Kyrgyzstan's Second National Communication - 2009

Introduction

The creation of a National Communication offers countries the opportunity to contribute with technically sound studies and information that can be used for designing mitigation and adaptation measures, and project proposals that can and will help increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. Activities generally include: V&A assessments, Greenhouse Gas Inventory preparation, Mitigation Analysis or Education, and awareness raising activities.The ultimate goal is the integration of climate change considerations into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions.

Kyrgyzstan is unique because of its geography, socioeconomic conditions, and valuable biodiversity and ecosystems. All of these factors demand specific adaptation actions related to natural resource management, including water and agriculture, extreme weather events and human health. Kyrgyzstan's Second National Communication provides a detailed review of the potential impacts of climate change, their consequences and needed adaptation actions in key areas including agriculture and the impact of extreme weather events such as floods, landslides and mudslides. 

Project Details

The Kyrgyz Republic is situated on the north-eastern part of Central Asia and in the center of Eurasia. The total area of the Republic is 187.5 thousand km² (the area of the Republic after boundary delimitation with the People’s Republic of China has been determined according to the map ‘Kyrgyz Republic’ - scale 1:500 000, (Bishkek: Goskartografia, 2004). The territory of the Republic is 900 km from West to East and 450 km from North to South. The Kyrgyz Republic is bordered by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Uzbek Republic. It has delimited boundaries with the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Kazakhstan; the boundary delimitation with the Republic of Tajikistan and the Uzbek Republic has not been completed.

The Kyrgyz Republic is located at the juncture of two mountain systems (the Tien Shan and the Pamirs). The highest point of the Republic is Victory Peak (7,439 m), the lowest area is a transboundary crossing of the Naryn river at 480 m above sea level. The average elevation of the territory of the Republic is 2,630 m above sea level. About 93 percent of its territory lies at an elevation higher than 1,000 m; 85 percent lies higher that 1,500 m and about 42 percent lies higher that 3,000 m above sea level. (The Kyrgyz Republic's second national communication to the UNFCCC, 4 June 2009). Few economies face initial conditions as challenging as the Kyrgyzstan, with its small population (just over five million) and status as one of the least accessible locations in the world. Its isolation is a significant barrier to international trade and transport, which is further hampered by inadequate physical infrastructure and protectionist policies in neighboring countries. The country’s economy relies on the sale of hydropower and gold, and only about seven per cent of the country’s land is arable (World Bank, 2010).

Adapation Needs and Priorities:

In terms of current vulnerabilities, more than 95 per cent of settlements in Kyrgyzstan are located in the direct vicinity of water sources, mainly along river beds that are extremely sensitive to landslides, mudflow and floods. Landslides destroy houses and the infrastructure of settlements located nearby, and remote landslides can block riverbeds and their inflows. Mud-flows turn catastrophic due to mountain lakes and man-made reservoir breaches typically caused by the melting of snow in the high mountainous zone; every summer a catastrophic breach of the Mertsbaher lake glacial dam occurs and water is released into the Sary-Jaz River. The number of households moved out of landslide zones since 1992 has reached 7,873 (i.e., 656 houses annually). Using the results of 17 global climatic models, Kyrgyzstan’s Second National Communication (2009) projects that the country will experience increases in temperatures of approximately 1.6° Celsius over the 21st century. As well, it is projected to experience increased precipitation during winter months and decreased precipitation during the summer. The country has identified water, health, agriculture and extreme weather events as the areas most vulnerable to climate change.

The country’s Second National Communication (2009) outlines its overall priority adaptation actions as follows:

  • Improvement of legislation (beginning with the development of a national adaptation strategy to climate change that includes sectoral development plans);
  • Improvement of institutional structure (creation of permanent structures and strengthening of communications between individual departments);
  • Increase of knowledge; and
  • Economic incentives of adaptation actions.

To address the identified vulnerabilities related to agriculture, water and on the consequences of extreme weather events, the following specific actions have been identified (Sharshenova, 2010; Kyrgyzstan, 2009):

Adaptation in agriculture and water:

  • Diversification of crop and cattle livestock to better incorporate varieties tolerant to expected climate change;
  • Alter plant cultivation and cattle breeding priorities at the regional level; implementation of alternative cultivation approaches, including change of land topography and timing of planting;
  • Innovative studies in the field of irrigation to solve the problem of a projected increase in the moisture deficit and the frequency of drought periods; and implementation of efficient irrigation practice;
  • Development of new varieties of cultures, including hybrids, for improvement of endurance and suitability to temperature, humidity and other varying agro-climatic conditions;
  • Crop insurance and investment in agricultural equities; diversification of farmers’ income sources to reduce the risk of income loss caused climate change;
  • Development and implementation of modern systems of early notification and prevention of natural and temperature anomalies; provision of daily and seasonal weather forecasts;
  • Development of incentive programs for farmers to enable the provision of agricultural grants able to finance actions such as improvements in equipment and the availability of fertilizers for peasants and farms; and
  • Engineering actions aimed at the elimination and prevention of sources of hazards;
  • Spatial planning of all emergency situations including identification of danger zones and requirements for use of these zones;
  • Development and implementation of state policy and programs that will influence water and land use by peasants and farmers in view of varying climate conditions.Adaptation to extreme weather events:
  • Legislative measures prescribing standards and rules to provide the basis for carrying out of all spatial planning and engineering actions; and
  • Emergency management training and information provision to avoid inaccurate decisions.

