Environment and Security

Environment and Security / 17

Ferghana / Osh / Khujand

Andjian has good hunting and fowling; its pheas- ants grow so surprisingly fat that rumour has it four people could not finish one they were eating with its stew.

for their control. The strong population growth observed in Ferghana valley countries makes the situation worse. OCHA (2003) cites an annual population growth rate of 1.5%-2%. Between 1959 and 1989 the population of the Aral basin states increased by 140% and is expected to increase by a further 30% by 2020 (O’Hara, 2002). Rural overpopulation and an increasingly young population put the whole region under demographic pressure now and in the future. This situation is aggravated by the lack of jobs and economic opportunities in general, especially in marginalized areas. At the same time, countries like Kyrgyzstan are undergoing a process inwhich only themainurban areas andmarginalizedar- eas are registeringsubstantial populationgrowth (Batken: 1,7%, Osh: 2.1%, Bishkek: 3.7% in 1998, UNDP 2001). Interestingly, the share of rural population grew here to 65.2% in 1999. This probably reflects the internal migration processes affecting the least developed areas, especially the small towns where the viability of whole regions depended on single enterprises.


and extraction of oil and gas. Jalal-Abad is becoming an important industrial centre, whereas Osh is facing industrial decline, though it is still a key staging post on the transport routes from the Ferghana valley to Tajikistan and China. Batken is a region of special concern established in 1999 after the incursions of the IMU from three former districts of the Osh oblast. It is among the poorest regions of Kyrgyzstan (Asian Development Bank esti- mates that more than 80%of the population lives below the poverty line; annual income is 30% of the national average), combining the highest ratio of unemployment and one of the highest population growth rates (1.7%) . It has a complex political geography with numerous border crossings. Three big enclaves are located in Batken: Sokh (Uzbekistan), Vorukh (Tajikistan) and Shahimardan (Uzbekistan). Transport of goods and persons depends on the political climate and relations at the border. In view of these characteristics the In- ternational Crisis Group defined the Batken province as an “incubator of conflict” in 2001.

The Osh and Jalal-Abad provinces are major centres for cotton production and processing, hydro-electrical power


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