Working Group adopts resolution on environmental crisis in Aral Sea region
|Working Group on Saving Aral Sea for Sustainable Development has adopted a resolution on environmental crisis in the Aral Sea region and measures to rehabilitate, refill and mitigate its negative impacts. |
The meeting of the Working Group (WG) held at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and it was unanimously agreed that diversion of water from two major rivers Amudarya and Syrdarya feeding Aral, for multipurpose is the most significant cause of its drying.
A complex range of environmental, socioeconomic and demographic problems emerged, of international character in terms of origin and the level of implications being one of the most crucial global ecological catastrophes u drying of the Aral Sea.
In 1960, the Aral Sea was the fourth-largest inland water body in the world, but the size has slashed to about 7.7% of the original. It has raised the salinity of the area's soil, reducing the amount of arable land, causing irreversible losses in flora and fauna and depriving millions in neighboring countries of critical sources of income.
The situation in the Aral Sea region is under peril of rapid and considerable deterioration if inflow of water resources decreases and becomes imbalanced in future.
Coupled with inefficient use of water resources this can contribute to expansion of disaster area, increase area of saline lands, unsuitable for agricultural cultivation and living, deprive millions of people of employment and income and cause further losses in flora and fauna of the Aral Sea region and life quality of local population.
Prevention of aggravation of the Aral Sea area situation is an integral part of economic, social, environmental and other aspects of regional security both for Central Asian countries and their neighbors.
The Working Group also proposed studies at multiple impacts on local and global environment. It also suggested that hydroelectric projects being initiated on rivers falling in the catchments Area of Aral Sea should be inline with decisions of International Court of justice - an organ of United Nations - to ensure ecology and environment of region in the larger interests of globe.
The peculiar cause is GabcikovouNagymaros hydropower project, a case between Hungary and Slovakia over trans-boundary river, is the best precedence and it is a global obligation for countries. It was also urged to conduct trans-boundary EIA of all hydropower projects before their physical executions to save regional ecological balance.
While developing any hydroelectric power project on Trans-boundary rivers, the declaration of the UN Conference on Human Environment ("Stockholm Declaration") made in 1972, and Rio Declaration on Environment and Development ("Rio Declaration"), adopted in 1992, present general principles of international law that are applicable for project having trans-boundary environmental impact.
It was pointed out that there is need for conducting studies on; existing hydro power potential in the region, river diversion for agricultural usage and collection of climatological data.
Working Group also proposed exploration of renewable energy sources for economic prosperity of all five central Asian countries for regional harmony and inline with international laws of environments.
The need for a working group on the subject was also reinforced after the devastating floods in Pakistan when westerly weather system collided with the monsoon weather system during the last week of July 2010 causing unprecedented flash floods in Pakistan.
The technical part of the Working Group will make assessments of the state of environment in Central Asia and plausible impacts on climate of Pakistan and region as whole.
The formation of working group also reflects the pursuit of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), a strategic methodology to achieve a substantial reduction in hydrological disasters.
Pakistan has numerous hydropower potential, especially its northern Areas, Gilgit-Baltistan and KPK has more than 40000MW technically, financially and run-of-river based hydropower potential that is 100% environment friendly. 50% of this hydropower would help to bring economic revolution in neighboring Central Asian Countries. This is win-win solution proposed by group.
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