UNESCO is the only United Nations specialized agency with a specific mandate to promote international cooperation in the sciences in the interests of peace, human rights and development.
UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Sector implements major international programmes in the freshwater, marine, ecological, earth and basic sciences, while at the same time promoting national and regional science and technology polices and capacity-building in the sciences, engineering and renewable energy.
In Uzbekistan, a major challenge concerns the Aral Sea. Since the 1960’s, when the misuse of what used to be the fourth-largest inland sea on earth started, the Aral Sea has shrunk substantially. What is often called ‘the biggest man made catastrophe’ caused not only socio-economic problems, but also entailed climate change in the region. Environmental challenges beset virtually the entire country, but most acutely the areas of the Fergana Valley, Khorezm and Karakalpakstan.
The sciences’ programme of the UNESCO Tashkent Office focuses on promoting:
- sustainable development through the effective use of land and water resources, also using the traditional knowledge and practices ;
- biodiversity and renewable energies ;
- scientific research in the areas of relevance to the country, including land degradation and climate change.