The Republic of Uzbekistan has made major advancement in its climate change adaptation planning process to further strengthen climate-sensitive sectors and improve existing mechanisms to maintain sustainability. This project was launched on 3 December 2020 with partners through a virtual event. The new programme will be implemented with support from the United Nations Development Programme and will be funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The sector driven National Adaptation Plan (NAP) programme will have a budget of about US$ 1.6 million to support the formulation of an effective adaptation planning process over the duration period of two and half years. The programme aims to enable informed decision-making in climate change adaptation and target the most climate-affected sectors, like agriculture, water, health, buildings and emergency management, as well as the three Aral Sea regions that are the most vulnerable to climate change.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen that climate agenda remains central to development efforts. The pandemic has exposed gaps and the need for increasing resilience in our climate and heath sectors. It has further shown the need to strengthen food systems in the agriculture sector. Both the agriculture and health sectors are priorities in the (NAP) programme of Uzbekistan. These priority sectors are very relevant and will contribute to achieving a sustainable economic recovery of the country,” noted Doina Munteanu, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Uzbekistan.
With a population of more than 34 million, Uzbekistan is one of the larger countries in the Central Asia region. The country’s economy is based on the production of commodities: cotton, gold, uranium and natural gas, with agriculture comprising 19 percent of the GDP. Issues with water shortages and soil salinity and erosion, are serious issues in Uzbekistan, and around 20 percent of the country’s population are already affected by water salinization. This situation is worsened by the continuing disappearance of the Aral Sea, which has lost 80 percent of its volume and 64 percent of its depth in the past four decades. The combined effects mean climate change is expected to reduce crop yields by 20 – 50 percent through to 2050.
“Climate change in Uzbekistan has a visible impact on all spheres of human life and requires immediate measures to prevent the negative consequences of climate change and adaptation to new living conditions. The national climate change adaptation plan will serve Uzbekistan as a great opportunity to reduce risks and increasing the resilience to climate change. In this regard, we truly believe in efficient partnership and constructive dialogue in all levels”, said Mr. Bahriddin Nishanov, First Deputy of General Director of the Center for the Hydrometeorological Services of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan has been able to unlock opportunities to access resources with the support of the Green Climate Fund, as a climate financing mechanism under UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. With the support of the GCF Readiness Programme, a national platform is being established for the development of initiatives focused climate change adaptation. The funding for Uzbekistan’s NAP programme was received in October 2020, and the GCF support has enabled the country to plan with large-scale financing that was needed to develop a more sustainable future through an adaptation planning process.