On May 4, 1995, Kazakhstan ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and became a party to it in August 1995.
On March 12, 1999, the President of Kazakhstan signed the Kyoto Protocol (KP) to the UNFCCC, and on March 23, 2000, the Government notified the UN Secretary-General of its intention to fulfil the obligations under paragraphs 2 (a) and 2 (c) of the UNFCCC under paragraph 2 (g) of the same Article.
On March 26, 2009 Kazakhstan ratified the Kyoto Protocol (KP). On September 17, 2009, the KP officially entered into force for Kazakhstan. At the Conferences of the Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC, Kazakhstan has repeatedly raised the issue of voluntary quantitative commitments under the KP. At COP-7 in Marrakech, Morocco, it was agreed that Kazakhstan will be considered a Party to Annex I to the UNFCCC only for the purposes of the Kyoto Protocol in accordance with Article 1, paragraph 7, of the Kyoto Protocol, as it had submitted a notification in accordance with Article 4, paragraph 2 (g), of the Convention.
Since 2008, Kazakhstan has been conducting a GHG inventory and, as part of the previous GEF/UNDP project, new 2006 IPCC guidelines for national GHG inventories have been introduced (replacing the previous 1996 IPCC guidelines) for the National Inventory Team. This work had a significant impact on National Inventory Reports, as well as on the Inventory Team’s capacity. The GHG inventory in all categories of inventories has been improved, but the project has focused on the most critical category of the LULUCF. An international expert who worked during 2018 studied all the documentation of the National Inventory Team and made recommendations for improving the sector. These recommendations can be boiled down to the following broader categories:
· The flow of data needed for both reporting a national GHG inventory and supplementary reporting under the Kyoto Protocol needs to be ensured;
· The major weakness of current reporting is land representation and a land use change matrix for the entire time series since 1990;
· Transparency of information is needed, especially when country specific data is used in reporting;
· Significant effort is still needed to progress toward enhanced estimation of information for accounting purposes of the Second Commitment Period under the Kyoto Protocol. This effort should have a strong national capacity building component to ensure consistent reporting under the Paris Agreement in line with low emission national development needs.
On December 3, 2011 Kazakhstan has modified its Environmental code, with two mechanisms of regulation of GHG emissions: the distribution of quotas and trade of carbon emissions; both entered into force on January 1, 2013. Rules for trading GHG emissions and carbon units have been adopted.
Quotas Allocation Plan for GHG emissions in 2013 covered the 178 facilities (producing more than 20,000 tons of CO2 per year) in three sectors (energy, oil, gas and coal, chemical industry) and thus covered 55 percent of GHG emissions in Kazakhstan. There was a historical method for the quotas allocation: 2010 served as the basis for the allocation of quotas and accounted for 100 percent of all units of quotas allocated in 2013. According to the plan, 147 909 units were distributed between sectors for free, and another 20 633 635 units were reserved for new and expanding facilities and trade.
The same approach was maintained in the framework of the National Quota Allocation Plan for 2014–2015: on average, the total CO2 emissions for 2011 and 2012 served as a baseline and made up 100 percent of all units of quotas not related to CO2 emission reductions in 2014 and 1.5% reduction in 2015. The National Quota Allocation Plan for 2014-2015 covered 166 objects in the same three sectors.
A similar logic of Quota Allocation was prepared for the next period, but at the beginning of 2016, the GHG emission control system was temporarily suspended.
New rules for National Quota Allocation Plans were adopted on June 15, 2017 and entered into force on January 1, 2018. They envisaged the introduction of indicators based on the best available technologies for quota allocation, and therefore, the Emission Allocation Plan for 2018-2020 was based on the benchmarking method. The new plan covered 225 installations in six sectors (electric power, oil and gas, mining, metallurgy, chemical industry, construction processing (cement, lime, gypsum and brick)), and allocated a total of 485 909 138 units for three years (2018 - 2020) for free and reserved another 35 273 634 units for new facilities, trade in carbon dioxide emissions and some other goals specified in the new rules.
