Monthly Archives: June 2015

UNODC presents 2015 World Drug Report

An estimated 200 000 drug-related deaths occurred in 2013, and a total of 246 million people used an illicit drug that year, according to the 2015 World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The report, presented today by the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia, is a comprehensive overview of the latest developments in the world’s illicit drug markets by focusing on the production of, trafficking in and consumption of the main illicit drug types and their related health consequences.

20150626_111446UNODC Representative for Central Asia, Ashita Mittal, told journalists about the main findings of the 2015 World Drug Report: drug use prevalence remains stable around the world while access to drug and HIV treatment is still low.

Speaking on June 26, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said that, although drug use is stable around the world, only one out of six problem drug users, a total of 27 million worldwide, has access to treatment.

The 2015 World Drug Report thematic focus is on Alternative Development, a long-term strategy aimed at developing alternative sources of income for farmers dependent on illicit drug cultivation. The report states that, “approached holistically, alternative development has the potential to break the vicious cycle trapping poor farmers and to act as a catalyst for viable livelihoods that do not depend on illicit cultivation.”

20150626_112542The Director of the National Information and Analytical Center on Drug Control under the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan, Ahmed Mansurov, told journalists about measures Uzbekistan has taken to counter illicit drugs. Uzbekistan, which shares a border with Afghanistan, is at major risk from the transit of narcotics. In 2014, Uzbekistan’s law enforcement seized 2, 298 kilograms of drugs. According to Mansurov, 54 tonnes of illicit drugs were seized and 193,000 drug-related crimes were revealed from 1994 to 2014.  Mansurov also noted positive dynamics in the prevention and treatment of drug abuse as well as a decline in the number of drug addicts in recent years and absence of trends indicating that more young people have joined this category of people.

Mittal and Mansurov expressed hope that joint efforts will help to achieve better indicators through a holistic approach that includes countering drug trafficking and prevention and treatment of drug abuse. Local communities, mahallas, and the media have an important role to play in this approach.

Presentation in West Camp

West-camp-presentationJune 22nd was a special day for some guests of the “West Camp” as they were expecting to view a presentation from the UN Information Office. Around 150 children of the 10-15 age range met UNIC representatives at the main hall of the camp in the midday. Children were excited to meet new people and participate in an interactive presentation-to-be. After the welcoming speech of the UN staff, young audience was introduced with a short video in the English language about the main United Nations information, followed by the discussion of the obtained information in Russian. After a quick Q&A section about the UN system to find out the average knowledge of the children, UN Information Office executives were impressed with the amount of data 10-15-year old people have about such a complicated organization as the United Nations.

After a quick quiz about the acronyms of the UN agencies and a brief discussion of their work, children were given some main information about MDGs and SDGs, as well as were shown a video about the results of the MDGs` implementation in Uzbekistan. In a continuation of the presentation, the discussion about the term “rights” and the rights of the children took place in West Camp. As it was discovered, the young audience was quite knowledgeable about its main universal rights. UN Information Office introduced three short cartoons on the mentioned topic, which were followed by the opinions of the audience on each video individually. To acknowledge those, who have memorized the majority of the presentation`s information, children were asked three questions so that three active individuals were awarded with special UNIC presents for the correct replies.

Two other activities were waiting for the “West Camp” young guests. One of them, was a famous game “The Hat” (“Крокодил”), where ten volunteers divided into two teams had to explain the acronyms of the UN Agencies to the members of their teams within one minute. The winning team was awarded with the UN booklets. Afterwards, ten other volunteers were invited to the stage to guess correct numerical answers on ten UN statistical questions appearing on the screen. Those, whose guesses were closer to real numbers, became winners. Those five people received UN informative brochures. Some additional distribution material about the United Nations was given to the workers of the camp so that every child could access it.  At the end of the one-hour long event, children enthusiastically asked the UN Information Office to visit them again.

