Our Perspective

Feast or famine in rural Kazakhstan

01 Feb 2016

image A new crop: Testing out drought resistant watermelons in Kyzylorda

by Dina Teltayeva Rice grows best in moist conditions. It can’t grow in arid areas unless the field is properly irrigated. This is why 90 percent of the land in the dry region of Kyzylorda, is kept irrigated. The only problem is that this area has also always been Kazakhstan’s biggest rice producer and provider for the other Central Asian countries, with the bulk of its economy relying on it. The question I had – as I stood in a field in Kyzylorda for the first time in my life, talking to farmers about new drought-resistant methods – was this: Why would anyone choose this drought-prone land to grow water-intensive rice? A legacy of the past – says UNDP land management expert Firuz Ibragimov. In the Soviet Union a decision was made to determine which crops could be grown best and where. Kyzylorda was chosen for growing rice based on the analysis of soil and climate and proximity to the Syrdarya River. At that time the region was abundant with water and there was no need to build artificial water reservoirs in Kazakhstan. According to Ibragimov: “Presently, however, a lot of Central Asian countries, now independent, have created plenty of water reservoirs for water  Read More

Greening water sector of Kazakhstan is the only solution for sustainable economy.

22 Dec 2015

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Economic recession has brought attention of many policy makers to take a closer look into a Green Economy model. Kazakhstan is among the countries that have adopted a concept of transition to a Green economy model as a strategy to move towards a more sustainable economy.  Now what is Green economy? The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines green economy as “one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” So, green economy generates growth, creates employment and reduces poverty, whilst protecting natural resources. Shifting to green economy requires careful use of natural resources, especially water that differs from other resources. Water is more fundamental for all forms of life, ecosystems, social and economic development of all nations. Water is considered as a renewable resource but its deposits are limited. Due to climate change, urbanization, industrialization and population growth, the amount of water globally is decreasing. Unfortunately, Kazakhstan is not an exception. Deputy Chairman of the Water resources committee of Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan said that every year water flow volume in Kazakhstan is decreasing. The country faces shortage of both fresh water, and water used for industrial and agricultural purposes,  Read More

First Parking Day in Almaty: How else can one use parking space?

05 Oct 2015

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Supported by Akimat of Almaty, the UNDP/GEF CAST project has held the first festival of urban «parking space» included in the framework of the «Car Free Day». Its was to demonstrate the inefficiency of the use of space when it's occupied by a parked vehicle, and presented alternatives for the use of parking space. The campaign has turned into a bright, creative and inspiring event. Almaty designers, artists and young architects used parking spots to organise so-called «parklets» - mini-zones for recreation - where citizens could take rest and see for themselves how the urban space can be changed in just one day. Participant and Public Coordinator of campaign, landscape architect of the GOROD projects' laboratory, Katerina Novoselova said: «The purpose of the Parking Day is to show that the city is a common space for all of us and how the vast territories occupied by vehicles could turn into parks, cafes and recreation areas for our citizens. This campaign is a small drop in people's consciousness, an attempt to demonstrate to the citizens that our city is communal and we're able to fill it with useful content. It was a great pleasure for me to work with UNDP/GEF project in  Read More

How UNDP improves social partnership in East Kazakhstan?

24 Jun 2015

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Mira Beisenova, Communication specialist, UN Joint programme in East Kazakhstan  “Lack of experience and knowledge of effective business planning, poor networking, lack of start-up capital or pledged assets. Those are obstacles in development of rural entrepreneurship. An NGO can acts as an effective catalyst of the existing entrepreneurship state and non-state programmes. UNDP contributed a lot to capacity building of the local NGOs in East Kazakhstan…”, said Shynar Sultan, SME support consultant of the UN Joint programme in East Kazakhstan. Our local partner in rural entrepreneurship development – public fund "Development of Youth Entrepreneurship" is our local partner in rural entrepreneurship development in East Kazakhstan. It serves as a bridge between all stakeholders: UNDP, Government of Kazakhstan and entrepreneurs, new and old. Especially vulnerable groups of the region appreciated organizational, advisory and financial support provided.  UNDP assigned 133,000 USD and helped to fundraise 770,000 USD in a partnership with this NGO from other sources. After 4 years of close collaboration we can see its results through 24 projects realized together. Let us share one of the successful project stories within the "Green Business" initiative. “Healthy food. Made in Kazakhstan” East Kazakhstan is famous for the production of honey. Almost every village has  Read More