Public health (Prevention of infectious diseases):

  • Provision of safe drinking water for the population;
  • Implementation of food safety measures;
  • Implementation of energy saving technologies in the health sector;
  • Capacity building of health personnel on climate change and health;
  • Increasing public awareness on the issue of climate change and health;
  • Carrying out of scientific researches on climate change and health; and
  • Improving of monitoring and information systems related to climate change and health.

National Level Policies:

In its Second National Communication (Kyrgyzstan, 2009), Kyrgyzstan identifies national-level policy actions specifically focused on adaptation to climate change. It was indicated that the country is developing a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the Health Sector led by the Ministry of Health. The country also created an Inter-agency Group tasked with the development of a National Strategy and Climate Change Adaptation Plan. The group was created by the State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry under the Government of the Kyrgyzstan. Both of these initiatives were started in 2009.

Current Adaptation Action

Overall, current programs underway in Kyrgyzstan are focusing on sectors that are relevant for adaptation, including water management, agro-biodiversity and land-related issues, but so far they do not specifically include an adaptation component. One of these programs is the Global Environmental Facility/Small Grant Programme (GEF/SGP) launched by UNDP in Kyrgyzstan in 2001. The UNDP/GEF SGP in Kyrgyzstan is supporting activity related to four thematic directions: biodiversity conservation, which is of global significance; mitigation of the consequences of climate change; quality protection of international waters; and combating land degradation.

Clean Development Mechanism projects being implemented in Kyrgyzstan that could provide adaptation co-benefits, including increasing the resilience of ecosystems by promoting sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation and diversifying local income. The most advanced of these projects is the Tien Shan Biodiversity Project that aims to reforest an area of 18 thousand hectares, reduce greenhouse gases emissions and increase income through the further sale of certified carbon emission reductions to biocarbon funds. A second component of the project is aimed at capacity building in special protected areas and reducing anthropogenic pressure on natural resources by means of sustainable forestry management and eco-tourism development (Kyrgyzstan, 2009).

Major challenges associated with implementing adaptation projects in Kyrgyzstan include a strong focus at present on capacity development for professionals, government officers, and researchers involved in climate modeling and in the UNFCCC process without linking these efforts to community-level activities. As well, there is comparatively less information provision and implementation of projects that focus on adaptation at the local level in areas such as water management, agriculture and forestry. While there is considerable knowledge and experience available at the local level, especially in the listed sectors, these are very often not connected with the approaches and measures prioritized in regional and national projects. Ensuring that some of the project’s support is allocated to on-the-ground adaptation work perhaps could provide higher benefits to climate change adaptation efforts.

Proposed Adaptation Action:

Reference has been found to the following two proposed adaptation projects submitted to the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) for approval.

Assessment:

Kyrgyzstan is unique because of its geography, socioeconomic conditions, and valuable biodiversity and ecosystems. All of these factors demand specific adaptation actions related to natural resource management, including water and agriculture, extreme weather events and human health. Kyrgyzstan’s recently released Second National Communication (2009) provides a detailed review of the potential impacts of climate change, their consequences and needed adaptation actions in some key areas (e.g., agriculture and the impact of extreme weather events such as floods, landslides and mudslides). There remains very limited focus on climate change and adaptation at the national level, with initiation of adaptation plans in 2009. Major gaps in the country’s adaptation activities could be listed as follows:

  • Specific technical and non-technical adaptation options are needed to address the consequences of extreme weather events often occurring in high-mountain regions; specific events include landslides and mudslides, seasonal flooding from lakes and dams, and overall slope instability.
  • Capacity-development support is needed to apply lessons learned from projects in health, water and extreme weather so they are effectively incorporated into national strategies and plans.
  • Because of the country’s strongly dependency on hydropower, further exploration of the impacts of climate change and adaptation needs in this sector could increase the resilience of the current infrastructure and of potential future investments. These explorations could perhaps involve the country’s key hydropower companies.
  • Similar to other Central Asian countries, the global significance of the country’s biodiversity is acknowledged, but there seems to be fewer efforts underway to protect it when compared to other countries in the region, such as Tajikistan or Kazakhstan.
  • A number of development projects are being implemented in the country and supported by agencies such UNDP and the World Bank; exploring adaptation needs and incorporating adaptive responses to these activities would help in avoiding future impacts and damages.
  • None of the current and planned adaptation projects and programs in Kyrgyzstan have a specific objective of understanding and responding to the differential gender-based implications of climate change—a gap that should be filled the country is going to effectively engage in adaptation.
  • Because the country is in the very early stages of mainstreaming adaptation into their plans and strategies, specific capacity-development efforts would perhaps provide useful skills for application in this endeavor.

