George Edgar » Ambassador to Uzbekistan

Navruz

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This year I attended the official celebration of Navruz in Tashkent. Last year I was away with my family in Khorezm and missed it. Like the festive event for Independence Day, it features music and dancing in the presence of the President and other senior figures. But for Navruz the tone is different and reflects the nature of the festival as a celebration of spring. Its origins go back two … Read more »Navruz

Science

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Last week Dr Eric Morgan, a scientist from Bristol University’s School of Veterinary Sciences, visited Tashkent for a round table with the Academy of Sciences in Uzbekistan. The topic was animal parasites and the impact on their prevalence and transmission of climate change. I spent a fascinating morning listening to Dr Morgan speaking about the transmission of parasites among and between wild and domestic animals, the methods used to study … Read more »Science

Human Rights Day

Today, 10 December, is Human Rights Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – this year is the 65th anniversary. The anniversary was marked in Uzbekistan by a conference on 24 October organised by the National Centre for Human Rights, which also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the UN’s presence in Uzbekistan. The conference was addressed … Read more »Human Rights Day

Important Bird Areas

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Last weekend a colleague and I joined a trip by the Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (UzSPB – http://www.uzspb.uz/) to one of the country’s Important Bird Areas (IBAs). The IBAs have been identified as part of an international programme, overseen by BirdLife International, to identify, document and protect a network of sites that are critical for the conservation of the world’s birds. UzSPB are working with partners who … Read more »Important Bird Areas

Protocol

Last week I spoke to members of the diplomatic course at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy about the British approach to protocol. I have twice worked in jobs directly responsible for protocol work – once when I revised the Foreign Office’s protocol guidance, to make it easier to read and to change things that were evidently out of date or didn’t make sense in the modern world; more … Read more »Protocol

Climate again

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On Friday the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) published the first part of their fifth Assessment Report on climate change. The Assessment Reports are a summary of the best available scientific knowledge, and are each divided into three parts: on the physical science basis; on impacts of climate change, vulnerabilities, and means of adaptation to the impacts; and on mitigation (which essentially means actions to reduce the volumes … Read more »Climate again

Ferghana

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I visited the Ferghana valley for the first time at the end of last week which means, I think, that I have been in all the viloyats of Uzbekistan except for Surkhandarya. I’ll try to get there before the end of the year. My first impression of the Valley was the contrast between the arid hills you go through on the way down from the Kamchik pass and the lush … Read more »Ferghana

A Lost City

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On Sunday I set off out of Tashkent to find the ancient city of Kanka, which the UNESCO website describes as “unique as a monument of history and human culture and the town-planning history of Uzbekistan, and included in the list of ten great sites of ancient cities of Central Asia”. It isn’t really a lost city, but unfortunately most of the references to Kanka on the internet and in … Read more »A Lost City

Heat

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British people are famous for talking about the weather. But last week and the week before nobody in Tashkent seemed to be talking about anything else, with temperatures in the forties, and records being broken in Samarkand and elsewhere. The Ministry for Emergency Situations sent out, apparently for the first time ever, text messages with advice about drinking plenty of water, staying indoors and generally staying safe and healthy.  In … Read more »Heat

Diplomatic Excellence

Recently I travelled to London to attend the annual Foreign Office Leadership Conference, which brings together the heads of our diplomatic posts from around the world, and senior officials based in London. It’s a chance to discuss the big issues that are facing all of us, and to hear from Foreign Office ministers and ministers from other Government Departments about their priorities. A lot of the policy discussion was about … Read more »Diplomatic Excellence