Improved regional cooperation, knowledge sharing and physical investments to support climate change mitigation and adaptation in Central Asia
WASHINGTON, November 3, 2015 – The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved an allocation of US$38 million from the International Development Association to finance the first phase of the Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program for Aral Sea Basin (CAMP4ASB). The approved financing for the first phase of this regional program includes US$9 million for Tajikistan, US$14 million for Uzbekistan, and US$15 million for regional activities to be implemented by the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (EC-IFAS) with support from the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC). Preparation is already underway in the other Central Asian countries for their participation in the Program over the next two years.
The Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program for Aral Sea Basin seeks to reap the benefits from regional cooperation and collaboration to address the mounting challenges of climate change, which often transcend borders in Central Asia. The Program will strengthen the knowledge and information base on climate change risks and provide financing and technical assistance to rural communities for climate-smart investments in sectoral areas considered as priorities in the Central Asian countries.
According to the World Bank report “Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal”, Central Asia is likely to experience more intense warming than the global average: in a 4°C warmer world for instance, mean annual temperature over Central Asia at the end of the 21st century could rise by 7°C relative to 1951-1980 (or 3°C higher than the global mean). The region’s glaciers, which account today for 10 percent of the annual stream flow in the Amu Darya and Syr Darya basins, have already shrunk by one-third in volume since the beginning of the 20th century and are projected to lose up to 50 percent in volume in a 2°C warmer world, and potentially up to 75 percent in a 4°C warmer world. Climate variability and change in Central Asia will impact key economic sectors, such as agriculture, energy, and water, and put at risk the livelihoods of rural populations, which account for 50 to 75 percent of the Central Asian countries’ populations, with often high poverty rates.
“This regional program offers a unique platform in the region with explicit mandate to support regional cooperation on climate change across a broad range of sectors,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, Regional Director of the World Bank for Central Asia. “Given inherent connections in agriculture, energy, land, and water systems as well as similarities in climate change challenges across countries of Central Asia, a coordinated and integrated approach toward climate change is key to effectively mitigate risks and to strengthen climate resilience.”
The new program will support a platform for sustained regional dialogue and knowledge exchange among all Central Asian countries on climate change across a broad range of sectors, including agriculture, disaster risk management, water, energy, etc. An integrated analytical system with improved data, information, and tools on climate change will be available to all countries of the region to inform policies and prioritization of climate-smart investments. Also, financing will be provided to rural communities to address current threats to agricultural production and rural livelihoods, stemming from climate risks such as droughts and weather extremes. These climate investments will help improve livelihoods while also demonstrating climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts that can be ultimately shared and scaled up across the region. It is expected that these projects will benefit 240,000 people in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan under the first phase of the program.