Kazakhstan will join the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Mapping Nature for People and Planet project along with Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Uganda, the UNDP reported in Kazakhstan. The unique pilot project will transform the way the local governments use spatial data to tackle conservation and sustainable development.
The UNDP selected the pilot countries based on their commitment to the UN’s evidence-based management of natural resources plan and the availability of spatial data on biodiversity in their respective countries. Pilot countries also demonstrated a willingness to refine the use of decision support tools to map intact and restorable natural capital, biodiversity, and ecosystems; and to share these results with the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Finally, pilot countries were selected for their geographical and environmental diversity. The four other pilot countries are all tropical countries, so the UNDP is enthused to include Kazakhstan’s unique ecosystem into the project.
The Kazakh government is paying special attention to the conservation of the country’s biological diversity. Kazakhstan is the largest country in Central Asia and the ninth largest country in the world. It has many rivers, lakes, mountains and forests with a diverse natural environment for flora and fauna. There are 155 species of mammals, 480 species of birds, 150 species of fish and approximately 6,000 species of plants.
Initially, the scientists and environmental policy experts of UNDP, the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources, University of Northern British Columbia, and National Geographic Society with the financial support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will work to identify Kazakhstan’s essential life support areas (ELSAs) to create so-called “maps of hope” in the near future.
Then, the final ELSA map will show areas in pilot countries that together conserve critical biodiversity and provide humans with essential ecosystem services. These action maps will show where protection, restoration, and sustainable management of nature can support the achievement of countries’ policy targets.
The project will also create an interactive tool that can enable dialogue across sectors by showing trade-offs and synergies between different priorities.
“The priority objective is to support countries to use spatial data to identify actions, support planning efforts, and inform policy and management decisions that contribute toward achieving the emerging post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and other key international climate and sustainable development commitments, said UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan Yakup Beris.
In its turn, this data will help policymakers and land managers identify actions, support planning efforts, and inform policy and management decisions that contribute to key international climate and sustainable development commitments.
On a global scale, the results of the project will be used to monitor and report on countries’ progress to implement the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The UNDP has implemented 10 biodiversity conservation initiatives in Kazakhstan with financial support from the GEF as well as through grants with the Kazakh government since 2004. The contribution to the conservation of globally significant ecosystems of Kazakhstan amounted to more than $29 million.