Achieving Ecosystem Stability on Degraded Land in Karakalpakstan and the Kyzylkum Desert

Project Goal

Local government officials learn which desert plants can best stabilise moving sandsUNDP in Uzbekistan: Using tried-and-tested methods of stabilising moving sands has helped to improve the quality of degraded land in arid regions

The ‘Achieving Ecosystem Stability on Degraded Land in Karakalpakstan and the Kyzylkum Desert’ joint project works to reverse desertification and its negative impacts in the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan and the Kyzylkum Desert, by encouraging ecosystem sustainability.

Due to its geographical and climatic characteristics, Uzbekistan is particularly vulnerable to land degradation. This is especially the case in the nation’s arid regions, which include 2.3 million hectares in the Bukhara region and 4.5 million hectares in the Karakalpakstan region. Land degradation in these areas has been a result of low-efficiency irrigation systems and practices, and extensive agriculture, deforestation, overgrazing and wind erosion.

This degradation has been manifested in a reduction of soil productivity, and in an increase in salinization and desertification. Loose sand blown by wind impacts the health and well-being of local residents, reduces agricultural productivity, damages roads and other infrastructure, contaminates water resources, and worsens environmental pollution. UNDP in Uzbekistan has joined GEF and the Government of Uzbekistan in overcoming these problems within targeted regions.

Our Results


  • Restored more than 16,000 hectares of desert territory surrounding the Kazakhdarya and Kyzyl Rovat villages, with a population of more than 5,000. The restoration was undertaken through land management techniques such as land cultivation in arid conditions, pasture rotation, and the improvement of livestock breeding and regulated grazing practices;
  • Increased employment opportunities by 10 per cent in Kazakhdarya and Kyzyl Rovat, through the use of 6 sources of alternative income generation;
  • Cultivated and transplanted 24 desert plant species in Karakalpakstan and the Kyzylkum desert, utilising special planting methods to stabilise moving sands and stop land degradation;
  • Drafted an Integrated Land Use Planning policy for desert lands, by engaging more than 100 experts at a national level and 300 people at a local level.


This project’s results have been actively replicated among local communities in the targeted regions of Uzbekistan. Regional authorities have incorporated approaches recommended by the project in both short and long-term development programs undertaken on local, district and regional levels. Meanwhile two legal documents regarding sustainable pasture use in desert regions have been submitted to the Uzbekistan government in accordance to adopted procedures.

In addition, the members of both target communities and nearby villages have independently replicated the methods and activities commenced by the project. Their use of improved methods of land cultivation, combined with their creation of small business and other sources of income generation that don’t rely on scarce natural resources, have illustrated their ecological awareness and economic adaptability.


Total Budget: USD 2,943,800
GEF: USD 950,000
UNDP: USD 356,800
The Government of Uzbekistan: USD 1,637,000

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