Primary Source: Bizikova, Livia; Hove, Hilary; Parry, Jo-Ellen. (2011) “Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action: Central Asia.” Adaptation Partnership / International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Additional References:

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Through improved identification of national circumstances, government agencies and other actors will increase their abilities to insulate at risk urban and rural populations from the adverse effects of climate change.
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Government of Kyrgyzstan
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project Status: 
Completed
Location: 
Urban
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
420,000
Co-Financing Total: 
410,000

Key Results and Outputs

  • Sustainable development and the integration of climate change concerns into medium- and long-term planning
  • Inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases
  • Measures contributing to addressing climate change
  • Research and systematic observation
  • Climate change impacts, adaptation measures and response strategies
  • Education, training and public awareness

Potential Adaptation Measures

Agriculture and Food Security

Technological improvement:

  • diversification of crop and cattle livestock varieties tolerant to expected climate change;
  • alternation of plant cultivation and cattle breeding regional priorities;
  • implementation of alternative approach to land cultivation in order to solve the problem of water and mineral substances deficit;
  • change of land topography in order to solve the problems of water deficit;
  • implementation of efficient irrigation practice;
  • change of agriculture works timing due to change of vegetative period duration and heat availability;
  • development of new varieties of cultures, including hybrids, for improvement of endurance and suitability to temperature, humidity and other varying agroclimatic conditions;
  • innovative studies in the field of irrigation, to solve the problem of moisture deficit and increase of droughty periods frequency.

Economic mechanisms:

  • crop insurance in order to reduce a risk of income loss caused by climate change;
  • investment into agricultural equities and futures in order to reduce risk of income loss;
  • participation in programs on income stabilization in order to reduce risk of income loss;
  • diversification of income sources in order to reduce risk of income loss caused by climate change.

State support:

  • assistance to development of seed-growing and cattle breeding;
  • development and implementation of modern systems of early notification and prevention of natural and temperature anomalies, daily and seasonal weather forecasts;
  • change of crop insurance programs in order to influence the strategy of risk management regarding crop losses caused by climate change;
  • increase of investments to stabilize a profitable part in order to influence risk management strategy related to crop losses caused by climate change;
  • development of incentive programs to support peasants and farmers, implementation of agricultural grants to affect the agricultural production;
  • development of special programs to support farmers and compensate losses, as well as dissemination of information about risk of loss due to emergency situations and natural accidents;
  • improvement of equipment and fertilizers availability for peasants and farms;
  • development and implementation of state policy and programs influencing the mode of water and land use by peasants and farmers in view of varying climate conditions;
  • improvement of water resources management at local level.

Disaster Risk Management

  • Spatial planning of all emergency situations including identification of danger zones and sequent requirements for use of these zones. In order to identify danger zones it is necessary to take into account the existing data on probability of emergency situations and also predicted one in view of probable climate change and prospective use of danger zones;
  • Engineering actions aimed at elimination of hazard source and preconditions. It is obvious that after implementation of engineering actions the additional research to redefine danger zones is needed;
  • The legislative measures prescribing standards and rules to provide basis for carrying out of all spatial planning and engineering actions;
  • Informing and training in the field of emergency situations prevention to avoid inaccurate decisions. In view of expected climatic change the informing should be directed not only to the existing situation analysis, but also to the probable change in future, as nowadays people in charge of decision making as well as population do not have any experience of adaptation.

Water Resources

  • more effective and careful management of irrigational systems in order to preserve and reduce water loss;
  • regulation of surface water-flow and creation of water reserves in artificial water reservoirs;
  • implementation of modern, more effective systems and modes of water distribution in order to reduce its losses;
  • incentives for water-users to urge them to use efficiently the available water resources by implementation of paid water use system.

Reports and Publications

Monitoring and Evaluation

In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.

Parties to the Convention must submit national reports on implementation of the Convention to the Conference of the Parties (COP). The required contents of national communications and the timetable for their submission are different for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. This is in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention.

The core elements of the national communications for both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties are information on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and details of the activities a Party has undertaken to implement the Convention. National communications usually contain information on national circumstances, vulnerability assessment, financial resources and transfer of technology, and education, training and public awareness.

Since 1994, governments have invested significant time and resources in the preparation, collection and validation of data on GHG emissions, and the COP has made determined efforts to improve the quality and consistency of the data, which are ensured by established guidelines for reporting. Non-Annex I Parties receive financial and technical assistance in preparing their national communications, facilitated by the UNFCCC secretariat.

Contacts

UNDP
Yamil Bonduki
Coordinator, National Communications Support Programme (NCSP)
Zuhra Abaihanova
Project Affiliate