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World Bank Boosts Kyrgyzstan’s Agricultural Productivity and Climate Resilience

The World Bank has announced funding of $30 million to help boost the productivity and climate resilience of Kyrgyzstan’s dairy and horticulture agri-food clusters. The project will be complemented by a $5 million grant from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. “Recognizing agriculture as a cornerstone of the Kyrgyz Republic's economy, the World Bank prioritizes the sector alongside energy and water in its new 2024-2028 Country Partnership Framework. The new project marks the beginning of a series of initiatives designed to support the Cabinet of Ministers' vision for a modernized, competitive, and climate-resilient agricultural sector," reported Tatiana Proskuryakova, World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia. Running until 2029, the initiative will help producers, processors, and other value chain participants to improve the quality and volume of their produce, access to markets through investment loans, training and capacity building, seed system enhancement, breeding, and information management. It will also focus on enhancing climate adaptation and mitigation through the promotion of climate-smart technologies as well as the employment of digital technology for accessing market information. The project will directly support 8,000 beneficiaries including individual farmers and producers, producer groups, small and medium processors, and other value chain participants in the agri-food clusters of dairy and horticulture. Indirect beneficiaries, numbering 20,000, will comprise farming communities and households of loan and training recipients, in addition to members of broader rural communities who will be afforded better jobs and opportunities to generate income.

Kazakhstan Floods: Rescuers Lend Helping Hand to Camels

Camels, the old saying goes, are ships of the desert. Not so during the recent flooding in western Kazakhstan. Sitting on their haunches, a group of Bactrian camels was ferried to safety in small rubber dinghies by rescue teams in the Aktobe region, which has been hard hit by floods that forced mass evacuations of residents, damaged buildings and submerged roads. Video from the regional emergency department showed the unusual scene this week of rescuers sloshing through water that reached their waists as they escorted dinghies carrying one bedraggled camel each. The domesticated camels were strapped into the vessels and appeared to have been injected with tranquilizers to keep them calm during the trip to dry land. The Instagram post by emergency responders got positive reviews. “Thank you for helping animals,” one person wrote in the comments section. Another said: “Well done, guys.” Bactrian camels, which live in parts of Central Asia and East Asia, have two humps and are able to withstand brutal temperature extremes in summer and winter. Over millennia, people used them for transportation and trade and they are a source of meat, milk and wool. In the wild, Bactrian camels are considered to be critically endangered. Last year, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization concluded a two-year conservation project for the Bactrian camel in Iran.

Kyrgyzstan Responds to Climate Change with Artificial Glaciers

Global climate change, a topic which is always on the minds of scientists around the world, has particularly acute effects in landlocked Central Asia, where water has always been in limited supply, the effects of climate change - a topic increasingly on the minds of people around the world – have been particularly acute. In recent years, the shortage of water in rivers and lakes has had an extremely negative impact on agriculture and livestock farming. With 94% of the country's landmass covered by mountains, Kyrgyzstan feels the negative effects of climate change first and foremost. A harsh continental climate with a wide range of average annual temperature fluctuations (from +40℃ to -40℃) and low precipitation makes livestock farming difficult. In addition, the inaccessible mountainous terrain makes it challenging for local residents to access drinking water - the main source of which is mountain springs. Therefore, artificial glaciers have been created to combat the negative effects of rising temperatures. The first project of its kind appeared in the Republic in 2019 in the village of Jergetal in the Naryn Region. By 2021, the total number of artificial ice deposits had grown to eleven. These numbers continue to grow. In 2022, an artificial glacier was built in the remote pasture of Kara-Dobo in the Jalal-Abad region thanks to the efforts of local residents, and with technical assistance from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and financial support of $5,500 from the UN Peacebuilding Fund. The next year, more villages followed this example to preserve livestock farming in arid areas. The artificial ice in Orozbekov in the Batken Region is expected to help provide sustenance for livestock belonging to the residents of three villages. "Water for the glacier comes from a mountain spring through pipelines,” Chairman of the Pasture Users Committee of the Orozbekov village area, Eminbek Temirbayev explained. “This system works without requiring electricity.” It is believed that the world's first artificial glacier was created in the late 1980s by the engineer, the "Ice Man" Chewang Norphel from the Indian village of Skara in the western Tibetan Plateau. Later, having improved the methods for creating these glaciers, the specialist helped local villagers store and deliver water for fields and pastures. Artificial glaciers are created by freezing a natural spring of water that emerges from a mountain source. Gradually, ice towers of 30 to 50 meters high form around those springs. With warming temperatures, the glacier begins to melt, becoming a prolonged source of drinking water. The relative cheapness of such structures and the simplicity of their design make artificial glaciers a universal means of providing water to residents in arid and hard to access mountainous areas. People only need to install the pipes, and nature will take care of the rest. Given the successful experience with the installations in Kyrgyzstan, the authorities are planning to build four more artificial glaciers in 2024 as part of a joint project in the Batken and Leilek districts of Batken Region. According to the Kyrgyz Zhayity...

