providing environmental security, including afforestation; health security; and social security, including access to basic utilities, social protection, water, sanitation, and education.

In total five project proposals were received from Participating UN Organizations for a total amount of USD 4.23 million. Following the review and consultations, the Steering Committee consisting of the government representatives, donors - EU Delegation, the Embassy of Japan, local NGOs, and the UN, approved two project proposals for the total amount of USD 3.085 million.

The MPHSTF serves as a unique single platform for uniting international donors communities’ efforts and mobilization of their resources to implement measures directed towards improvement of the ecological and socio-economic situation in the region.