Statement of Mr. Yakup Beris UNDP Resident Representative in the Republic of Kazakhstan at the International Congress ECOJER «Green Life Better»

June 2, 2022
Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

Qadirli Qazaqstan Respublikasinin Premyer-Ministri, Alikhan Askhan-Uly

Khanimdar men myrzalar!

Men otip otyrgan ECOJER khalqaralyq congressine qatysyp otyrganyma ote quanyshtymyn.   

It is very symbolic that today, on the eve of World Environment Day, we gather for the ECOJER International Congress "Green Life Better". This year, with its motto - "Only One Earth" - it calls for collective, transformative action to celebrate, protect and restore our planet.

Today, in the Anthropocene era, pressures on the planet are increasing and climate change represents one of the greatest threats to development and, if not addressed, to human existence.

Many impacts of climate change are felt through water. Climate change is further expected to increase global water demand, intensifying competition for water resources as the timing, quantity, and quality of available water changes.

The impact of climate change on water resources is critical for areas with extreme continental climate and for countries where a significant portion of water use is associated with agricultural development. Kazakhstan is one of these countries.

UNDP’s study on the impact of climate change on water resources shows that in 50-70 years a significant flow reduction is expected in all hydroeconomic basins, with the exception of Balkhash-Alakol. The effects of glacier retreat are already being felt in some regions of the country, with increased flooding and mudslides.

We expect that growing demand for water, coupled with poor water management, will increase water stress. And of course, climate change is adding to the pressure. Given the circumstances, we are clear – ‘business as usual’ is not an option now.

Today, we need to reinvent our strategies to be able to develop with nature and invest in nature.

In doing so, it is clear that the relationship between climate change mitigation and water is a reciprocal one. To effectively address both water and climate challenges, we must tackle them together.

Good news is that solutions exist and new technologies are in the pipeline to improve how we manage water for nations, communities, and households.

As UNDP, we are doing our best to contribute to the efforts.

We are proud to have contributed to the joint efforts of the countries of Central Asia in developing adaptation strategies around the Aral Sea. Examples include the atlas of functional zoning of the Aral and Kazalinsk regions, afforestation to reverse land degradation, and a geoportal for spatial monitoring of desertification and land degradation processes in the Aral region.

We have partnered with the Islamic Development Bank to support the agricultural sector, which consumes 66% of the country's water. We partnered with Islamic Development Bank to help national and regional water authorities to improve water management for irrigation in agriculture. Our pilot projects in the south of Kazakhstan could serve as an example for the entire country.

Other examples of our support include diversification of sown areas of agricultural crops to sustainably use the available water resources,  improved condition of irrigation and drainage systems, adoption of resource-efficient technologies to help farmers grow less water-intensive crops in the regions of Kazakhstan.

All these examples are just to illustrate that for many years, UNDP has been partnering with the Government of Kazakhstan in sustainable water management- be it at the policy level, or with concrete activities in the field, on the ground. 

Obviously, the government is at the forefront of this process. And as UNDP, we greatly appreciate the country's vision for sustainable development, and the fact that important building blocks for Kazakhstan's climate action and sustainable transformation are in place.

Of course, no government in the world can do it alone. Partnerships and alliances should be built to bring about and sustain the desired changes. And we at UNDP stand ready at any time to support the country and its people on this development journey.        

Thank you.