The United States is working with Uzbekistan to address a range of environmental concerns, including waste recycling, water use, and endangered species. The United States Embassy in Tashkent is supporting several programs by Uzbek non-governmental organizations to raise environmental awareness among the people of Uzbekistan. These NGOs also work with Uzbekistan government agencies such as the Ministries of Education and Committee for the Protection of Nature to provide the public with information on environmental issues.
NGO leaders say public awareness is an important step in dealing with Uzbekistan's environmental challenges. "The first thing in environmental protection is information," said Saidrasul Sanginov, the director of Logos and a professor of Philosophy at the Tashkent Information Technology University. Logos is an environmental non-governmental organization founded in 2001. The NGO has received United States government support for a program to encourage environmental journalism. "Our mission," said Mr. Sanginov, "is to build a partnership with journalists."
Each year, Logos holds a national competition for environmental journalism. Winners sometimes go on to compete in contests throughout Central Asia. Last year's Logos-sponsored competition winner was a video documentary by Sergei Shavlev called "Alone with Nature." That documentary, concerning the Aidarkul-Arnasai lake system, won top prize at the 2008 Central Asian Festival of Environmental Journalism.
Eko-Maktab (Eco-School), founded in 2004, is another NGO with an innovative program aimed at teaching students about the environment. Eko-Maktab in Tashkent has trained 30 area teenagers in the basics of environmental journalism. These budding journalists are sharing their knowledge and skills with some 1,200 other of their classmates, according to project director Natalia Shivaldova. Eko-Maktab is soliciting articles from the young environmentalists with a view to publishing some of the best ones in youth-oriented magazines such as Klass and Uzbekistan Youth.
Other United States-supported environmental programs include training in best practices in water usage from irrigation canals and publication of environmental materials for use in universities.
Environmental protection is one of many areas in which the United States cooperates with the Uzbekistan government and non-governmental organizations for the common good of our two countries and the Central Asia region.