Wednesday, January 10, 2007

International Workshop on Environmental and Health Risk for Sustainability in Developing Countries

Some notes about Uzbekistan

The end of November this year was distinguished by range of international workshops and special lectures by UN representatives and foreign researches. Most of them were dedicated to the issues of Human Security and Sustainability. Unfortunately, most of the lectures and presentations had one same important detail – the concept of Human Security is not known well yet even in the academic and administrative, such as UN, levels.

Here, I would like to write about the “International Workshop on Environmental and Health Risk for Sustainability in Developing Countries” held on 27th of November. In my report I suppose to focus on the presentation of Uzbekistan scholar Dr. Khakimov N.[1] with addressing some of my critical points. I am going to touch on the problem of Uzbekistan state control on environmental degradation and pollution issues that was presented by Dr. Khakimov.

As was said on the workshop there are a lot of environmental issues in Uzbekistan that impact not only nature, but also human life, such as desertification and water shortage, air and water pollution by industrial and municipal waste and contamination of soil by pesticides, radioactive wastes’ burning, etc. Also we have some research institutes that are working under the government for evaluating the problems of environmental degradation, such as State Committee on Nature Preservation, Uzgeocadastre, Central Asian Research Institute on Irrigation – SANIIRI, Hydro-meteorological center and many others. But truly speaking, the state “control” and research institutes’ “tackling” with the environmental degradation and its impact on human in Uzbekistan remain insufficient and very weak.

The formation of the perfect system of ecological security on the basis of the international legal experience, achievements of a modern science, technique and technology is one of the basic conditions of ensuring the national security of Uzbekistan[2]

“Perfect ecological security… for national security?” - These words clearly express the idea of state security. But do the state capable to achieve that “national security” through “perfect system of ecological security”? Unfortunately, “the lack of state capacity is one of the main constraints hindering environmental protection in Central Asia. State capacity is generally defined as the ability to implement policies in order to achieve economic, social or political goals”[3]. The ability of Central Asian governments to carry out domestic and regional policies for environmental protection is contingent upon creating new domestic institutions as well as horizontal linkages among the organizations and their staffs. Yet such horizontal linkages were absent during the Soviet period[4]. And even now, there is no sign of the efficiency of governmental policy according environmental issues, as well as cooperative work with the research institutions and society to implement their policies. Moreover, it seems that the final target of government in “combating” environmental degradation is not social or individual security and well-being, but the state security.

I think the report of Dr. Khakimov was a kind of idealistic and perfect re-presentation of Uzbekistan environmental situation with simple introduction of a list of adopted laws and regulations concerning nature protection and ecology in Uzbekistan. Nothing was said about the very process of tackling with the problems, what difficulties and advantages the government of Uzbekistan met on the way of addressing the environmental issues. How was efficient or not the taken measures? How it could change the community’s life, the conditions of environment? How is that list of laws “working” in Uzbekistan? Do all people know about the laws and how do they obey to? What do citizens know and what do they think about the environmental issues and the possible risk to the human? Aren’t the answers on these questions can show the level of state capacity? No word from the presentation of Dr. Khakimov could explain the questions mentioned above. Unfortunately, it made me remember such kind of reports that were typical in Soviet period: general facts, lists of data and charts are summarized in general paper, without any attempt to criticize, using idealistic proposals in the conclusion.



[1] “International Workshop on Environmental and Health Risk for Sustainability in Developing Countries” (2006) pp. 53-65, Khakimov, N. State regulation peculiarities of the economy of wildlife management and ecology in the Republic of Uzbekistan

[2] “International Workshop on Environmental and Health Risk for Sustainability in Developing Countries” (2006) pp. 53-65, Khakimov, N. State regulation peculiarities of the economy of wildlife management and ecology in the Republic of Uzbekistan, pp.53

[3] Barkey and Parikh 1991, 256. Cited by Erika Weinthal, (2004) The transformation of Central Asia states and societies from the Soviet rule to independence, p.247

[4] Erika Weinthal, (2004) The transformation of Central Asia states and societies from the Soviet rule to independence, p.248


Kamilla Rudakova
Tohoku University
Graduate School of Environmental Studies
Post-Graduate Programme in Human Security
Master studend (2nd year)


Well, actually it is my first attemt to write some critical paper, and I think there are many mistakes in it as well the discussed critical points are not perfect... But do not be so strict, everything sometimes have to be "for the first time" (as this my paper).

Sincerely,
Kamilla

1 Comments:

Blogger Marina said...

Kamilla Rudakova? Is Tashkenta? 110 shkola? Esli da to otvet' PLZ!

5:41 PM  

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