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Central Asian climate change conference starts

The Central Asian Climate Change Conference, one of the largest events in the region to address issues of environmental protection, started in Uzbekistan's capital here on Wednesday.

Nearly 400 representatives of government agencies, international and regional partners, multilateral development banks and civil society organizations, as well as academicians working on climate change, gathered at the two-day conference.

Central Asia, with a population of over 70 million, has been confronting fallouts of climate change. Fragile ecosystems, natural disasters, unstable water and energy supply, disproportions in economic development are only a few factors of the region's vulnerability, experts said during the conference.

"According to climate monitoring data, over the past decade, more and more negative phenomena associated with climate change occurred, which is leading to an increase in water shortages, more frequent droughts, mudflows, heat waves, dust storms and other natural disasters," Bahriddin Nishonov, first deputy director of Uzbekistan's Center of Hydrometeorological Service, said in his opening speech.

Experts stressed the high vulnerability of Central Asia's water resources to climate change. If global temperature rises by 4 degrees Celsius, the demand for irrigation water will increase by about 30 percent. The region's glaciers have already decreased by one third of its volume in comparison with the beginning of the 20th century.

Central Asia has already faced one of the worst human-made environmental disasters of the century -- the drying up of the Aral Sea, once the fourth-largest lake in the world.

Source:Xinhua  Editor:Lucky

(Source_title:Central Asian climate change conference starts)