UNDP and Goskomecology to Launch a New High-Mountain Ecosystem Sustainability Initiative in Uzbekistan

Sep 21, 2017

The snow leopard, a globally acknowledged symbol of Central Asian mountains, lives in hard-t-reach areas of Uzbekistan. Its habitat – the mountains of Western Tien Shan and Pamir Alai – are highly significant for global biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods but, unfortunately, suffer from multiple serious threats. These, primarily, include continuous pasture and forest degradation caused by unsustainable use of natural resources. The new project of the Government of Uzbekistan and United Nations Development Programme sets ambitious targets to overcome and reduce the impact of these negative factors.

On 21 September 2017, the new project seeking to help conserve and ensure sustainable use of natural resources in Uzbekistan’s richly biodiverse high-mountain areas was officially launched. It will be implemented by the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection (Goscomecology) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Uzbekistan using Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) grant financing in cooperation with other development partners and international environmental NGOs.

Project activities will focus on Western Tien Shan and Pamir Alai high-mountain areas within the administrative boundaries of Uzbekistan’s Tashkent, Kashkadarya and Surkhandarya regions. The snow leopard is the key high-mountain ecosystem species covered by the project.

The project will work from 2017 through to 2022 with its technical assistance budget totaling $6.5 million granted by GEF and UNDP.

Uzbekistan joined the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in 1995 thereby committing itself to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity components to benefit from using genetic resources on a collective, equal and fair basis.

Uzbekistan’s Fifth National Report to CBD (2015) states that Uzbekistan’s mountain landscapes have suffered over the last 15 years from continuous degradation of pastures, forests and mountain habitats.

Uzbekistan is implementing its national environment action program till end of 2017. The program sets national strategic priorities on environment conservation, rehabilitation and improvement, and more sustainable use of natural resources, while integrating environmental concerns in other sectors.

Introducing modern approaches to using and managing natural resource in key mountainous regions will be another step towards better securing globally significant biodiversity, improving the management of the targeted natural reserves in two snow leopard landscapes, sustainable use of high-mountain pasturelands and forests, while strengthening partnerships and cooperation to conserve the snow leopard and its ecosystems both nationally and internationally.  

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