On December 16, 2022, Dr. Linxiu Zhang, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP), was invited to give an opening speech at the Launch Event of Aral Sea Ecological Restoration Plan. This event was organized by the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), together with partners from the Central Asia countries based on long term cooperation.
In her opening speech, Dr. Linxiu Zhang stated the vital role of ecosystem restoration and sustainable management to transform lives and economies while safeguarding the planet. She congratulated the launch of the Aral Sea Ecological Restoration Plan by all parties, and highly appreciated the invaluable experience for further South-South and triangular cooperation in the Aral Sea and the Central Asia region. She also reiterates the statement by UNEP that “the future of Aral Sea lies in transboundary co-operation” and encouraged more interdisciplinary research, cross-sector cooperation in the Aral Sea region.
Prof Chen Xi from the CAS Research Center for Ecology and Environment of Central Asia introduced the Aral Sea Ecological Restoration Plan, including the driving forces of Aral Sea shrink, its negative impacts and proposed interventions based on experiments and pilots. Water saving technologies were recommended for both development and ecological restoration, together with other biological- physical measures to recharge and restore the drying Aral Sea.