From May 16th to 23rd, Regional Evaluation Specialist, Luca Molinas, from the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia visited Uzbekistan with the mission of conducting monitoring assessment of the activities of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Uzbekistan.
A big proportion of the current portfolio of FAO Country Office in Uzbekistan consist of Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded projects, such as national project on “Sustainable management of forests in Mountain and valley Areas of Uzbekistan” and regional project on “Integrated Natural Resources Management in Drought-prone and Salt-affected Agricultural Production Landscapes in Central Asia and Turkey” (CACILM-2). The purpose of the mission was to assess the effectiveness of project implementation in line with corporate guidelines, policies and requirements of GEF.
In Tashkent, Luca held meetings at the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Forestry Committee and the GEF Focal Point at State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection, and visited the FAO Uzbekistan Country Office, getting acquainted with its activities in detail. Next, the mission visited Kashkadarya region, where several pilot plots of the two projects are located – Dekhkanabad, Kitab, Kamashi and Guzar districts.
The overall objective of the CACILM-2 is to scale up integrated natural resources management (INRM) in drought-prone and salt-affected agricultural production landscapes in the Central Asian countries and Turkey. As part of this project, experts are developing guidelines for managing drought and salinity processes, including field demonstration of innovative approaches and technologies to combat drought and reduce salinity. The illustrative example is establishment of a fencing construction in the Guzar district on the territory of the Guzor LLC karakul breeding farm. Here, on an area of 30 hectares, pasture seeds were sown in a belt method for the subsequent benefit of local livestock breeders. Having visited this site, the Regional Monitoring Specialist got acquainted in detail with the ongoing activities, consulted the LLC specialists on and the local population. It should be noted that within the framework of the CACILM-2 project, a lot of work is being done to support the rural population of the Bukhara district of the Bukhara region and the Kamashi district of the Kashkadarya region, including the donation of agricultural equipment, greenhouses, and seeds of drought-resistant and salt-tolerant crops to increase the income of farmers and local households.
Further, visits were made to the Dekhkanabad and Kitab State Forestry organizations, which are among the target areas of the project “Sustainable Forest Management in Mountain and Valley Areas of Uzbekistan”. The main goal of the project is to promote sustainable forest management, which implies such forest management that enables the local population to use forest resources more widely, preserve not only the productivity of forests, but also their ecological functions, aesthetic and recreational value, biological and landscape diversity. In this area, work is underway to introduce innovations, resource-saving technologies and broadly involve the local population in the process of sustainable forest management with a special emphasis on gender equality. The evaluation mission studied performance progressin the forestry organizations, and visited the new building in the Kitab forestry, where the Regional Training and Outreach Center is planned to be opened soon. It will serve as platform for farmers, entrepreneurs and other interested persons from the southern regions of Uzbekistan to participate in classes with foreign forestry experts.
“I was very surprised and impressed by the progress made in the implementation of both projects of the Global Environment Facility. I observed that district administrations, state committees and local communities are satisfied with the project results” said Luca Molinas, Regional Evaluation Specialist.
According to the results of the mission, the Regional Evaluation Specialist provided his recommendations to further improve the efficiency and increase the positive impact of projects on local communities.