7 June 2021, Nur-Sultan - In honor of World Environment Day in Kazakhstan the UN in Kazakhstan announces a media contest for Kazakhstani journalists " Change for Climate in Kazakhstan". The contest aims to raise awareness about climate change in order to put the topic on the public agenda, inspire and encourage people to find climate solutions.

The UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 promotes the achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, including the eradication of poverty, hunger and aims to invest in initiatives to restore many hundreds of thousands of ecosystems around the world, political support, and technical capacity in both the public and private sectors. The climate emergency facing humanity today requires adequate and immediate action. In particular, there is an urgent need to bring the global temperature increase down to 1.5 degrees Celsius in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Efforts to combat climate change by countries, companies, or citizens can benefit not only our planet but also human health and well-being.

Journalists and bloggers are invited to participate by submitting an article of up to 800 words in the print and online media of Kazakhstan that will raise awareness of the threat posed by climate change to Kazakhstan and suggest possible solutions to mitigate or adapt to the effects of climate change.

UN Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan Michaela Friberg-Storey noted: "Science tells us these next 10 years could be our final chance to avert a climate catastrophe, turn back the deadly tide of pollution, and end species loss. With this contest, we want to motivate people to find new, out-of-the-box solutions to restore ecosystems and raise environmental awareness."

The first, second, and third place winners will receive valuable prizes worth USD 2,500, USD 1,300, and USD 800, respectively. The first-place winner will have the opportunity to attend COP 26 in Glasgow in November 2021 if the COVID-19 pandemic situation allows physical participation. Also according to the results of the competition, the authors of the best 10 articles will receive certificates on behalf of the UN in Kazakhstan.

"For many years, the United Nations Development Programme has been a key partner of the Government of Kazakhstan in the issues of biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. Since 2004, with financial support from the Global Environment Facility in partnership with the Government of Kazakhstan, UNDP has implemented 10 large-scale biodiversity conservation initiatives, helping to protect unique nature and globally significant ecosystems of the country," said Yakup Beris, UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan.

Despite a temporary reduction in emissions due to the pandemic, this century the Earth is approaching global warming of at least 3°C, more than 1 million of 8 million plant and animal species are threatened with complete extinction, and pollution-induced diseases have caused some 9 million premature deaths annually.

"The UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration will succeed if people unite as communities, as nations, and as a global movement. Each of us has a role to play, from politicians giving political impetus to change, scientists developing scientific solutions, business community transforming into green production, and youth and civil society, whose voice must be heard more loudly in the call to change the way we think about and value nature," stressed Aidai Kurmanova, Head of UNEP's Subregional Office for Central Asia.

2021 is particularly important in view of the upcoming meetings of the climate and biodiversity conventions, where governments must set mutually reinforcing and ambitious targets to protect the planet by almost double decreasing greenhouse gas emissions this decade, as well as through biodiversity conservation and restoration.

Details of the contest rules available at:

https://kazakhstan.un.org/en/130263-media-contest-change-climate-kazakhstan

Entries must be submitted in PDF or DOC format to contest@changepr.kz Applications will be accepted from World Environment Day (5 June) until midnight CET on 31 July 2021. For extra inquiries contact number: +7 727 272 05 09; cell: +7 707 638 97 74.

For more details please contact Press Officer of the UN in Kazakhstan Ms Elnara Bainazarova, tel: +7 701 9400086, e-mail: elnara.bainazarova@un.org.

 

Background information:

·       Ecosystem degradation already affects the well-being of at least 3.2 billion people - 40% of the world's population.

·       About USD 10 trillion of global GDP could be lost by 2050 if ecosystem restoration services continue to decline.

·       Given the current concentrations of greenhouse gases and their ongoing emissions, it is very likely that by the end of this century the average global temperature will rise by 1-2 C compared to 1990 levels. The average air temperature in Kazakhstan will increase by 2-3 C by 2050, and by 3-6 C by 2090.

·       Between 1880 and 2012, the average global temperature increased by 0.85 C. On average for Kazakhstan, the rate of increase in average annual air temperature for the period 1976-2016 is 0.35C/10 years.

·       Over the past 60 years, the glaciers of Kazakhstan have lost about 45% of their area. The rate of degradation of glaciers by area averaged 0.75% per year in Kazakhstan over the period from 1955 to 2015.

·       Approximately 30% of natural freshwater ecosystems have disappeared since 1970. In the plain river basins of Akmola, Karaganda, North Kazakhstan, Kostanay, Atyrau, West Kazakhstan, Aktobe, Mangistau regions, water resources tend to decrease by 3.7% - 15% by the middle of the century, and by 9.2%-23.7% by the end of the century.

·       Degradation of lands can reduce world food productivity by 12%, resulting in a 30% increase in food prices by 2040.  In Kazakhstan, if the current culture of farming is maintained, the yield of spring wheat will decrease by 13-37% by 2030, which will lead to a reduction in the harvested area by 23-81%, with direct economic losses in the sector amounting to 456.93 billion tenge in prices of 2019. And by 2050 wheat yield losses will be 20-49%, which will lead to losses of gross output in the sector to 608.19 billion tenge in 2019 prices.

·       Degradation of ecosystems can increase human-wildlife contact and is associated with disease outbreaks and the spread of pandemics. Most of the effects of climate change will persist for several centuries, even if greenhouse gas emissions cease completely.

More information on the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration: https://www.decadeonrestoration.org/

UNEP report "Making Peace with Nature": https://www.unep.org/resources/making-peace-nature

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