Kazakhstan Proposes to Establish Center for Afforestation of Dried Aral Seabed

ASTANA — Kazakh Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Yerlan Nyssanbayev proposed creating an international center for afforestation of dried Aral seabed and semi-desert zones at a May 22 meeting of ministers and heads of departments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states responsible for environmental protection, reported Kazinform.

Planting of saxaul in the drained bottom of the Aral Sea and semi-desert zones. Photo credit: KazMunaiGas

“Considering the vast experience of the SCO member countries in creating artificial forests in the afforestation of degraded territories, we made a relevant proposal today. Our partners from the Central Asian countries supported us in this initiative. In the future we will promote our idea,” said Nyssanbayev.

The SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming, delegations from Belarus, China, India, Iran, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan attended the meeting.

Photo credit: Kazakh Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources

The meeting participants discussed the current state and prospects to develop cooperation in environmental protection within the SCO, highlighted joint actions in solving environmental issues, climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, effective waste management, developing cooperation in specially protected natural areas and other topics.

The statement of the Council of Heads of State on effective waste management and the agreement between the governments of the SCO member states on cooperation in environmental protection have been approved and recommended for adoption and signing during the SCO Heads of State Council meeting, which will take place in Astana on July 3–4.

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