Just in time for the – in the pandemic year – extended deadline for the submission of new sites to the list of UNESCO biosphere reserves, the Uzbek UNESCO Commission has submitted the nomination documents for the proposed Lower Amudarya Biosphere Reserve to UNESCO in Paris.
The timely receipt of the nomination was acknowledged by Mr. Miguel Clüsener-Godt, Director of the Division of Ecology and Earth Sciences of the MaB Secretariat of UNESCO in Paris. This means that an area with 3 core zones and a total size of 69,000 hectares, along the great Central Asian river Amudarya (Oxus), which feeds the Aral Sea, is proposed for nomination. Here are the last remaining floodplain forest habitats (locally tugai forests) that still exist in Inner Asia. At the same time, the area is one of the oldest settlement areas on earth, which was already conquered by Alexander the Great, was later conquered and lost again by many cultures, was a route of the legendary Silk Road and is today one of the most densely populated areas in Inner Asia.
Within the framework of a project of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), which was carried out by the Michael Succow Foundation together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Uzbekistan, ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation (EbA) were tested and implemented. The basis for this was, among other things, a MARISCO model developed in a previous project financed by the German Federal Ministry for Development and Cooperation (BMZ) in cooperation with the Center for Econics and Ecosystem Management (CEEM). This is intended to support vulnerable population groups in responding to the current and future impacts of climate change in these sensitive locations, while at the same time restoring the resilience of the ecosystem.
We hope for a positive decision by the International Coordination Council (ICC), as international attention can boost the efforts by the Uzbek authorities to preserve this unique ecosystem.