Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Uzbekistan’s Oil and Gas Policies and Operations

Project Goal

One of Uzbekistan's unique species, whose habitat needs to be preservedUNDP in Uzbekistan: The expansion of Uzbekistan's vital industries needs to be balanced with the preservation of unique flora and fauna

The ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Uzbekistan’s Oil and Gas Policies and Operations’ project works with the oil-and-gas sector in Uzbekistan, in order to minimise its adverse impacts of biodiversity. Practical solutions of how this can be achieved will be demonstrated on the Ustyurt Plateau.

Uzbekistan’s steppes are some of the last temperate grassland biomes in the world, and they are under threat from the impacts of increasing oil-and-gas exploration. It is essential that if these steppes are to be protected in the future, then the importance of preserving the environments and their unique biodiversity must be included in the oil-and-gas industry’s national policies.

Recognising the importance of its biodiversity, Uzbekistan has ratified the Convention on Biodiversity and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species. A network of nationally-protected areas exists, but it does not protect all endangered environments.
The project works to enable a policy, legislative and institutional environment required to mainstream biodiversity into the oil-and-gas sector, and to demonstrate the use of biodiversity mainstreaming technologies in oil-and-gas operations on the Ustyurt Plateau.

Our Results

  • Prepared more than 100 amendments to introduce elements of the 'avoid-reduce-remedy-offset' principle into 12 laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan, in order to help integrate biodiversity conservation principles into the oil and gas sector. These amendments were submitted to ministries and agencies for approval;
  • Prepared 19 amendments to the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure;
  • Prepared a draft Regulation on Environmental Audits;
  • Prepared a draft map dividing the Ustyurt Plateau into three zones, including the 1st zone where exploration and drilling is prohibited, the 2nd zone where extraction projects are allowed but should have mitigation measures, and the 3rd zone where offset schemes are required;
  • Developed a geographic information system map detailing the land cadastre and infrastructure of the Ustyurt Plateau;
  • Determined a baseline for biodiversity on the Ustyurt Plateau;
  • Created a cartoon ‘The Steppe Tale’ in order to increase public awareness on saiga conservation;
  • Decree No. 142 dated the 27th of May, 2013, of the Cabinet Ministries requires the saiga protected area to be restructured into a landscape reserve; a package of necessary documents is being prepared;
  • Learned from international experience regarding the application of the principle of ‘avoid-reduce-remedy-offset’ within the state of Victoria, Australia.


Total Budget: USD 1,150,000
GEF: USD 950,000
UNDP: USD 200,000
The Government of Uzbekistan (In-kind) USD 6,000,000