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News: December 2007

ADB PRESIDENT CALLS FOR FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE IN WATER MANAGEMENT IN ASIA AND PACIFIC

Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda on 3 December called on all countries in the Asia and Pacific region to make a fundamental change in the way they manage water to build a sustainable future.

"We need to change the way we think about water – change to a broader perspective that considers all facets of economic and social development," said Mr. Kuroda in his address to the first Asia-Pacific Water Summit.

ADB regards better water management as a crucial challenge for the Asia and Pacific region, where more than 600 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2 billion people have inadequate, or are without, sanitation facilities.

Energy, food, environment and industrial policies are all intimately linked to water. Policies in all these areas will similarly be influenced by external forces like demographic transitions, advances in technology and communication, globalization and free trade.

"All of these factors must be considered holistically in order to build a sustainable future toward and beyond Millennium Development Goals," Mr. Kuroda said.

Calling for strong political will and practical, forward-looking actions, Mr. Kuroda stressed the need to move water higher up on the local, national, regional and international policy agendas.

He noted that most of the region's water problems are solvable through more appropriate planning and management. Specific solutions will vary according to each country's particular circumstances. However, Mr. Kuroda said, some fundamentals can apply across the board: reliable, accessible data on water; related social, economic and environmental factors; strong partnerships among governments, the private sector, civil society and others; water quality management; and capacity building for new skills, new approaches and new mindsets.

ADB is committed to helping its developing member countries address their water challenges with the vision of water for all in the Asia and Pacific region. ADB expects to sharply increase its investments in the water sector through its Water Financing Program, which directs funds, reforms and capacity development programs at rural communities, cities and river basins. As part of ADB's contribution to the Summit, ADB published the Asia Water Development Outlook on November 29 – a report that assesses the region's current and future water problems and proposes the policy measures that can help solve them.

Source: UzReport, 4.12.2007

UZBEKISTAN THIRD IN CIS ON INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION GROWTH IN JAN-OCT 2007

Uzbekistan has ranked the third among the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on the index of industrial production in January-October 2007, according to the Interstate Statistics Committee of the CIS.

The industrial production in the CIS countries rose 7% on the average in the reporting period. The highest growth rates were observed in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan (26.4%), Uzbekistan (11.9%), Ukraine (11%).

Manufacture of industrial produce in Tajikistan grew by 8.6% in the first ten months of 2007, Belarus – 8.2%, Russia – 6.5%, Kyrgyz Republic – 5.5%, Kazakhstan – 4.5%, Armenia – 1.8%. The industrial output in Moldavia fell by 0.7%.

Source: UzReport, 4.12.2007

ADB TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO PROMOTE SOUND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will further mainstream environmental considerations into its operations through a new regional technical assistance project approved recently.

The technical assistance (TA), Mainstreaming Environment for Poverty Reduction, is financed through a US$2.85 million grant from the multi-donor Poverty and Environment Fund (PEF), which has received contributions from the Swedish and Norwegian governments, and was recently replenished by Norway.

The TA will accelerate the incorporation of environmental considerations in ADB's assistance programs and encourage expanded environmental interventions in developing countries, through support for analytical studies, pilot interventions, capacity building and knowledge management. The goal is to promote environmentally sustainable economic growth in contrast to current patterns in Asia in which the environment is being seriously degraded.

"There are immediate opportunities in our developing member countries to address environment and poverty issues simultaneously," said Nessim Ahmad, Director, Environment and Social Safeguard Division of ADB's Regional and Sustainable Development Department.

"They can be only realized by mainstreaming consideration of the linkages between poverty and environment in more strategic ways in response to emerging development challenges such as climate change, urban pollution, natural resource degradation and vulnerability of the poor to environment-related disasters. New capacity is needed to respond to these demands."

The TA will build upon achievements of the Poverty and Environment Program, also financed by the PEF, which has supported pilot interventions and analytical studies to collect and disseminate new knowledge on poverty-environment relationships. The new TA seeks to extend environmental mainstreaming upstream into ADB's country planning processes as well as capacity building efforts.

Source: UzReport, 4.12.2007

KAZAKHSTAN DELEGATION TO TAKE PART IN FIRST ASIAN-PACIFIC WATER SUMMIT IN BEPPU

The Kazakhstan delegation will take part in the first Asian-Pacific Water Summit, which will take place in the Japanese city Beppu. The official representative of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Ashikbayev informed at the briefing on Monday, the agency reports.

The Kazakhstan delegation consists of representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture, Environment Protection and Foreign Affairs and also the employees of the International fund of Aral rescue.

"Special interest represents the decision of the secretariat of the summit on inclusion of the issue of the Aral Sea as one of the topics of discussions that will draw the attention of world community to the issue and will assist in its practical solution," Y. Ashikbayev emphasized.

Source: Kazakhstan Today, 4.12.2007

CONSTRUCTION OF ARTIFICIAL RIVER KICKS OFF NEAR TURKMENBASHI

A ceremony of launching the construction of an artificial navigable river was held near the town of Turkmenbashi on December 3. The project has been drawn up by Polimeks and Ichkale companies. Along with the artificial river the Turkish partners will also build a water supply and sewage systems in the seaside region.

The artificial river will run across the entire national tourist zone Avaza. The river is 7 km long, 60-70 m wide and 5 m deep. There will be 6 bridges. Conditions for canoe competitions will be also created. Restaurants, cafes, bars, sport and cultural facilities will be erected on both banks of the river, the Turkmen State News Service reports.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov attended the ceremony. He laid down a special capsule with a letter in the concrete bed of the artificial river.

Source: Turkmenistan.ru, 4.12.2007