On December 12, 2017 the introductory meeting with water and ecological NGOs, state and youth organizations was organized by the Branch of the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) in Uzbekistan with financial support of the European Union to discuss environmental issues. The event was held within UzWaterAware project aimed to raise the awareness of population on the issues of water consumption, as well as to strengthen the partnership between governmental and non-governmental organizations to ensure sustainable water and environmental development in Uzbekistan.
The representatives of press-services of the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Ecology and Environmental Protection, Ecological Movement, Ecoforum, Youth Union, state children’s center “Barkamol avlod”, as well as the heads and experts of water and ecological NGOs from Fergana, Khorezm, Navoi, Samarkand and Tashkent regions, Republic of Karakalpakstan and Tashkent city were in attendance.
The active meeting took place in local co-working center and started from welcoming speeches of the Director of CAREC Branch in Uzbekistan Ms. Shakhnoza Umarova, Project Manager of the Delegation of the European Union to Uzbekistan Mr. Doniyor Kuckharov, and the member of CAREC Advisory Council, the chairperson of the Board of Ecoforum Mr. Saidrasul Sanginov.
In the opening remarks, Project Manager of the EU Delegation to Uzbekistan Mr. Doniyor Kuckharov noted that European Union supports the development of Uzbekistan in three areas. One of the important areas of the Programme for providing technical support for 2014-2020 is water resources and their efficient use. The UzWaterAware project is one of the three components of the water Programme and has a special character because it aims at raising awareness of the population and implies the use of various mechanisms of information. When choosing a partner for implementation UzWaterAware, the CAREC proposal captured the EU's interes as it took into account various instruments and target audiences – urban and rural population, youth, government agencies and the media. The necessary mechanism for providing information and a competent message for working with the audience have already been developed. “We hope that water and ecological NGOs will become reliable partners for this project, and together we will be able to influence the situation and change the habits of water consumption among the population,” mentioned Donier Kuchkarov.
Then the floor was given to all participants who had a chance not only to introduce the organization and their projects, but also to assess the processes in the ecological sphere of the country, to discuss the actual issues and possible ways of their solution. Furthermore, the audience has filled in the special questionnaire which allows UzWaterAware team to define the baseline of partnership between these organizations and their cooperation with mass media. A special attention in the questionnaire is paid to the preferences of participants regarding their capacity development with the help of seminars and trainings. This information will help to competently direct the project’s efforts to the development and strengthening of the potential and partnership between relevant state agencies, water and ecological NGOs, youth and children's organizations.
In general, the event was held in a positive format with involvement of all the participants in discussion. The opinion and ideas of the audience were similar in many topics, including the necessity to establish the process of information exchange between NGOs within the country and to strengthen mutual cooperation.