• KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09432 1.18%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 131

Kyrgyzstan’s Eco-Activists Question Official Data on Rare Animals

According to the state gold mining company Kumtor,  operating near the Sarychat-Ertash high-mountain reserve, the number of red-listed animals has increased significantly as a result of ecological  improvements to their environment.  Local ecologists, however, believe that the data has been intentionally exaggerated. In its report, Kumtor said, "Annual monitoring of the state of biodiversity, conducted by the company, allows us to accurately track the ecological situation on the ground. Care for ecology and the environment is also evident in the increasing numbers of argali, ibex, and snow leopards. For example, the number of argali in the Sarychat-Ertash reserve increased from 750 to 2,500, making it the country's largest population. Capricorns, argali, and snow leopards have also increased in number." Environmental scientists at the National Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyzstan (NAS KR) state that whilst a rough count of red-listed animals in hunting farms and state nature reserves shows an increase in all argali and snow leopard subspecies,  the state authorities have not provided an accurate calculation for 14 years. "All hunting farms of the republic every year give the state structures data on the number of argali, ibex, and other red-listed animals. According to their data, the number of animals is growing, but how much this data can be believed remains a question. They are interested parties and may present distorted data,” Askar Davletbayev, an ecologist with the National Academy of Sciences, told The Times of Central Asia. In Kyrgyzstan, the state protects argali and snow leopards. During the hunting season, however, authorities issue a yearly license to shoot the animals. A popular and lucrative  sport, it attracts visitors from all over the world who willingly pay around 10 thousand dollars to bag an argali. According to eco-activist Vlad Ushakov, the fact that predatory animals living on high mountain ranges have begun to descend to the lower reaches to hunt, has also impacted the figures. "This does not speak of an increase in snow leopards but rather a lack of prey; the forage base has been undermined. In the gorges, where wild animals traditionally used to graze, there is now mass grazing. The snow leopard will not voluntarily change its natural habitat. Ten years ago, we were told there were 300-350 leopards in Kyrgyzstan; today, the same figures apply. Perhaps these are just invented figures with no basis,” Ushakov explained to TCA.

By 2025, All of Kazakhstan Will Have Access to Clean Drinking Water

The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Olzhas Bektenov, has said at a government meeting where issues of water supply services to urban and rural settlements were addressed that the entire population will have access to clean drinking water within eighteen months. At the end of last year, access to water supply services in Kazakhstan's cities amounted to 98.9%, and in rural settlements, 96.6%. Full coverage of the urban population has been achieved in nine regions, with the lowest level of provision noted in the Abai and Pavlodar regions. To improve the situation in the regions with low indicators, funds are being allocated on a priority basis. Twenty-nine projects to construct and reconstruct pipelines in nine oblasts are being implemented, with plans to reconstruct and develop 2,000 kilometers of water pipelines, providing water supply to 437 settlements. A connection to a centralized water supply will be made in 44 of these, with a total population of 92,000 people. Five projects are under development and will be implemented after receiving state expertise; their implementation will improve the water supply in 200 settlements. In 2024, 218 billion tenge was bookmarked from the republican budget to fund the construction and reconstruction of water supply and sewage systems. The Prime Minister emphasized that by the end of 2025, 100% of the population must have access to quality drinking water. "This is one of the most socially important tasks. Only one-and-a-half-years are left for its fulfillment. Despite the high percentage of fulfillment, akimats (local authorities) should intensify work to achieve the plans to bring the relevant infrastructure to villages and towns. All works on the water supply should be prioritized. The implementation of water supply networks within settlements should be synchronized with the plans to bring the infrastructure of group water conduits to the borders of villages", said Bektenov.

