TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN - Central Asia, standing at the crossroads of east and west, is a remarkable region. Largely landlocked, criss-crossed with unique dry lands, mountains, and globally important river systems, it is home to a true melting pot of ethnic groups and cultures. But it is also a region under pressure, beset by growing strains on its land, waterways, plants, animals and other natural resources.

Under the Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management, the ADB today launched at its 43rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, a state-of-the art new atlas which illustrates the grandeur, diversity - but also fragility - of the shared resources that form the backbone of the region's economies.

"As Central Asia stands poised to again play a pivotal role as a trading hub between Asia and Europe, recreating the glory days of the fabled Silk Road, the atlas provides a timely reminder of the preciousness of its natural world and the need to preserve it for the good of current and future generations," said Mark Kunzer, pictured, senior environment specialist with ADB's Central and West Asia Department, at the official launch of the atlas in Tashkent.

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