Общественное Объединение Сеть экспертов устойчивого развития Центральной Азии
A teleconference was held on "Adaptation to climate change in local communities" on September 25, 2018. The event was organized jointly by the Civil Society Development Association (ARGO) and the World Bank. For the first time, representatives of all five Central Asian countries took part in this kind of teleconference. The event was broadcasted live from the World Bank offices in Almaty, Astana, Bishkek, Ashgabat, Dushanbe and Tashkent. The total number of participants reached 100 people.
The key idea of the event was to create a common platform for the exchange of experience among NGOs in Central Asia. The head of the ARGO’s “Partnership for Innovation” Programme Kaisha Atakhanova noted during her speech that civil society plays a special role in environmental protection. Thus, it is these kinds of events that should become a platform where participants from different countries can share their experiences, and discuss common problems in the field of adaptation to climate change.
The teleconference participants from all 6 participating cities had a great opportunity to directly contact the World Bank representative, Gayane Minasyan, to ask all the questions of interest and express their wishes for the future. In her speech, Gayane presented the outlook on developments in the region until 2050 if we do not take action today.
According to the forecasts obtained from the World Bank study "Turn down the heat: face-to-face with the new climate reality" for 2013, we are facing a reduction in the area of glaciers by 50-70%. River flow will decrease by 20%, and crop yield will reduce by 30%. Such changes will first affect the poorest and also lead to an increase in the number of climate migrants and have a significant impact on the health of the entire population.
The participants found some of the data rather contradictory. Nevertheless, all of them agreed on the need for immediate and coordinated action at the level of the entire region. Representatives of all countries told about their initiatives and made their proposals for the future.
Participants from Turkmenistan noted the need to improve national policies and bring national climate change strategies in accordance with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Representatives from Kyrgyzstan shared their practice of using woodlands to create a microclimate. Participants from Tajikistan raised the issue of availability of information on climate change. The meeting participants discussed raising public awareness and came to the conclusion that it is important to take into account the interests of local communities when addressing environmental issues. As Bulat Yessekin, an international expert on sustainable development, said, "When we talk about the adaptation goals, we need to think first about the basic human needs."
One of the most important conclusions made during the session was that an approach that focuses on "best" practices is not an optimal solution. The population needs affordable practices that would work in a particular region, rather than the best ones. A base of such practices has been created, and some of the typical examples are the collection of rainwater for household needs, energy efficient furnaces, etc.
It was also noted that it's necessary to raise awareness of local communities through demonstration projects and exchange of experience between Central Asian countries. In other words, when addressing representatives of the communities, it is necessary to speak their language. A representative of Tajikistan, Yury Skochilov, shared his experience on this issue, saying that many farmers have no access to information on existing technologies. In his opinion, efficiency in raising awareness can be achieved through the use of such multimedia communication tools as images and video clips. As noted by the participant from Uzbekistan, Alexander Merkushkin, the implemented technologies should be, first of all, attractive for local communities.
The meeting participants also shared their ideas on how the World Bank can contribute to solving the voiced problems. For example, Kazakhstan suggested the World Bank create a water and energy consortium. The representatives believe that the World Bank could provide substantial support in preparing a scientific base for this project. A participant from Turkmenistan, Berkeli Atayev, talked about the need for resuming the small grants program for local communities by the World Bank.
Upon the end of the meeting, it became clear that assistance at the regional level is possible and, moreover, necessary for the effective solution of the issues related to adaptation to climate change. As Bulat Yessekin said, "There are quite great opportunities for adaptation, survival and sustainable development. There will be even more opportunities for people if they learn to act together, trying to make the minimal impact on the environment."
The participants concluded that effective solution of the issues requires maximum consolidation of efforts at the regional level, taking into account the interests of local communities. In addition, involvement in the environmental protection of not only environmental organizations, but also youth NGOs and NGOs on gender issues, should become one of the priority areas for development. Such organizations as the World Bank and ARGO will take into account all the expressed suggestions. Organizations will give all possible assistance in providing technical, financial and expert resources to ensure regional cooperation in taking appropriate adaptation measures in countries, as well as to provide the population with access to information on climate change.
Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program for Aral Sea Basin or CAMP4ASB is implemented by CAREC and financed by the World Bank. Project aims to enhance regionally coordinated access to improved climate change knowledge services for key stakeholders (e.g., policy makers, communities, and civil society) in participating Central Asian countries as well as to increased investments and capacity building that, combined, will address climate challenges common to these countries.CAMP4ASB is implemented in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan during the period from 2016 to 2021.