World Bank to Help Increase Kyrgyzstan’s Resilience to Climate Change

A $45 million financing package for the Kyrgyz Republic Resilient Landscape Restoration Project, to be implemented until 2029, was approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on February 27th. Complemented by a $5 million grant from the Global Partnership for Sustainable and Resilient Landscapes (PROGREEN) and a $2.4 million grant from the Korea–World Bank Partnership Facility (KWPF), the project aims to increase sustainable landscape management in selected locations in Kyrgyzstan and promote regional collaboration among Central Asian countries on transboundary landscape restoration. “We are pleased to assist the Kyrgyz Republic's Cabinet of Ministers in increasing the resilience of landscapes and communities to climate-induced hazards, and by enhancing the government’s capacity to monitor glaciers, snow cover, and mudflows, implement measures to adapt to and mitigate climate change,” announced Naveed Hassan Naqvi, World Bank Country Manager for the Kyrgyz Republic. “This project is an important step towards building a more resilient future for the people of the Kyrgyz Republic and will also have a positive impact on neighbouring countries.” The World Bank has affirmed that once in place, the project will directly benefit over 50,000 individuals in the most vulnerable, targeted rural areas of Jalal-Abad, Osh, Issyk-Kul, and Naryn, and communities located upstream of transboundary rivers. According to a 2018-19 study by the Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences, Kyrgyzstan’s glaciers have decreased by 16% over the past 50 years. The Ministry of Natural Resources earlier warned that many of the country’s 6,500 glaciers — which cover over 8,000 square kilometres and contain an estimated 650 cubic kilometres of freshwater — could shrink by 50% by 2050 and even completely disappear by the end of the century.

The Senate of Kazakhstan approves an agreement with France on fighting climate change

Kazakhstan has signed an agreement with France concerning issues related to climate change. This agreement helps Kazakhstan to contribute to the fight against climate change, and provides for joint efforts to implement major projects in the field of renewable energy and sustainable development in the country. One of the biggest initiatives envisaged under this agreement is the Mirny project. Its main goal is to create a hybrid power plant with a total capacity of 1 GW, which will operate using wind energy. This power plant is planned to be located in the Zhambyl region, close to the town of Mirny. This project will be vital in developing energy sources that do not harm the environment.  

Ambitious Program to Plant 65 Million Trees and Shrubs Launched

As part of the National Program, "Green Country," Tajikistan intends to plant 65 million trees and shrubs on an area spanning over 4,000 hectares by 2025.  Special attention will be paid to the planting of fruit trees, rosehip and pine. This ambitious initiative is designed to improve the state of the environment, which has been suffering in recent years due to both natural and human impacts. The program is also aimed at combating global climate change and developing green energy, which will improve the quality of the environment and public health. It is reported that financing in the amount of 129,875,000, somoni ($11.8 million) is to be provided for the implementation of the Green Country program, which will comprise two stages: the first will executed from 2023 to 2025, and the second from 2026 to 2027.

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