07/05/2013 – Governments of Central Asian countries expressed readiness to support a regional study on economics of land degradation during the visit of Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to the region.
“Increasing competition for transboundary water resources in the countries of Central Asia and frequent climate shocks such as droughts accelerate land degradation across the region. Land and water management in these countries are closely interconnected and should be addressed by collective action at the sub-regional level”, said UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja during his visit to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan from 29 April to 4 May.
“The solid case of economic evaluation of land degradation in Central Asia will foster cooperation and investments into sustainable land and water management initiatives and facilitate informed policy actions in the region,” Gnacadja added.
During the meeting with Gnacadja, the President of Turkmenistan Kurbanguly Berdimuhamedov indicated his interest in supporting the regional Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) process. A preliminary roadmap of actions at national and regional levels, which was presented during the meeting, will be further discussed with other Central Asian countries, UNCCD Secretariat and its partner agencies of the ELD initiative.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Gulomjon Ibragimov said that Uzbekistan supports the initiative for a stand-alone sustainable development goal on land. The country plans to develop a National Drought Management Policy, which will secure the livelihoods of almost half of the country’s population, living in the rural areas and largely dependent on land and water resources. He said he expects the support from UNCCD in preparation of the policy as a part of the UNCCD National Action Programme.
The Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Kazakhstan Nurlan Kaparrov welcomed the prospect of an economic evaluation of land degradation in the country as a means to support decision-making and assess existing land policies and investments. He ensured that sustainable land management will constitute a major pillar of the Green Bridge initiative, which was announced by the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012.
In 2003, the five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan) agreed to address land degradation and desertification at their regional level. As a result, a 10-year multi-donor partnership programme “Central Asian Countries Initiative on Land Management (CACILM)” was launched.
During its first phase of 2007-2012, CACILM initiative supported capacity-building for mainstreaming sustainable land management (SLM), development of an SLM information system, information dissemination and knowledge management. The second phase of CACILM, where experience from the first phase will be translated into recommendation for policy options, is currently being discussed by partners.
The national and subregional ELD analysis in Central Asia is a timely initiative as it will support the process of alignment of National Action Programmes and Subregional Action Programmes with substantial economic data.
Presently, the governments of Central Asian countries are searching further development of the approaches and mechanisms to address land degradation according to the specific country needs as well as the national and international agenda.
Desertification, land degradation and drought constitute one of the most serious environmental and development challenges in Central Asia, aggravating the situation with transboundary water resources and food security in the region.
For more information please contact:
UNCCD Press and Media Officer
Ms. Wagaki Mwangi