Donor Coordination Committee Established for Kyrgyzstan’s Kambarata HPP-1 Project

The Kyrgyz Republic International Energy Investment Forum, held in Vienna, on June 10, concluded with the establishment of a Donor Coordination Committee for the construction of Kambarata HPP-1 hydropower plant in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz Cabinet of Ministers said that the doors are open to interested parties but to date, the committee comprises major international financial institutions and development partners, including the World Bank, the OPEC Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The Committee’s first meeting is scheduled for autumn this year. An inter-ministerial agreement on cooperation on the Kambarata HPP-1 project was also signed by the Ministries of Energy of the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. Summarizing the outcome of the forum, Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic Akylbek Japarov announced: “We have made significant progress in establishing contacts and a common understanding of further actions. I am confident that the created Donor Coordination Committee will be a continuation of actions to implement the national project — the construction of Kambarata HPP-1.” Japarov told forum participants that “According to experts, by 2050 the population in Central Asia will increase by 27%, the demand for food by 35%, and the consumption of drinking water by 50%. At the same time, water is the main artery of life in the countries of the Central Asian region. Countries located at the sources of large rivers account for 80.7% of the region’s total water flow.” Regarding different countries’ priorities for water usage - downstream Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan use water in irrigation mode in summer, and upstream Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, in energy mode in winter -he warned “This situation affects the energy and food security in the region.” He then provided a more detailed report on the Kambarata HPP-1 project: “Kambarata HPP-1 is located at the source of the glaciers. Effective operation of this power plant will allow the accumulation and rational use of water resources of the Toktogul reservoir. The Kambarata HPP-1 construction project has broad economic, environmental, and social benefits and prospects for both Kyrgyzstan and the Central Asian region. The project will provide the Kyrgyz Republic and Central Asia with clean energy at the lowest cost, which entails lower costs of the energy transition in the region. Electricity generation at hydroelectric power plants will reduce emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere.” Reiterating the project’s key importance in meeting the growing demand for energy and increasing energy security in the region, Japarov continued: “The power plant will be sited in the upper reaches of the Naryn River. Its installed capacity will be 1,860 megawatts with an average annual generation of 5.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. The preliminary construction estimate is more than $4 billion. The master plan of Kambarata HPP-1 includes a rock-fill dam, a hydroelectric power plant building with four hydraulic units, construction and operational spillways and transport tunnels, a residential village [for personnel], a reservoir and water treatment facilities.” He confirmed...

Is Afghanistan Ready for Dialogue with Central Asia on Water Issues?

Against the backdrop of the silence of Central Asian countries, as well as their lack of a coordinated position on the construction of the Qosh Tepa Canal in northern Afghanistan, the Taliban are moving forward with the project with growing confidence and without regard to their neighbors. Last October, at the ceremony to mark the launch of the second phase of the canal’s construction, Afghan Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi called Qosh Tepa, “one of the most significant development projects in Afghanistan,” while its realization should remove all doubts about the capabilities of the new Afghan authorities, he added. There is no point in discussing the economic rationale for the canal; like other practical measures taken by the Taliban in the water and energy sphere, for Afghanistan, where 90% of the population is employed in agriculture, the provision of irrigation water is undoubtedly an important task. According to the UN, over the past four decades, desertification has affected more than 75% of the total land area in the northern, western, and southern regions of the country, reducing the vegetation of pasture land, accelerating land degradation, and impacting crop production. However, this socio-environmental problem affects the interests of all the peoples of Central Asia, which geographically includes the entire north of Afghanistan. It arose as an objective need for development, and solving it requires the combined efforts of all countries in the region, which is already on the verge of a serious water crisis that threatens not only economic development, but also the lives of millions of people. In general, the Taliban have emphasized their openness in matters of trans-boundary water management, but, so far, these are only statements. They are more motivated by political issues around their international recognition. That is why it is important for them to participate in global events, such as UN climate change conferences, but they have yet to take part in any climate talks. Hopefully, Afghan representatives will be invited to the COP29 Global Impact Conference in Baku this November, especially since one of the key topics of this forum will be a “just energy transition.” It would be interesting to hear what the Taliban have to offer. Though the authorities in Kabul have had some success in water regulation with Iran, the same cannot be said about Central Asia. This clearly owes to the fact that the five Central Asian republics have not taken a unified position on trans-boundary waters with Afghanistan. And their southern neighbor has taken advantage of this – to date, Kabul has not held any full-fledged official consultations with any Central Asian country on the Qosh Tepa Canal. However, just as bilateral formats will not yield results (unlike in Iran's case), the Taliban leadership will not be able to resolve water issues easily with the Central Asian countries. Afghanistan is not a party to the Central Asian Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Joint Management on the Utilization and Protection of Water Resources from Interstate Sources. It was...

