UN Secretary-General António Guterres Highlights Climate Action and Community and Youth Engagement During a Visit to the UNDP Project Site in Kyrgyzstan

July 1, 2024

UN Secretary-General António Guterres (in the center) during his visit to Kyrgyzstan

UNDP | Kyrgyzstan

Cholpon-Ata, 2 July 2024 – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized the crucial role of community engagement in climate action to build a sustainable risk-informed environment during his meeting with local communities on the project site in Cholpon-Ata, Issyk-Kul province. The visit focused on the efforts of the joint project by UNDP’s flagship Climate Promise initiative, the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Kyrgyz Republic, and local authorities of the Issyk-Kul province, supported by the Japan Supplementary Budget, aimed at enhancing the early warning capacity of the emergency services to safeguard lives and livelihoods and resilience of communities by improving their capacity to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to climate-related hazards. 

Accompanied by Azamat Mambetov, Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations of the Kyrgyz Republic, Antje Grawe, UN Resident Coordinator in the Kyrgyz Republic, and Alexandra Solovieva, UNDP Resident Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic, Secretary-General Guterres toured over the mudflow channel, built to protect the property from glacial lakes outburst flooding. Secretary-General Guterres engaged in a discussion with local residents, who shared their experiences of how climate change has impacted their lives and livelihoods.  

Alexandra Solovieva, UNDP Resident Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic briefed Secretary-General Guterres about joint UN efforts on the climate agenda. “The risks of climate change impacts are high, exacerbated by water scarcity, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, and social displacement. Cooperation, innovation, and joint action planning are essential to overcoming these challenges and advancing the Kyrgyz Republic’s climate, disaster risk management, conservation, and mountain agenda.” 

After this, it was followed by a presentation by the Ministry of Emergency Situations on the results and achievements of this joint project which has made significant progress in mitigating mudflow risks and reducing vulnerabilities associated with glacial lake outbursts. It has achieved significant milestones, including the development of a national action plan until 2030 aimed at enhancing the national capacity for monitoring and forecasting natural disasters.  

“This plan includes an automated system for monitoring high-mountain lakes and creating a Unified Integrated Monitoring and Forecasting System. Climate information and early warning systems are key to safeguarding lives, livelihoods, and a country’s development, particularly in the face of more frequent, intense, and unpredictable extreme weather events,” said Azamat Mambetov, Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations of the Kyrgyz Republic.  

Additionally, the project has empowered local communities in pilot areas like Cholpon-Ata, Chon-Sary-Oy, and Bosteri rural districts. Residents have gained essential skills in disaster preparedness, received vital training and equipment, and formed local monitoring groups to better anticipate and respond to climate-related hazards. These efforts led to the construction of protective barriers and the development of effective action plans, safeguarding lives and properties. Secretary-General Guterres observed these impacts firsthand, highlighting the importance of initiatives like Early Warnings for All. This initiative, part of the UN Secretary-General’s Acceleration Agenda, aims to protect everyone with early warning systems by 2027, ensuring climate justice for those on the frontlines of the climate crisis. 

Secretary-General Guterres also took the opportunity to meet with young climate activists from the region. He listened to their concerns about the future and their ideas for mitigating the impacts of climate change. The youth shared innovative approaches and youth-driven initiatives that they believe are vital for building a more resilient and sustainable future. Secretary-General Guterres praised their dedication and emphasized the importance of youth engagement in global efforts to combat climate change. 

Secretary-General Guterres commended the efforts and achievements of UNDP and the Ministry of Emergency Situations in tackling climate change and disaster risks in Kyrgyzstan. He emphasized the importance of ongoing international collaboration and local engagement to build resilient communities capable of adapting to climate change challenges.  

This visit underscores the United Nations' commitment to supporting Kyrgyzstan in its journey towards sustainable development and climate resilience.