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No. 7 (244) May 2014


The Second Central Asia Climate Knowledge Forum “Moving Towards Regional Climate Resilience” took place on May 12-15 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The Forum aimed to promote knowledge sharing and dialogue on cooperative solutions for resilience to climate changes at national and regional levels. The first two days consisted of technical and scientific discussions around climate change, and the third day consisted of a high-level discussion on the potential Climate Resilience Program that proposed measures to increase climate resilience in Central Asia.

At the introductory session, welcome speeches were made by Dr. Laszlo Lovay, Director for Sustainable Development Department of the World Bank, and the representatives of Central Asian countries. A key report was delivered Dr. Jurgen Kropp, Deputy Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He described the main temperature change trends in the world and in Central Asia, highlighted the glacier shrinkage problem and its impact on the water resources in the Central Asian region, and pointed to the escalation of the food security problem in the regional countries as a result of climate change. Among the possible solutions for climate change mitigation is, as the reporter noted, the necessity to develop a water collection mechanism and take measures to improve water and energy efficiency as well as to intensify the works related to international cooperation, modernization of infrastructure, and building of institutional capacities. The speaker indicated the following essential prerequisites for preventing uncontrollable situations and combating inevitable changes: learn to diagnose; carry out highly proficient research; find solutions at different levels; determine one’s demands in the result of transdisciplinary activities; and intensify public diplomacy to involve all interested parties and policy makers.

At the second session “Activity for the Development of Low-Carbon Climate-Resilient Economy”, national initiatives were presented as well as the ways to mobilize “climatic” funds for stimulation of environmentally friendly and inclusive growth.

The representative of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Mr. M. Koshoev delivered a report with data on emergency situations and natural disasters in Central Asia. He focused on the discrepancies in the data provided by international organizations and national agencies and the data given by various countries, which took place because different methodologies, different criteria, classification, and threshold values for the assessment of emergency situations had been applied. That was the cause the preparation of systematically homogeneous data was difficult, and incompetent analysis of those might result in wrong conclusions. The speaker concluded that monitoring over risks by introducing direct changes by means of special devices and hazard warning are the principal or maybe even the only source of information for setting up the relationship between emergency situations and weather & climatic patterns as well as for assessing various risks.

Ms. Gulmira Sergazina, Director of the Climate Change Department at the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan, gave an example of a progressive initiative on climate change, viz. the national greenhouse gas emission trading system in Kazakhstan.

Mr. Neeraj Prasad (World Bank) told about the climate change cost related problems and their solutions. He highlighted the importance of the involvement of business, improvement of efficiency, and more active use of the existing financing channels, among which the Green Climate Fund (GLF) was mentioned, mobilization of funds by governments, and the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.

At the third session “Activities in the Field of Climate Change: International Experience and Cost of the Failure to Act”, recent scientific breakthroughs were discussed as well as the regional and international experience in the integration of policies and programs for natural disaster reduction, adaptation to climatic changes, and mitigation of their consequences during planning and implementation of sustainable development ideas. The Asian Development Bank representative Mr. Akmal Siddiq spoke of the ADB’s initiatives implemented in the field of climate change. He noted that ADB recognized its mission to assist countries as a strategic partner in the development of climatic financing mechanism along with the activization of private sector capital, creation and exchange of climatic knowledge, and strengthening of partnership. The representative of the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Ms. Olga Pilifosova delivered a presentation on adaptation measures within UNFCCC. The representative of the Institute for Global Environment Strategies Mr. Kenta Usui highlighted the analytical tools for the identification of priority measures for climate-resilient communities.

The fourth session was devoted to the discussion of the case studies of the private sector involvement in the resilient climate development process. Mr. A.O. Orman presented impressive results obtained by the “Water Resources – Marketing” LLC which provides the population of the Shymkent city and a number of human settlements of the Sayram district of Kazakhstan of about one million people with domestic and drinking water and is engaged in wastewater disposal and treatment. He particularly noted that the company for 17 years of its operation managed to save 780.7 mln m3 of water and electric power to the amount of US $36.7M. The representative of the Kyrgyzstan Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (KYRSEFF) informed about the allocation of funds for improving energy efficiency in the housing and industry sectors. Mr. Craig Davies (EBRD) delivered a presentation on the development of business models in the field of climate change to be used in the private sector. At the fifth session, the representatives of the Central Asian civil society shared their practical experience in dealing with officials and community on the issues related to the adaptation to climate changes. Among the reporters were the representatives of the Youth Ecological Center of Tajikistan, Union for Saving the Aral Sea and Amudarya from Uzbekistan, Climatic Network of Kyrgyzstan, and Network of Non-Government Organizations of Kazakhstan “EcoForum”.

At the sixth session, they discussed the challenges and opportunities of the reduction of the risks of natural disasters. A representative of the World Meteorological Organization spoke of the linkage between hydrometeorology, climatic changes, and natural disaster management. The representative of the International Center for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM) Mr. Yuichi Iwami elucidated the existing flood control approaches. Mr. T. Temiraliev told about the World Bank’s participation in the projects for the reduction of natural disaster risks in Kyrgyzstan. Mr. Fikret Azili, Deputy Director of the Project Coordination Unit in Istanbul, shared his experience in the development of preparedness for climatic changes and inter-sectoral coordination of projects.

Two sessions headed "“Cold” Data for “Hot” World" addressed the issues of data acquisition, processing, and presentation, water resources, environmental, and agricultural planning, taking into consideration climate change aspects. The reporters from the World Bank spoke about the international experience in the development of upstream and downstream data system as the basis for integrated water and land resources management during planning, with account of climatic aspects, as well as visualization of these data. Also, an innovation approach to basin-wise evapotranspiration control by means of remote sensing in China (Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences) was presented, the case study of developing cooperation in the adaptation to climate change in the transboundary basin Chu-Talas (Climate Change Center, Bishkek) was introduced, and the example of the use of landscape and ecosystem approaches for integrated forest and farm management aimed at creating “triple benefit” with account of climatic aspects was cited (World Bank and GIZ).

During the session, a special attention was paid to the climate impact on agriculture. In particular, they considered the issues related to the implementation of the adaptation strategy to ensure food security (World Bank), the results of simulation of climate change and adaptation impact on the security of farms’ income in Central Asia (ICARDA), and the results of no-tillage in Kazakhstan (International Wheat and Maize Improvement Center) were presented.

On the third day of the Forum, the general principles of the Regional Program of Measures to Improve the Resistance to Climate Change were discussed; these were formulated based on the data provided by the technical working group and the outcomes of the sessions conducted on the Forum’s eve. The priority actions to be taken at the national level and actions for coordination at the regional level were voiced by the representatives of the countries. For example, the following sectors were identified as of top priority at the national level: agriculture and water industry, emergency sector in Kazakhstan; water resources, agriculture, forest, and biodiversity in Kyrgyzstan; energy sector, agriculture and water industry in Tajikistan; agriculture, water industry, public health, ecosystems, hazards and energy sector in Turkmenistan; and agriculture and water resources in Uzbekistan. All the participants highlighted the significance of the regional-level coordination and joint actions on the base of existing organizations and on-going programs, which was also confirmed in the reports by the representatives of donors.