ASTANA – Leaders of the Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan and officials of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, among others, discussed the interaction of civil society and the green economy, EXPO 2017 and the State Programme of Accelerated Industrial and Innovative Development at the Nov. 15 session of the sixth Civic Forum in Astana.
“One of the key issues here is the green economy, which has been widely discussed since 2012. That was the first year our head of state mentioned the creation of a common energy community and the serious challenges and dangerous consequences,” said Artur Platonov, vice president of the Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan, opening the section.
Saltanat Rakhimbekova, first vice president of the Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan, noted that the green economy should not be discussed as an abstract subject, but that it should be actively promoted within the population with the help of the Ministry of Environment and Water Recources.
“If the population is interested in the green economy, this transition will happen. Some projects in the regions are already quite developed. The use of wind and solar energy are being implemented. With the right support, the involvement of business structures in these directions will have a more definite shape,” Rakhimbekova said.
Vice Minister of Environment and Water Resources Bektas Mukhamedzhanov said that it was difficult to provide enough funding for environmental projects.
“Most of our green projects have been internationally supported. In the country, a number of workshops in the regions have attracted great interest from the population. The Parliament does a great job in increasing social standards. It is difficult to provide a sufficient volume of funding for the projects,” he said.
He also noted that Kazakhstan is a huge country with a large gap in living standards, water quality and other indicators, and that it was necessary to launch national projects to be equally implemented in all localities. Regulatory acts are currently being elaborated, he said, and would later be funded and implemented, following the standard process. He also said the state should provide access to information about this process, as well as guarantee Internet access.
Mukhamedzhanov also commented on the tension between environmental and economic costs in a country with an overall goal of improving living standards and growing the economy.
“The environmental questions at the moment go together with economic issues. It sometimes seems that there is a need to explain that green technologies are expensive. Renewable energy is much more expensive, but we are entering the stage where the price of energy starts to go down. We should think about the mechanisms of compensation and subsidies: what mechanisms should we use and what will we get from them?” he said.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Kazakhstan 2050 strategy includes a mandate to increase energy output from solar and wind power stations.
Draft recommendations were considered at the session and later discussed at the general discussion of recommendations elaborated at all the panels.