Global warming carries huge risks for Central Asia. According to environmentalists, among the countries of Eurasia, the five countries of the Central Asian region are most vulnerable to climate change. First of all, climate change might negatively affect agriculture, experts say. Droughts are a threat to food security. The energy sector may suffer from shallowing of rivers as some countries of the region generate energy from hydroelectric power stations, and, accordingly, depend on water. The Central Asian countries are joining forces in order to respond to climate change. The Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia is a unique platform for the interstate dialogue in this area. The center aims to increase capacity in environmental protection, introduction of innovative environmental techniques as well as the exchange of experience and information. The CAREC’s target audience includes both government bodies and non-governmental organizations from all five Central Asian countries.

ZHANNA BABAGALIYEVA, SPECIALIST, CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY PROGRAM, CAREC:

 - There is a number of factors that we can already observe today. This includes frequency of natural disasters as effects of the climate change, the frequency of mudflows, droughts, floods and etc. which already have the trend to increase. According to experts, over the last 10-15 years there has been the air temperature increase in the region, which exceeds the world temperature growth levels. According to the UNDP forecasts, in the next 10-15 years water shortage will be an issue in some regions of Central Asia.

According to different scenarios of climate change in Central Asia, by 2030-2050 the average temperature will increase by 1-3 °C. In this regard, the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia is implementing a Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program in the Aral Sea Basin. The project CAMP4ASB started in 2016 with the support of the World Bank and is designed until 2021. The project aims to solve common challenges through access to advanced knowledge in this area.

ZHANNA BABAGALIYEVA, SPECIALIST, CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY PROGRAM, CAREC:

 - We have already conducted a needs assessment. What are the needs in the Central Asian countries? We have conducted a survey and an evaluation. We have identified what information products are needed. We have also considered modernizing the hydro meteorological services. In the process, we have already received requests from hydro meteorological services. In accordance with results of this assessment, we have received requests for training, capacity building in climate modeling, hydrological modeling and vulnerability assessment.

Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is an important condition for adapting to the climate change. All five central Asian countries have joined the Paris Agreement and committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The states have already begun taking steps towards green economy, increasing energy efficiency and introducing the renewables. All this will help mitigate the effects of the climate change, experts say.     

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