Central Asia – EU Political and Security Cooperation

On June 5, Brussels hosted the 11th round of the annual High-Level Political and Security Dialogue between the European Union and Central Asia. Chaired by Enrique Mora, Deputy Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the European External Action Service, the meeting was attended by Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. As reported by Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry, the agenda comprised the implementation of the Joint Roadmap for Deepening Ties between Central Asia and the EU, the dynamics of transport, trade, economic, energy and climate relations, and common security challenges regarding Afghanistan. Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, presented several initiatives relating to energy, trade and water resources management aimed at enhancing interregional cooperation with the EU. Outlining the priorities of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), he highlighted a program for continuous monitoring of the basin ecosystem. To be implemented over the next three years, the initiative will provide a mechanism for long-term intraregional cooperation on the Aral issue. Vassilenko also reiterated the need for Central Asian countries to synchronize efforts in the fields of effective irrigation, the operation of water and energy facilities, and the implementation of environmental measures. The European External Action Service reported that in turn, the EU had reaffirmed its willingness to support efforts to intensify its cooperation on security with Central Asia, especially in areas concerning management of water-related challenges, energy and climate change, and connectivity. The High-Level Political and Security Dialogue was the latest conference to be held within the context of increased engagement between Central Asia and the European Union. Central Asia’s Heads of State and the President of the European Council had previously met on 27 October 2022 and 2 June 2023.  At a further EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting on 23 October 2023 in Luxembourg, the 27 EU Foreign Ministers adopted a Joint Roadmap for Deepening Ties between the EU and Central Asia with concrete actions for strengthening cooperation, most notably regarding security. The EU and Central Asian countries are now planning the first-ever EU-Central Asia Summit for later this year.    

Kazakhstan Reports Another Big Jump in Saiga Antelope Numbers

The number of saiga antelopes in Kazakhstan has surged to an estimated 2,833,600, an increase of well over 40% since last year, according to an aerial survey conducted between mid-April and May 1. The total number is likely to be much higher because the study was done before the calving season in May The new data represents another step in the extraordinary comeback of a species whose numbers were estimated at 20,000 in 2003 and then, after a period of growth, suffered another big population crash because of a bacterial disease outbreak in 2015. A reduction in poaching and the expansion of land earmarked for conservation helped the species recover in Kazakhstan, though saigas are vulnerable to several diseases and extreme weather. Some farmers say ballooning saiga numbers threaten their crops and the government has explored mass kills and other ways to regulate the population. Helicopters were used to count the antelopes over an area of about 150,000 square kilometers this year, logging 215 flight hours as they flew at a steady altitude of 120 meters, according to the Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative, which aims to restore the Kazakh steppe ecosystem. It said state agencies were involved and the science - survey route plans, data collection and result processing – was carried out by the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan. “These annual figures are made using the same methodology which is well established,” the conservation initiative said on June 3. “They are derived by extrapolation and primarily reflect the trend in the species’ numbers, i.e. an increase of over 40%, and the approximate number. These data were obtained in April 2024, before calving, which took place in May, so now, by the beginning of June, considering the successful breeding season, the number of the species will have almost doubled.” The surveys were carried out in the regions of West Kazakhstan, Mangistau, Akmola, Aktobe, Kostanay, Karaganda, Ulytau, Pavlodar and Abay. The dry steppe grasslands and semi-arid deserts of Central Asia are the saiga’s natural habitat. The vast majority of saigas are in Kazakhstan; Russia and Mongolia have small populations. Saigas from Kazakhstan have migrated in and out of Uzbekistan, sometimes reaching Turkmenistan. But such cross-border movements have dropped. The number reaching Uzbekistan has declined, partly because a border fence was built, and saigas haven’t been seen in Turkmenistan for several years, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN stands for International Union for Conservation of Nature, a group based in Switzerland. Last year, the saiga’s conservation status on the red list was upgraded from “critically endangered” to “near threatened” because of its population gains. Saiga females start to breed when they are only eight months old and they often give birth to twins.

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