A step forward in strengthening Uzbekistan’s readiness for accessing climate finance from the Green Climate FundJul 21, 2016
Overall in the Central Asia region, and in particular in Uzbekistan there is an observed trend of increased climate warming. According to the UNEP aridity index, most of Uzbeksitan’s territory is characterized by increasing aridity. It is classified as a drought zone, suseptible to land degrdation and desertification. The annual average temperature has increased by 0.29 0C for each 10 years, which implies higher vulnerability to the effects of climate change by population and territories, than in some other countries, as intensity of warming is taking place at double the average pace for the world.
Climate change and climate-related disasters are threatening food security, livelihoods, and development gains in Uzbekistan, where the share of agriculture in GDP remains substantial. This sector faces serious challenges due to climate risks expressed in more frequent and increased water stress, intensified land degradation, mudflows and landslides. Floods threaten developing social and economic infrastructure and regional development. Thus, appropriate planning, design, finance and implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation actions, as well as climate-risk management is highly demanded.
The financial needs for Uzbekistan to effectively mitigate and adapt to climate change are significant. With the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), emerging programmes which support readiness activities to access its funds and of the recently adopted international climate agreement, this is a unique and timely opportunity for Uzbekistan to develop its institutional architecture for the effective, efficient, and sustainable management of climate finance.
The Green Climate Fund is the only financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is fully dedicated to financing the adaptation and mitigation needs of developing countries. In this regard, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) are jointly implementing a global GCF Readiness Programme, with funding from the Government of Germany. Technical assistance is provided to nine countries aimed at strengthening national capacities and mechanisms for accessing and managing funding from this Fund.
On 21 July 2016, at the Wyndham Hotel in Tashkent, this project was launched in Uzbekistan. Government representatives from fifteen ministries, chaired byUzhydromet as the national implementing agency, along with members of civil society and academia, were joined by programme coordinators of the two leading United Nations organizations, UNEP and UNDP.
The objective of the national project is to support the Government of Uzbekistan in effectively and efficiently accessing, managing, deploying and monitoring climate finance from GCF through building and strengthening institutional capacity of national entities, with a focus on enabling direct access to the Fund.
The national project will target important readiness aspects, including enabling an environment for private sector engagement in climate change and strengthening national technical capacities to appraise climate change adaptation and mitigation measures and design bankable proposals for transformative projects. These activities will be planned and implemented in line with national policies and priorities.
Mr. Viktor Chub, the designated Focal Point to the GCF and General Director of Uzhydromet has emphasized that “Uzhydromet will lead the project to ensure national priorities are upheld throughout to achieve the desired outcomes. This will be done with the wider involvement and participation of national partner organizations and the private sector, through institutional strengthening and capacity building of national entities in Uzbekistan. With technical support from our UN partners, we will build a pipeline of GCF investments, which will complement the regional project CAMP4ASB, supported by the World Bank, which was approved by the GCF Board last month”.
Benin, Colombia, El Salvador, Fiji, Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, and the Philippines are also conducting readiness work under the UNEP / UNDP / WRI GCF Readiness Programme and gaining valuable experiences, supported by the technical expertise of the UN partner agencies and WRI. Uzbekistan will benefit from this experience and best practices, and it will also gain increased knowledge on how to minimize climate risks by maximising access to finance in the national and regional Central Asian context.
 The UNEP aridity index is based on the ratio of rainfall to potential evapotranspiration (Middleton & Thomas, 1992, 1997).
 The Second National Communication of the Republic of Uzbekistan to UNFCCC, Tashkent, 2008, p. 205