Prof N. Kharin, Deputy Director of the
Desert Institute, described the geography of the land-locked
region of Central Asia. The new states in the region have
inherited an ecological disaster from the former Soviet Union.
During the span of one generation, 80% of the Aral Sea basin has
become subject to desertification and the area of the sea itself
has been reduced in half. Among the programmes underway in
Turkmenistan are: supplying the population with water, electrical
power and gas to substitute for fuelwood; requiring each of
Turkmenistan's 4 million people to plant two saplings per year;
and satellite monitoring and analysis of desertification trends.