Regional Program “Climate-Responsive Sustainable Land Use for Economic Development in Central Asia

central asia

Central Asia is significantly affected by the effects of climate change. 80% of the territory of Central Asia is represented by arid lands. Deserts and drylands are projected to continue to expand, as well as rising average temperatures and water shortages. Natural resources such as pastures, forests and wildlife, already scarce, are under significant pressure due to unsustainable use. There is a lack of awareness in the region about strategies for the sustainable use of these resources and how to implement them. Consequently, there is a degradation of resources in the short and medium term and a loss of biodiversity. This, in turn, further exacerbates poverty in rural areas. The governments of the Central Asian countries have already realized the threats

A new climate change sustainable land management program for economic development in Central Asia was launched in May 2016 in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)   and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Society for International Cooperation) .

Our program partially continues the work of its predecessor program on the sustainable use of natural resources in Central Asia, developing adapted regional approaches for sustainable land management with a wide range of stakeholders. At the same time, the conceptual focus of the program has shifted to the integration of various forms of land use, such as the management of pastures and forests, as well as their economic valuation, both at the level of land users and at the level of national economic accounts. In cooperation with several sub-projects in Central Asia, a range of activities are carried out – from direct support to communities and cross-sectoral policy dialogue to the promotion of cross-border cooperation and regional partnership.

Together with our partners in the countries, we want to ensure that land users, government agencies and the private sector in Central Asia use integrated, economically and environmentally sustainable forms of land use, taking into account climate change.

We work in the following six areas:

Forests: Our program supports a participatory forest management approach whereby the leshoz leases long-term use of forest land to private tenants. Tenants use them in a sustainable way and protect them from illegal logging and overgrazing. At the local level, we assist communities and leshozes in negotiating lease agreements and developing integrative management plans, as well as provide technical training for tenants and leshoz staff, and create incentives for local forest users to reforest degraded areas through the “passbook” approach. The positive experiences at the local level are then used as the basis for national forest sector reform.

For more information, see  Fact Sheet: A Tiered Approach to Sustainable Reforestation

Pastures: In order to promote sustainable pasture management on a broad basis, experience is exchanged at the regional level and approaches to solving problems adapted to local conditions are developed. The key aspects of the approach are informing pasture users and supporting pasture committees. At the same time, we are facilitating further dialogue between users, local government officials and relevant ministries.

For more information, see  Factsheet: Sustainable Pasture Management in Central Asia

Environmental economics:we support partners in the economic valuation of natural resources and their essential ecosystem services. To this end, cost-benefit analyzes of various forms of land use are carried out at the local level, including an assessment of environmental aspects. A cost-benefit analysis is also carried out to assess the damage caused by loss of land due to degradation caused by human activities, compared with the benefits of sustainable land management approaches. At the national level, economic statistics are complemented by the introduction of a system of environmental-economic accounting, which reflects the interaction between the environment and the economic activity of the country. Work is underway to strengthen the capacity of technical staff to assess the environmental aspects of land use in economic terms. These approaches allow individuals

Climate change adaptation: we support partners in all areas of activity related to the improvement of existing and the development of new action plans for climate change adaptation in Central Asia. Local approaches with a focus on ecosystem adaptation have been developed and are being field-tested. Support is provided to political partners in climate change negotiations at the international level and in preparing for the use of international funding for climate change adaptation measures.

For more information, see  Factsheet: Adapting to Climate Change in Central Asia

Knowledge management: managing the knowledge accumulated at the regional level is one of our priorities. A new tool was created – K-Link , which is integrated into the platforms of six partners from Central Asia. This tool automatically connects and links all online information and documents on partner environmental topics. This simplifies user access to knowledge in all countries of Central Asia.

For more information see  Fact Sheet: K-Link: A New Approach to Knowledge Management in Central Asia

Environmental Education and Awareness: In partnership with the American University of Central Asia, we are supporting the development of curricula to build the capacity of the younger generation in land use and climate change adaptation. Also, in order to raise awareness and create a sense of responsibility among children and adolescents for the sustainable use of natural resources, television programs are being created.

For more details, see  TV shows for children and youth “Eco? Logical!” (in Russian)

Achieved results

The piloting of the forest sector reform in Kyrgyzstan began in June 2015 and is being implemented in six leshozes, which are testing innovative and adapted mechanisms for decentralized and participatory approaches to management. At the national level, the Coordinating and Advisory Council is responsible for coordinating the reform, consisting of representatives of relevant government agencies, international organizations and civil society. The Committee for Forestry and Wildlife of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan is developing mechanisms for the development of private afforestation in the country. We support partners’ efforts to improve the legal and regulatory framework for the transition to a green economy through the provision of advisory services and training and help to learn from international and regional experience. In Tajikistan, sustainable forest management based on the participation of stakeholders has been enshrined at the legal level and has been widely developed. Thus, even outside the pilot areas, the area of ​​forest tracts is increasing, which contributes to the improvement of the living conditions of land users. In two pilot districts – in forestry enterprises in Samarkand and Kashkadarya regions of Uzbekistan demonstration plots with sea buckthorn plantations were created. These plantations will allow local residents to receive additional income from the production of raw materials for pharmaceutical purposes, as well as from the sale of berries and sea buckthorn oil.

In Kyrgyzstan, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Reclamation and Food Industry, based on the experience gained during the pilot project, has started the implementation of a new law on pastures. In Kazakhstan, the participatory pasture management approach has been adapted to local conditions and can be legally and institutionally anchored. Turkmenistan developed a new national law on pastures, approved by the Parliament in August 2015; piloting activities are currently being determined. The network of pasture management organizations in Tajikistan, consisting of national, international, governmental and non-governmental experts and practitioners, has taken on the role of a platform for dialogue, facilitation and coordination of knowledge exchange among stakeholders.

Through the Economics of Land Degradation initiative, and in close collaboration with national research institutions, land degradation impact analyzes have been carried out in five Central Asian countries, showing that sustainable land management will provide significant economic and livelihood benefits to people in the region . In March 2016, the Regional Pasture Network was launched as a platform for information exchange . All members of the network have free access to modern and convenient online tools such as K-DMS and K-Link .

See the program booklet for more details.

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