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Uzbekistan delegation visits WWF International

21 october 2021
On October 20, a working meeting of representatives of the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection of Uzbekistan with the leadership of WWF International was held in Switzerland.

During the event, attended by WWF International CEO Marco Lambertini, WWF International Director John Hutton and WWF International Network Development Executive Director Jean-Paul Paddock, a number of issues were discussed, such as expanding protected areas, preserving the country's unique wetlands and the possibility of a cheetah reintroduction programme.

The Uzbek delegation, headed by Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection of Uzbekistan Zhusipbek Kazbekov, presented ambitious plans to expand protected areas in the Aral Sea region. Previously, protected areas accounted for only 4 percent in 2016 and 8.4 percent in 2021, but there are plans to increase them to 13 percent. This area is of particular interest from the point of view of biodiversity, including the presence of saiga.

WWF Russia

In turn, Marco Lambertini spoke about the work of WWF and what role WWF Russia plays in coordinating work in the Central Asian region with the support of the Network's offices. The cheetah reintroduction program was also discussed during the meeting. Lambertini noted that since the signing of the memorandum on the return of the tiger between WWF and Kazakhstan, there has been good preliminary progress underway (the prey population has grown) for the planned release of the endangered tiger in 2025.

"The return of the cheetah to the Aral Sea region will attract the attention of the whole world, since cheetahs are a conspicuous species," Marco Lambertini added.

The Director General of WWF International also stressed the importance of economic value in the preservation of biodiversity and protected areas; he focused on the possibility of developing ecotourism, including "tiger" tourism, which in many countries is also a powerful tool for economic development.

WWF

During the meeting, mutual interest was expressed and plans were announced to sign a memorandum of cooperation between Uzbekistan and WWF Russia.

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