First International Yoga Day in Tashkent

логоOver 200 men, women, children and elderly people came together at the Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent on 21 June to celebrate the first-ever International Yoga Day and engage in an exercise of physical, mental and spiritual harmony and peace.

Organized by the Embassy of India and the Lal Bahadur Shastri Center for Indian Culture with assistance from the UN Office in Uzbekistan, the event follows the proclamation by the UN of 21 June as International Yoga Day in December last year.

The draft of the resolution commissioning International Yoga Day was proposed by India and approved by a record number (175) of member countries, which highlights the importance and the many benefits of yoga for spiritual and physical wellness. “By proclaiming 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, the General Assembly has recognized the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations,” UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in his International Yoga Day message. “On this first-ever International Day of Yoga, let us see the benefits of this practice in terms of individual well-being as well as our collective efforts to improve public health, promote peaceful relations and usher in a life of dignity for all.”

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Prior to the yoga sessions, the crowd listened to opening remarks by Indian Ambassador to Uzbekistan Vinod Kumar, Director of the Center for Indian Culture Manju Singh, and Director of the Bunyodkor Stadium Vahid Zakirov. The yoga sessions were joined by Uzbek pop stars Gulbahor Sulaimonova, Shakhlo Akhmedova and Lola Yuldasheva.

Later in the day, the Embassy of India honored the winners of a juried banner exhibition put together at the stadium as part of yoga day celebrations in Tashkent.

World Blood Donor Day 2015 is celebrated on 14th of June.

World-blood-donor-day-2015This year’s motto is “Give freely, give often and blood donation matters”. Transfusion of blood and blood products help to save millions of lives each year. It can help patients suffering from life threatening conditions to live longer and with higher quality of life. It also has an essential life-saving role in maternal and child care and during man-made and natural disasters.

Therefore, the objectives for this year’s campaign are:

  1. Thank donors for life-saving donations
  2. Promote regular voluntary and unpaid blood donations
  3. Create wider public awareness of the need for regular donation
  4. Focus attention on donor health and quality of donor care
  5. And, finally, persuade authorities, including the ministry of health, to show appreciation of regular voluntary unpaid donors and provide adequate resources to provide quality donor care.

Click here to watch the interview with Asmus Hammerich on World Blood Donor Day.

UN Secretary-General visits Uzbekistan

SG_VisitOn 11-12 June, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Uzbekistan, where he held talks with President Islam Karimov. He also visited the ancient city of Bukhara, which is home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

During the bilateral meeting between Ban Ki-moon and Islam Karimov the sides discussed a wide range of global issues across the United Nations agenda of peace, development and human rights.

The UN chief was in Uzbekistan as part of his Central Asian tour, which included visits to Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.

The visit by the UN Secretary General to Uzbekistan coincides with the signing of the new 2016-2020 United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which is a strategic cooperation framework between the UN and Uzbekistan.

The Secretary-General highlighted Uzbekistan’s progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals – in reducing poverty and maternal mortality, ensuring universal access to primary education, and securing gender parity in primary and secondary schools.  He also expressed confidence that Uzbekistan will excel in taking forward the Sustainable Development Goals expected to be adopted in the coming months.

In a brief encounter with the local press, the UN chief praised the recent adoption by Uzbekistan of a National Action Plan on follow-up to Universal Periodic Review. Its implementation will help improve Uzbekistan’s compliance with its international human rights obligations, he said.

Turning to the tragedy of the Aral Sea, the SG highlighted the UN assistance to those affected by the disaster and called for more attention and resources to address the challenge.

As part of the visit, Ban Ki-moon held a meeting with the UN staff in Uzbekistan, where he learned about the outcomes of cooperation between the UN and the Government of Uzbekistan.

On 12 June, the UN delegation led by Ban Ki-moon traveled to the ancient Uzbek city of Bukhara to visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites there.

On the evening of 12 June, the UN delegation departed for Turkmenistan, the final stop of the tour.

UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL’S REMARKS TO THE PRESS

_UNI7057As-salamu alaykum.

It is a great pleasure to meet with you today.

This is my second visit to Uzbekistan as Secretary-General.  I thank again His Excellency President Islam Karimov and the Government and people of Uzbekistan for their hospitality.

The President and I discussed a wide range of global issues across the United Nations agenda of peace, development and human rights.

Uzbekistan has achieved solid progress towards the Millennium Development Goals – in reducing poverty and maternal mortality, ensuring universal access to primary education, and securing gender parity in primary and secondary schools.

I also welcome Uzbekistan’s active participation in multilateral discussions at the United Nations and its contributions to addressing regional and global issues of concern.

In particular, I appreciate Uzbekistan’s contributions to supporting stability and development in Afghanistan, as well as the country’s role in initiating the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty.

These achievements and commitments are the result of steady and people-oriented socio-economic reforms initiated by President Karimov.

The tragedy of the Aral Sea continues to be a matter of great importance for Uzbekistan and the world. I will never forget my visit to Moynak and Nukus. What has happened to the Aral Sea has been a disaster long in the making.

The United Nations has been supporting Uzbekistan’s efforts to assist those affected, but more attention and resources are needed.

The President and I discussed this matter in depth and how the United Nations can scale up the international community’s support to address and mitigate the impact of the Aral Sea tragedy.

This is just one of many shared challenges in Central Asia.  From water and energy issues to drug trafficking to terrorism and violent extremism, I am here to underscore the importance of regional cooperation and preventive diplomacy.

I want to reiterate the full commitment of the United Nations, including the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, to support the development of Uzbekistan and advance regional peace and security.

Of course, there can be no peace and development without human rights.

The United Nations — including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights — stands ready to assist Uzbekistan in promoting and protecting fundamental freedoms and providing opportunities for public participation — including through independent media, democratic institutions, access to justice, a stronger voice for civil society, and safeguards that enable human rights defenders to do their vital work.

These are the true hallmarks of a stable society and a pathway to prosperity.

Uzbekistan has initiated a number of good laws.  President Karimov has emphasized the importance of the rule of law. But laws on the books should be made real in the lives of people.

Uzbekistan has made important progress in eliminating child labour in the cotton sector.  Now more must be done to address the mobilization of teachers, doctors and others in cotton harvesting, and prevent the maltreatment of prisoners.

The United Nations has experience and expertise that we can share in improving the rule of law and protecting human rights – and we stand ready to help.

I welcome the recent adoption by Uzbekistan of a National Action Plan on follow-up to Universal Periodic Review by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Implementation of this Plan is key.  It will help Uzbekistan’s compliance with its international human rights obligations, and bring wide-ranging benefits to its people.

I am encouraged that the recently signed UN Development Assistance Framework, UNDAF, between the Government and the United Nations system, defines broad areas of cooperation to further good governance and human rights.

Once again, I am pleased to be in Uzbekistan to underscore the commitment of the United Nations to work with you to advance peace, development and human rights for all.

Thank you.

Secretary-General’s message on World Environment Day

English

The theme of this year’s is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”.

Humanity continues to consume far more natural resources than the planet can sustainably provide.  Many of the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points.  It is time for us to change.

 The goal of sustainable development is to increase the quality of life for all people without increasing environmental degradation, and without compromising the resource needs of future generations.  We can do this by shifting our consumption patterns towards goods that use less energy, water and other resources, and by wasting less food.

In this year of transformation, when we hope to see great advances on sustainable development and climate change, let us celebrate World Environment Day by becoming more conscious of our ecological impact.  Let us think about the environmental consequences of the choices we make.  Let us become better stewards of our planet.

EcoWeek 2015 concludes with children’s event

4Today, on World Environment Day, hundreds of children had the opportunity to join festivities at the Gofur Gulom Park held as part of EcoWeek 2015. Children and their parents were treated to exciting and colorful performances by Barkamol Avlod Children’s Art Center and participate in an asphalt art competition as well as drawing, design, knitting and modeling master classes.

