Increasing financial stability of the specially protected areas in Kyrgyzstan
The environment and the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems are important priorities for the transition to sustainable development. Kyrgyzstan’s rich natural heritage is the basis of many economic sectors, such as agriculture, tourism, energy, forestry and mining, and one of the important goals is the conservation of biodiversity and valuable ecosystems.
To solve this problem, Kyrgyzstan joined the UNDP global Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN). The BIOFIN Initiative (Phase 2) aims to mobilize all possible sources of environmental finance for the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources that support the country’s economy and are considered indispensable for achieving national sustainable development goals.
As a result of the analysis carried out by the BIOFIN project on the first stage of work, it was revealed that during the next For five years, there has been a funding gap of more than 2 billion soms for biodiversity conservation. Moreover, an assessment of the BIOFIN project shows that funding for biodiversity from the state budget will not increase in the coming years. Therefore, it is extremely important to develop and test reliable mechanisms for mobilizing additional financial resources outside the republican budget. Here it is important to study the capabilities of each protected area, taking into account local natural conditions and socio-economic situation, the development of partnerships and the availability of human resources.
The short-term project “Feasibility study of an effective system of financial self-sufficiency of protected areas (PAs)”, implementing by the Branch of the Regional Environmental Centrer of Central Asia (CAREC) in Kyrgyzstan by the support of UNDP-BIOFIN is aimed at developing innovative and sustainable mechanisms for ensuring income of protected areas in Kyrgyzstan, the basis for their implementation in pilot protected areas.
The BIOFIN Initiative in Kyrgyzstan and the CAREC are collaborating with the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Environmental Protection under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ecology and Technical Supervision of the Kyrgyz Republic for the successful implementation of the project.
Within the framework of the project, on the recommendation of the management of the National Protected Areas, the following pilot territories were selected: State Natural Park “Khan-Tengri” and State Natural Park “Chon-Kemin” and State Natural Reserve “Sary- Chelek.” One of the objectives of the project is to assess the current financial condition of the selected protected areas and determine their potential income. For this purpose, on January 23-26, a trip was organized to the pilot territories – the State Nature Park “Khan-Tengri” and the Photo: State Nature Park “Chon-Kemin”
The pilot PA expressed gratitude to the BIOFIN Initiative in Kyrgyzstan and the CAREC for their participation in the project and the importance of piloting new financing mechanisms for biodiversity conservation, and at the same time they will provide all types of assistance and support. In each protected area, meetings and close work took place with specialists from natural parks, who shared achievements and good results of their work, but also expressed problems that directly or indirectly affected additional financial income.
The director of the State Nature Park “Chon-Kemin” noted that the staff of the natural park is young; specialists need to increase their potential in the areas of developing eco-tourism, monitoring and protecting wild animals using modern technologies, and introducing scientific activities. and growing coniferous seedlings.
Director of the State Nature Park “Khan-Tengri” Osmon son Joomart noted that the territory of the national park is very isolated, mountainous and almost all areas are difficult to access. From the city of Karakol to the beginning of the site you need to drive 4-5 hours along high mountain roads, and in winter this road is often blocked by avalanches or snowdrifts, the road is unpaved, and there are rocky outcrops. . These difficulties do not allow them to fully engage in tourism, because of this, a small number of tourists visit the park. A separate area of tourism is high-altitude mountaineering, which requires large investments, professionalism, and appropriate technology and equipment. Private tourism companies are working in this direction, with which agreements have been concluded on the use of the territory of the natural park, coastal ecosystems, and wildlife.
In general, funding for natural parks and reserves in Kyrgyzstan is carried out by the state at a sufficient level, however, government agencies themselves need to find new additional funding mechanisms available at the legislative level, and here it is necessary to study the experience of other countries where national parks develop eco-tourism and offer unique conditions for visitors taking into account natural features. Natural resources and unique ecosystems have attracted more and more tourists to Kyrgyzstan in recent years.
The BIOFIN Initiative and the CAREC are ready to provide methodological and expert support in the development and piloting of new financing mechanisms, the development of specific recommendations for piloting and making the necessary changes to Laws and regulations, which will allow all protected areas to apply new financing opportunities.
Contact person: Kuban Matraimov, Director of the CAREC branch in Kyrgyzstan, firstname.lastname@example.org