Kick-off meeting of the study "Climate Change, Land Degradation and Migration Nexus in Central Asia" took place on 19 July online, with the UNCCD Secretariat representatives, UNCCD national focal points and experts from Central Asia and Russian Federation.
The participants discussed the main objectives and the outline of the future research as well as the work plan and expected outcomes. The study aims to provide evidence on how the increasing land degradation and climate change on land-dependent economic sectors in five Central Asian countries affects availability of resources and jobs, driving out-migration and, in some cases, instability.
Central Asia is becoming a new hotspot for environmental and social challenges. The combination of rapid population growth, increased urban pressures, poverty and dependence on the agricultural sector for over 50 per cent of the population together with environmental and climate crises, lead to growing migration and social risks.
COVID-19 outbreak has amplified existing socio-economic problems in the region, leading to disruptions in food supply and increasing vulnerability of rural communities, as well as massive return of labor migrants and loss of jobs.
The meeting participants agreed on the importance and timeliness of the study, which results will be presented at the upcomingConference of the Parties in May 2022.
The interlinkages between land degradation and migration are embedded in the main objectives of the Delhi Initiative of the Central Asian countries and the Russian Federation, which set up the Interregional Group "Central Asia – Russia" at theprevious UNCCD COP14. The research project is implemented by the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences and financed by the voluntary contribution from Russian Federation.