Climate change poses an undisputable challenge to Central Asian countries now, more than ever. At a time when an annual temperature increase of even 1 or 1.5 degrees can have a significant impact on a country’s economy, it has become imperative for the countries in the region to work together on mitigating the effects of climate change.
A recent regional conference sought to do just that in Almaty.
The Second Central Asia Climate Knowledge Forum brought together civil society organizations (CSOs), and government officials from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, along with regional educational institutions, universities, and development partner representatives to prepare a forward-looking regional strategy for climate change mitigation and adaptation in Central Asia.
The proposed Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program for Central Asia (CAMP4CA), to be financed by the World Bank and other bilateral and multilateral agencies, aims to strengthen cross-country planning, prepare innovative pilot investments, and increase the implementation of regional collaboration in the long-term. By maximizing synergies across sectors and countries, CAMP4CA will help improve the effectiveness of the response in each country, enhancing climate resilience at both national and regional scales, and setting the stage for future opportunities for green growth.
The event stressed the importance of open dialogue among all parties to reflect diverse perspectives, providing an opportunity for civil society to share its own experiences at the community level. The participating non-governmental organizations announced the formation of the “Central Asia CSO Climate Association,” which will be a coalition of environment and climate CSOs from all five countries. The organizations expressed a strong interest in the national Technical Working Groups (TWG) with representatives across ministries, who will work to develop the Regional Climate Resilience Project.
The event, which took place for the second year in a row, also promoted knowledge sharing and dialogue on climate change among Central Asian stakeholders. Cooperative solutions to mobilize climate finance for green and inclusive growth and low-carbon climate-resilient development were defined, and experiences in incorporating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and mitigation policies and programs into sustainable development planning and implementation were shared. The discussions captured experiences in reaching out to the private sector and local institutions and engaging them on climate resilience by understanding the market for climate-resilient interventions, improving enabling environments, and developing financing instruments for resilience.
Participants also pledged to work on developing proposals to strengthen the capacity and raise awareness on the risks of climate change, assessing the vulnerability of key sectors of the Central Asian economies towards the impact of climate change, planning and taking actions aimed at improving the resilience to climate change in targeted sectors at the national and regional levels, and establishing a regional coordinating body for the program.
The forum also set the stage for a high-level dialogue in the near future on moving from national to regional climate resilience.