News Kazakhstan

News Kazakhstan22.02.2024

On the path to a "green" future: visit to Kazakhstan of CEO and Chairperson, the Global Environment Facility

QAZAQ GREEN. From 16 to 18 February, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, CEO and Chairman of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), paid his first official visit to Kazakhstan, according to the Press Office of the UNDP Kazakhstan.

During the visit, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez met with Katarzyna Wawiernia, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kazakhstan, Zulfiya Suleimenova, Advisor to the President - Special Representative of the President of Kazakhstan on International Environmental Cooperation, and Yerlan Nysanbayev, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan and discussed the strategic partnership aspects of UNDP initiatives in biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, sustainable energy and climate change, which are being implemented with GEF financial support. The results achieved in the 20 years of cooperation were also presented.

During the meeting, the negotiators took note of Kazakhstan's progress, such as the development of a network of specially protected natural areas (protected areas), the expansion of the forest state area, the implementation of environmental protection measures, the development of ecotourism and the implementation of several programs to promote rural entrepreneurship.

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez emphasized the GEF's commitment to supporting Kazakhstan in the implementation of initiatives that promote the conservation and sustainable use of the country's natural resources. For her part, Katarzyna Wawiernia, UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan, emphasized that the UNDP works closely with national partners and serves as a catalyst and executor of the GEF mission for sustainable development of the country and local communities, in line with global best practices.

Additionally, the GEF CEO, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, met with Zhanyl Bazayeva from FAO, Dimitry Petrin and Tatyana Tyo, World Bank, Bakhiyor Faiziev from the European Development Bank and Aidai Kuramanova from UNEP, with the objective to review the GEF portfolio in Central Asia, and to exchanges ideas on new GEF projects.

“Central Asian countries, particularly Kazakhstan, play a crucial role in fulfilling the GEF's mission mandate. Without these large nations and their unique natural ecosystems, the GEF can never deliver on its mandate to generate global environmental benefits. Today we see a solid track record in protected areas, wildlife conservation, community base conservation and ecotourism. Also, projects on land degradation, restoration of freshwater lakes, and forests have proven to be successful and contribute to rural development. We extend our gratitude to the Government of Kazakhstan and those leading these projects in cooperation with the GEF and UNDP for their support in realizing multiple environmental outcomes. We look into the future to work more closely together as the triple planetary crisis requires more integration and efficiencies in our cooperation,” said Rodriguez.

“The long-term cooperation between UNDP, the GEF and the Government of Kazakhstan is an important contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in biodiversity conservation, the development of renewable energy sources, promotion of gender equality and empowerment of local communities as a key factor for economic and social well-being," said Katarzyna Wawiernia, UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan.

During the meeting, concrete steps for restoration in Kazakhstan were announced as a key solution in the fight against desertification and the effects of climate change. According to the Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Yerlan Nysanbayev, the area of the Forest Fund has grown by 7.6 percent over the last 10 years and now covers 30.9 million hectares. He added that Kazakhstan intends to maintain this trend and restore forests, in line with the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. The programme for the artificial cultivation of Red Book woody plant species, including the relict Turanga tree, funded by the GEF and involving restoration, is one of the main achievements of the UNDP and the Kazakh Government.

During his visit to Kazakhstan, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez also visited protected areas such as the Charyn National Park and the Kolsay-Kolderi National Park (Kolsay Lakes). During the visit to the latter area, the CEO and Chairman of the GEF was presented with the renovated tourist route established by the municipalities of the Almaty region based on the implementation of the Ecotourism Development Strategy developed with the support of the UNDP-GEF project in 2020.

During the meeting, specialists from the Zoological Institute of Kazakhstan presented the results of research on rare species from the Red Book. Thanks to the project support and the use of satellite telemetry, Kazakh zoologists have made significant progress in the study of the snow leopard, whose numbers total 141-183 individuals in Kazakhstan.

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez highlighted Kazakhstan's general progress in the use of digital technologies, which are actively used in the country's national parks and reserves to study and conserve biodiversity. The SMART monitoring and patrolling system, for example, which is used in 10 protected areas and in forestry, enables high-quality monitoring of wildlife and is effective in combating poaching and fires.

Another point of Carlos Manuel Rodriguez's visit was Shelek village, Almaty region, where he visited greenhouses installed as part of the GEF project and the Small Grants Programme (SGP). These greenhouses were installed in 16 farms to support local communities in solving environmental problems.

In Shelek village he met with representatives of the Enbekshikazakh Local Communities Foundation, which participates in the GEF Small Grants Programme. They discussed the project’s implementation aimed at improving the well-being of the local community using best practices on farms.

To date, nine initiatives have been implemented in Kazakhstan with financial support from the GEF, including the UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP). The GEF's main task is to support developing countries in combating biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution and pressure on land and marine ecosystems.

In Kazakhstan, the GEF has supported more than 40 regional and national projects totaling over US$137.3 million over the past 20 years, which have made a significant contribution to preserving biodiversity and ecosystems, combating climate change and land degradation, improving energy efficiency and developing renewable energy sources in the country.

 

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