To highlight contributions to environmental protection, the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Nature Protection awarded Certificates of Honor to Mirzo Ulugbek National University of Uzbekistan, Tashkent Institute of Chemical Technologies, Secondary School №163, Tashkent Professional College of Hydrometeorology, Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Melioration, and Barkamol Avlod Children’s Art Center.

The final day of EcoWeek 2015 included a clean-up event in Tashkent Region’s Bostonliq District.

This year’s EcoWeek has drawn to a close, but we should always remember that each and every one of us should take good care of the environment and make careful use of its resources. It is a responsibility we hold to future generations.

TRIP ANNOUNCEMENT – GERMANY AND CENTRAL ASIA

127138The Secretary-General will depart New York on the evening of Saturday, 6 June, for a trip which will take him to Germany and Central Asia.

His first stop will be in Germany, where he will attend the official inauguration of the extension building of the World Conference Center in Bonn on Sunday, 7 June.

The following day, Monday, 8 June, he will travel to Schloss Elmau to take part in meetings on terrorism and development at the Summit of the Group of 7 with G7 partners.

While in Germany, he will also meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

On Tuesday, 9 June, the Secretary-General will arrive in Tajikistan, where he will attend the opening ceremony of the High-Level International Conference on the implementation of the International Decade, “Water for Life.”

While in the capital, Dushanbe, he will also meet with President Emomali Rahmon and will visit Lake Sarez.

The following day, Wednesday, 10 June, the Secretary-General will visit Kazakhstan, where he will participate in the Fifth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.

He will also meet with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Prime Minister Karim Massimov, Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov, and Speaker of the Senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

The Secretary-General will then travel to Kyrgyzstan, where on Thursday, 11 June, he will attend the opening of the International Conference on “Development of Parliamentarianism.”

He will also hold talks with President Almazbek Atambaev, Prime Minister Temir Sariev and the Speaker of Parliament, Asilbek Jeenbekov, and visit the city of Osh, where he will meet with civil society representatives and local authorities.

On Friday, 12 June, the Secretary-General will visit Uzbekistan, where he will meet with the country’s top officials, including President Islam Karimov and Foreign Minister Abdulaziz
Kamilov.

The Secretary-General’s final stop in Central Asia will be Turkmenistan, where he will hold meetings with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and other senior officials.

He will also address faculty and students at the International University for Humanities and Development.

EcoWeek 2015: joining forces to conserve biodiversity

20150604_100845As many as 16,928 species of flora and fauna are presently on the verge of extinction. To conserve them for future generations, the United Nations adopted the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Uzbekistan is one of the 197 parties to the Convention. A presentation held today as part of EcoWeek 2015 highlighted the results of the project “National Planning in Biodiversity” created in Uzbekistan to contribute to the Convention.

Александр ГригорьянцAccording to Aleksandr Grigoryants, acting head of the State Inspection of Uzbekistan’s Committee for Protection and Rational Use of Fauna and Flora, biological diversity in Uzbekistan comprises around 27,000 species. Some of the species are gone forever, and they include the Turan tiger, the cheetah and the muskrat. In an effort to conserve the unique species of the world’s flora and fauna, Uzbekistan has taken serious steps in collaboration with the UN.

20150604_105838One outcome of the collaborative efforts is a joint project, National Planning in Biodiversity to Support the Implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Convention on Biological Diversity in Uzbekistan for 2011-2020, overseen by UNDP, the Global Environmental Facility and the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Nature Protection. Bulleted below are results of the project that the presentation centered on:

  • Development of 4 strategic goals and 10 national tasks
  • Revision and update of the National Strategy and Plan of Action to conserve biodiversity with the goal of ensuring compliance with the CBD strategic plan
  • Improvement of the mechanisms of mediation and accountability to CBD