UNDP/GEF project work on first corridor of bus rapid transit in the CIS countries.

22 Jun 2015

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Yelena Yerzakovich (UNDP in Kazakhstan) Greater use of mass rapid transit system is a key proposal to provide better transport services in Almaty City – and is part of “The City of Almaty Sustainable Transport Strategy for 2013-2014”.  Since 2012 UNDP/GEF project «City of Almaty Sustainable Transport» has been providing international technical assistance to the city municipality to offer a maximum number of efficient solutions during the design of the bus rapid transit (BRT) system. This assistance included financing pre-feasibility study and creating a pool of technical experts for the design phase.  Buses carry the largest number of passengers. This is the reason why our project has recommended that in addition to developing the metro and light rail transit (LRT), the Almaty City municipality should also focus on improving the bus route network and on building BRT corridors. These would include a package of measures such as segregated bus lines, e-ticketing system, high capacity buses and other arrangements. The concept of five BRT corridors became part of City of Almaty Sustainable Transport Strategy for 2013-2023. All the more so because Almaty has good prerequisites to set up such corridors: proper road conditions in major parts of the selected streets; the level  Read More

Animation films dedicated to “green” transportation and road safety have been created

02 Feb 2015

Animation films dedicated to “green” transportation and road safety have been created and adapted to be shown in 3 languages – Kazakh, Russian and English by UNDP-GEF project “City of Almaty Sustainable Transport”. "Choose transport for life!", «No need in superpowers if there is super-transport!” and “Safety – it’s easy!” - These are the cartoons whose purpose is promotion the idea of sustainable transport, such as bicycles or public transport. When creating animation products for social advertising local animators employed ideas and experience of their French counterparts. Nicolas Journoud, the cartoonist: “I live in Almaty since 2006, and as a cyclist and pedestrian could not stay aside, I am concerned about the problems of air pollution in the city. As a citizen and artist, I think that animation can be very efficient tool, both fun and attractive, to promote non-motorized transportation modes. Also it is important to remind people about the basic safety rules, so they treat their city more responsible and smart and care about its ecology. Therefore I decided to contribute into the information campaign of the CAST project.” With the assistance of Akimat of Almaty the cartoons can be seen on LED-displays in the metro, in public transport,  Read More

Improving the Quality Control System of the Lighting Market in Kazakhstan

29 Jan 2015

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BY DINARA TAMABAYEVA  Public Relations expert with the UNDP/GEF project “Promotion of energy efficient lighting in Kazakhstan” Today, the lighting market has changed significantly. When we go to the store, it’s not only incandescent lamps we can buy; in fact, these kinds of lamps are becoming obsolete. Their purchase and production are already banned in Kazakhstan by the law “On energy saving and energy efficiency,” which came into force on July 26, 2012. This law states that incandescent bulbs of 25 watts and above are banned in the country. Now, energy efficient lamps are represented mostly by luminescent and light-emitting diode (LED) lamps. The latter are becoming more and more popular in view of their rapid technological development and their price adjustments. Apparently, these days, LED technology is the priority technology to be promoted in the field of energy efficient lighting. However, while transferring to the best energy efficient lighting technologies, we should first check if those technologies are of a good quality. So how can we protect ourselves against poor quality, black market or fake products? In order to protect the national lighting market, there should be an institution that can verify the quality of lighting products: a laboratory legally  Read More

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