Intensive use of natural resources certainly makes a significant contribution to economic growth in the short-term; yet, in the long-term, it will lead to significant negative consequences such as wide-spread poverty and poor health due to polluted air and poor quality of drinking water, lack of food and energy, among others.
The Government of Kyrgyzstan has made various policy efforts to tackle these challenges by focusing on the promotion of green economy principles, reaching and realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through the implementation of sustainable consumption and production (SCP). The country has already emerged as a leader in Central Asia by establishing a strong national policy framework for its transition to a more inclusive green economy. This is also reflected in its National 2040 Sustainable Development Vision, the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, the programme on Stability, Trust and New Opportunities, and the country’s laws on waste production and management, plastic recycling and energy efficiency in buildings.
In June 2018, the Concept “Kyrgyzstan is a country of the green economy” was adopted by the Jogorku Kenesh (Supreme Council). This Concept serves as the inclusive green economy roadmap for the country and lays the foundation for reforms and innovations in several critical sectors including: green agriculture, green industry, green energy, low carbon and environmentally friendly transport, sustainable tourism, green cities, municipal waste management, sustainable finance, fiscal incentives, and sustainable public procurement.
Following this momentum, the EU SWITCH-Asia programme was launched in Central Asia in 2019, and a first multi-stakeholders’ consultation was organised in Kyrgyzstan to coordinate efforts of key players in supporting the country’s ongoing work and promotion of the green economy.
“It is very important to ensure the synergy of all stakeholders, a systematic approach to project implementation and sustainable results. The key point is cooperation with relevant government departments to support the course of national policy towards green economy,” said Carl Frosio, Project Manager at the EU Delegation to Kyrgyzstan.
On 16 September 2020, the Ministry of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic, the European Union Delegation to Kyrgyzstan, SWITCH-Asia team members, and selected experts who will be leading the work in the country on agri-food and energy efficiency in buildings, have gathered during an online event. The preparation of the Framework for the first National SCP Action Plan was also discussed. This will serve as a central policy instrument to ensure economic development, environmental protection, poverty reduction and economy restructuring through SCP tools and the integration of circular economy approaches, also following, the new EU Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP).
In parallel with SWITCH-Asia’s technical assistance provided to the government, this month, three EU funded projects have also been officially launched in Kyrgyzstan:
The EU SWITCH-Asia PERETO project promotes energy and resource efficiency in the Kyrgyz tourism sector and is implemented by the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in cooperation with Unison Group (Kyrgyzstan), Technopolis Group (Belgium), and the Collaborating Center on Sustainable Consumption and Production - СSCP (Germany).
On 9 September, during the launch event, the team presented the objectives, planned activities and expected results of this four-year-long project, and provided an overview of ongoing activities. One of the key objectives is to train 300 small and medium tourism enterprises on energy and resource efficiency and support 50 of them directly to adopt green technologies. An important component of the project is environmental education of the general public and tourists through promoting eco-friendly behaviour in everyday life. The project plans to engage about 300,000 Kyrgyz citizens through different online and offline awareness raising campaigns.
“I hope this project will greatly benefit the tourism sector of Kyrgyzstan. Energy efficiency and the pursuit of sustainable development are priority areas of development not only in the tourism sector, but in the whole economy of our country. The Department of Tourism is ready to cooperate and supports the PERETO project in all its endeavors,” said Kyyal Kenzhematova, Deputy Director of the Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The EU SWITCH-Asia project Promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy production in the community-based tourism sector in Central Asia was also launched on 18 September by ACTED and its implementing partners with the key objective to contribute to the reduction of carbon footprint in the community-based tourism (CBT) industry in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. In Tajikistan, the direct beneficiaries of the project will include at least 40 MSMEs in the green energy sector, at least 105 CBT service providers, governmental institutions, local authorities and government-sponsored entities. The intervention will support MSMEs in the renewable energy, energy efficiency and CBT sectors in their adoption of sustainable consumption practices and will promote access to finance.
The ACTED “Silk Road Community-Based Tourism Initiative: Connecting Central Asian Community-Based Tourism and European Market”, a project funded by the European Union Central Asia Invest V program, was also launched during this event. The project will run from
2020-2023 in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and will involve stakeholders from Turkmenistan. Main objective is to boost investments, private sector development and promote economic diversification by strengthening the community-based tourism (CBT) sector in the Central Asia region.