Power to the people

Kazakhstan is making moves to empower communities to become more involved in taking the decisions that matter most to them. It is striving to create an environment where people can get together and come up with solutions to their problems at a local level, rather than waiting for assistance from above.

“On ugliness”: site-specific performance based on Umberto Eco

Ugliness repels us. A huge industry works to help us rid from the ugliness of our own. However, contemplating one’s ugliness is a fascinating process. There were times when a man went to watch executions and visited the circus - both are today substituted by the cinema. Why do we sometimes want to relate ourselves with the ugly, whilst staying aside in our own beauty and harmony?

Kazakhstan is launching the geoportal to monitor drought risks from space for climate change adaptation studies.

Several events devoted to adapting and reducing vulnerability of Kazakhstan to climate change will take place on October 24-25. October 24, 2016, Almaty, the Conference Hall of the National Center for Space Research and Technology, 15, Shevchenko Str. – will host the presentation of the geoportal pilot version. The project is designed to monitor and analyze drought risks, dry processes in Kazakhstan using data from spaceborne remote sensing and geographic information systems. The primary goal of the geoportal is to provide the Kazakhstani users concerned with user-friendly information about droughts, the information will be mostly demanded by farmers, decision makers, and professionals involved in the agriculture services.

Resolving conflict through mediation

The use of mediation as a method of dispute resolution has a long history in Kazakhstan stretching back to the days when the Kazakhs were a nomadic people. UNDP has been working with the Government of Kazakhstan to help revive mediation as a means of solving problems and provide a viable alternative to going to court. In years gone by, the nomadic Kazakh tribes followed the concept of adat, the set of local and traditional laws and customs recognised by the clans. A respected member of the community, often the clan leader, acted as a mediator between conflicting parties. This mediator was known as a biy and their authority was derived from knowledge of the adat system. The biy called upon this knowledge to settle disagreements in a fair manner.

Reducing the risk of disaster

Disaster preparedness is a real concern in Kazakhstan, where there is a strong risk of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, striking at any time. A significant proportion of the territory of Kazakhstan, approximately 30 per cent, is located in zones of high seismic activity. As a result, disaster risk reduction has been at the forefront of UNDP’s work in the country over the past ten years. UNDP, in partnership with the Government of Kazakhstan and DIPECHO, the European Commission's disaster preparedness programme, has taken risk preparation to the next level.

A time to sow and a time to reap

With ideal conditions for growing crops such as wheat, rice and barley, agriculture plays a key role in Kazakhstan’s economy. For the sector to thrive, close attention needs to be paid to the challenges posed by the growing threat of climate change. Kazakhstan is particularly vulnerable to changing climatic conditions. According to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy, the country faces temperature rates rising twice as high as the rest of the world due to its arid conditions and landlocked status.

Seeing beyond disability

Empowering people with disabilities to live a full life in Kazakhstan is challenging and there are still many hurdles that need to be overcome. However, recent innovations in this area have led to more favourable conditions for the protection of the rights of the disabled.

Getting to grips with hazardous waste

Kazakhstan is facing the growing problem of how to safely dispose of its e-waste, that ever-increasing mountain of electronic products that have reached the end of their useful life. Twinned with this problem is the question of what to do with hazardous substances such as mercury, found in bulbs and batteries. To tackle these pressing problems, UNDP joined forces with Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy and other partners to create a network of disposal points for e-waste and dangerous materials in the capital Astana and other cities.

Ancient craft revives rural area in Kazakhstan

“No one in our family, and even in our network of friends had anything to do with felt,” says Tatyana Chuchupalova, smoothing the bright felt berets, scarves and bags laid out on a large table. “Ten years ago, my aunt attended a master class on felting by a mere chance. She showed me what she’d been taught and I fell in love with the craft at first sight. It appeared very special compared to the more common handicrafts such as knitting or sewing.”

Almaty to host «Cycling and walking. My path. Future of my city» international conference
Almaty to host «Cycling and walking. My path. Future of my city» international conference

In a contemporary world both mobility and environmental wellbeing are not only important indicators of the quality of life, but are also undeniable components of a strong urban economy. In their competition for the mobility megalopolises are struggling to attract public attention to non-motorized transport....

Warming up to success: schools embrace smart energy
Warming up to success: schools embrace smart energy

Kazakhstan’s classrooms are in the frontline of the battle against global warming, with green technology helping to make schools more energy efficient while at the same time giving the pupils a memorable lesson in sustainability. "The first thing that springs to mind when you think about schools is learning and grades. But these are impossible without proper basic conditions like warmth and good light,” says Tatyana Nemtsan, head teacher of Vyacheslavskaya School, in Arnasay, Akmola Region. Tatyana’s school provides these basic needs via an array of innovative new technologies, making it a role model for energy efficiency in Kazakhstan. Solar panels, installed by UNDP, connect the school to warm water and help it save up to 50 per cent on its electricity bills.

Preserving biological diversity

Kazakhstan is ramping up efforts to conserve its biological diversity by creating protected zones for the flora and fauna found across its vast landmass. As the human race encroaches ever more on nature, the need for controlled, safe areas for wildlife becomes increasingly important. Working together with the Government of Kazakhstan, UNDP has been instrumental in helping establish a key reserve in the centre of the country to protect the critically-endangered saiga antelope.

Kazakhstan promotes ODA cooperation with Afghanistan

19 August, 2016 Astana – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, the United Nations Development Programme, the Government of Japan and Japan International Cooperation Agency have launched a pilot project of Kazakhstan’s ODA aimed at expanding economic independence and rights of Afghan women and entitled “Promoting Kazakhstan’s ODA Cooperation with Afghanistan”. The project will mark Kazakhstan’s first international cooperation for Afghanistan in the framework of national system of Official Development Assistance (ODA), while it helps Kazakhstan to strengthen its ability to administer its future ODA. The project is financed by the Government of Japan through the UNDP-Japan Partnership Fund.

Made in Kazakhstan

Economic diversification has been a key area of interest for Kazakhstan as it attempts to shift the economy away from an over-reliance on the oil and gas sector towards other spheres that can ensure sustainable, long-term growth for the country. The 100 Concrete Steps reform programme, unveiled by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in May 2015, calls for support for “national champions” – the leaders of small and medium-sized businesses in non-resource-based sectors of the economy. A glowing example of such a champion is Samgau Nassypkhan, a young entrepreneur from East Kazakhstan Region who set up his own shoemaking business that is going from strength to strength.

“I’m Not Afraid to Tell”: How Kazakh women are breaking the silence on gender-based violence

Over the past few months, I’ve witnessed as women in Kazakhstan break their silence on sexual violence. A campaign titled #ЯнеБоюсьСказать (I’m not afraid to tell) и НеМолчи (Don’t keep Quiet) has led to many women sharing their stories. One of them is Dina Tansari (pictured), a well-known TV producer. “…I was unconscious. They left me in front of my flat, rang the bell, and ran away. In the morning I couldn’t remember anything, except for my mum’s screams when she found me…,” she wrote on her Facebook wall.