Balanced Carbon Burden: Kazakhstan Mobilizes All Economic Sectors

June 2, 2023
Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

June 2, 2023, marked the third annual International ECOJER Congress in Astana. This event, held annually in Kazakhstan's capital on the eve of World Environment Day, is recognized as the key forum for the global environmental community.

This time, the key topic of the discussions was Pathways to Carbon Neutrality. As noted by the Chairperson of the ECOJER Association Council, Lazzat Ramazanova, the issue of "zero emissions" is particularly relevant today.

"This year, Kazakhstan has adopted the long-awaited Carbon Neutrality Strategy. As you know, on April 23, the EU approved a bill to introduce a Border Carbon Adjustment Mechanism. However, the expert community states that global measures are insufficient to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C. In addition, the world is experiencing geopolitical shocks, and thus questions of energy security and access to reliable energy sources are coming to the forefront,"
said Lazzat Ramazanova.
Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

The Vice-President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, noted that Kazakhstan should focus on a balanced transition, ensuring the diversification of the economy and sustainable job creation. In this aspect, energy efficiency represents an obvious economic opportunity.

The Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Zulfiya Suleimenova, emphasized that Central Asia is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and therefore coordinated actions are needed.

"Kazakhstan supports the global climate agenda and intends to prevent the emission of more than 9 billion tons of CO2-equivalent through the transformation of the energy sector, the decommissioning of coal-fired capacities, electrification, and the application of carbon capture and storage technologies. This will require about 610 billion US dollars. Kazakhstan has updated its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement this year and intends to adopt a roadmap for their implementation. There are also plans to improve the existing Emissions Trading System,"
Zulfiya Suleimenova noted during a session involving ministers of ecology from Central Asian countries.
Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

Congress participants agreed to ensure a balanced carbon burden across all sectors of the economy, to involve unregulated sectors in efforts to achieve NDCs, as well as to introduce alternative carbon regulation tools in conjunction with the operation of KAZ ETS in the form of a carbon tax, the launch of a primary auction with a market stabilization mechanism, and the setting of price ranges for carbon units.

Katarzyna Wawiernia, Resident Representative of UNDP in Kazakhstan, said

"UNDP has disrupted the green finance market with innovative instruments, making "green" finance accessible and affordable for SMEs and scaling this up nationwide. For example, loan interest and green bonds coupon subsidy instruments have been introduced nationwide in the framework of the State Programme for Promotion of Small and Medium Entrepreneurship "Business Road Map-2025". More than 800mln US dollars of investment in renewable energy projects were leveraged in the last three years through the instruments, piloted with UNDP’s support."
Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

The ECOJER Congress is rightly considered an important event not only in the environmental sphere but also in the political life of the country. Comprehensive discussion of current issues is as necessary as the subsequent adoption of precise state measures. The dialogue of the state, industry, and society is the only way to achieve strategic goals, taking into account the opinions of all stakeholders and developing the most balanced political and economic decisions.

The organizers of the congress are the ECOJER Association, in close partnership with the EU project "Sustainable Energy Connectivity in Central Asia" (SECCA), with the support of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the United Nations Development Programme in Kazakhstan.

Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan