Uzbekistan seeks to raise US$360 million in 2015-2019 to improve the environment in the area of Aral Sea. The government anticipates a loan from the Arab financial organizations, the Ministry of Foreign Economic Ties, Investments and Trade of Uzbekistan said on July 14.
“The loan arrangement was made at the meeting of the Arab Coordination Group members in El Kuwait last week,” the ministry said in a statement. The Arab Coordination Group and the Government of Uzbekistan have discussed several projects that look to create forest plantations on the dried seabed of the Aral Sea, develop and modernize water supply and drainage systems of the local communities, as well as provide medical equipment to the urology clinics in the Aral Sea region.
The group comprises the Islamic Development Bank and Arab funds such as the Saudi Fund, Abu-Dhabi Fund for Development, OPEC Fund for International Development, and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
The Aral Sea is on the border of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, in the center of the Middle Asian deserts. Before 1960, it was the world’s fourth largest lake. Later, the area of the lake halved due to irrational use of water and natural reasons. The water level decreased by 18 meters, the volume of water declined about 5-fold. The salinity increased too much for the fish in the late to survive. The sand and toxic dust are picked up and carried away by the wind and spread to the surrounding area, polluting air and salting the fruitful lands.