On July 20, 2016, Kazakhstan signed the Paris Agreement (PA) and ratified it on November 4, 2016; the PA entered into force for Kazakhstan on January 5, 2017. On December 6, 2016, Kazakhstan presented its NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) to be achieved by 2030: a 15 percent absolute reduction in GHG emissions across the economy by December 31, 2030 compared to the (baseline) 1990 as an unconditional goal and a 25 percent reduction if additional international assistance were provided to support Kazakhstan's efforts.
Medium and long-term goals of Kazakhstan to reduce GHG emissions were included in a number of strategic and political documents of the country, such as: the Concept of the Transition of the Republic of Kazakhstan to a “Green economy”, the Programme “Energy Saving” – 2020”(currently completed and replaced by another document), the Concept of Development of the Fuel and Energy Complex until 2030, and the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Energy for 2017-2021. The Concept of Transition to “Green economy” sets ambitious goals regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions: to achieve a 15 percent reduction by 2030 in comparison with 2012 and a 40 percent reduction by 2050. The Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Energy indicates the following measures to achieve the NDC in accordance with the Paris Agreement:
1. The GHG emission control system;
2. Increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the energy balance of the country;
3. Modernization of thermoelectric power plants and boilers;
4. Implementation of Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving Projects. Meanwhile, over the past decade (2005-2015) Kazakhstan has increased GHG emissions by 22 percent (excluding LULUCF). Total emissions (including from LULUCF) reached almost 315 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, with the largest share (78.5 percent) of electricity, 9 percent of agriculture, 6 percent of industrial processes, 2 percent of waste, and LULUCF is responsible for almost 4.5 percent of all GHG emissions.
Kazakhstan's agriculture and rural areas, which account for 43 percent of the country's population, are the most vulnerable to climate change and, at the same time, are the least integrated into existing domestic policies and measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It is essential to study the impact of climate change on agriculture and the vulnerability of the rural population, especially women, there is still a need to study the economic sectors and social groups that are most vulnerable to be included in mitigation and adaptation policies, and the empowerment of rural communities, especially women. These issues should be considered and reflected in strategic and political programmes.
To date, Kazakhstan has submitted four National Communications covering seven reporting cycles.
The new project is prepared in line with the GEF-7 strategic focal area on climate change, objective 3 on fostering enabling conditions for mainstreaming mitigation concerns into sustainable development strategies. In addition, project results can serve as a basis for updating country goals and commitments under the Paris Agreement, the UN Convention on Climate Change and other international agreements, including in Kazakhstan’s nationally determined contributions published on September 28, 2015.
Main goals of this enabling activity project
1. Assisting Kazakhstan in meeting the reporting requirements under Article 4 and 12 of the UNFCCC through the preparation of the National Communication (Decision 4/CP.5) and Biennial Reports (Decision 2/CP.17);
2. Assisting Kazakhstan in reporting on greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC (Decision 22/CP.7);
3. Strengthening national technical, institutional and expert capacities for the preparation of NC and BR, including data collection for the National GHG Inventory, taking sustainable mitigation actions, assisting the Government in integrating climate change issues into policies on national development and priority economic sectors.
The project will enable Kazakhstan to prepare and submit the Eighth National Communication (8NC) and two Biennial Reports (BR4 and BR5) to the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC in accordance with the obligations of the Party to the Convention under Article 12 of the Convention and subsequent decisions of the COP. The project will update information on national circumstances, greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and measures taken to mitigate climate change, assessment of vulnerability to climate change and ongoing adaptation efforts, public awareness, education and training, systematic observation and research, attraction and provision of financial resources and technology transfer. The project will also enhance technical and institutional capacity in GHG inventory, GHG emission forecasting, vulnerability assessment and, in general, NC/BR preparation, and assist the Government in integrating climate change issues into sectoral and national development priorities.