ASTANA – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provided radio equipment to the Semei Ormany State Forest Nature Reserve on July 19 to improve safety and productivity, UNDP in Kazakhstan announced.
In cooperation with the Forestry and Wildlife Committee of the Kazakh Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and with financial support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), 220 analog portable radio stations, 110 car radio stations, and 150 car antennas were delivered at the request of the Semei Ormany State Forest Nature Reserve.
According to the committee, as of Jan. 1, forests cover 5% of the state’s land area, with a total area of 13.6 million hectares. The total area of the Semei Ormany State Forest Nature Reserve is 654,179 hectares.
One of the current challenges faced by personnel in protected areas is the poor quality and lack of communication due to the geography, challenging terrain, size, and remoteness of protected areas.
Radio stations play a crucial role in this context as they are sometimes the only means of communication between staff and the central office, especially when patrolling the vast and inaccessible areas of national parks and responding quickly to emergencies.
UNDP collaborates with environmental organizations to address critical areas, such as improving the quality of monitoring and conserving forest ecosystems and biodiversity.
“UNDP systemically supports the Kazakh government in developing sustainable agriculture and forestry, establishing a network of protected areas, strengthening the material and technical base, and training staff in modern technologies that increase management effectiveness and monitoring of natural areas and planning of environmental activities,” said Sukhrob Khojimatov, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Kazakhstan.
Material and technical support to environmental institutions plays a crucial role in ensuring effective coordination and security that contributes to sustainable management and conservation of natural resources.
Since 2018, UNDP has provided 14 protected areas and eight forestries in Almaty, Zhetisu, East Kazakhstan, and Turkistan Regions with small forest firefighting complexes, patrol vehicles, backpack fire extinguishers, specialized firefighting equipment, high-pressure fire extinguishers, fixed and portable radios, all-terrain vehicles, drones with additional accessories, and other equipment.
“We are striving to increase the country’s forest area to 5.3% of the total area. Many projects have been implemented with UNDP to preserve the country’s biodiversity. Over an area of more than 5 million hectares, 14 specially protected natural areas have been created and extended – areas where valuable biodiversity is concentrated. Now we are working on improving normative legal acts regulating the issues of protection of forests from fires. In particular, it is a revision of the current norms on the availability of equipment and machinery to implement measures for the protection and defense of forests in the areas of the State Forest Fund. This is now a priority task for us,” noted Daniyar Turgambayev, deputy chair of the Forestry and Wildlife Committee.
In addition, a methodology for satellite monitoring of wildfires based on remote sensing data has been developed. This methodology includes techniques for determining the coordinates of fire locations and obtaining up-to-date information for decision-making on fire suppression methods. It also facilitates assessing access to transportation infrastructure and enables detecting and monitoring wildfires using satellite imagery.
UNDP’s efforts in Kazakhstan also feature capacity-building activities for staff of environmental institutions, including training seminars for forestry workers to upgrade their skills to detect and monitor forest fires using remote sensing data, learn how to use drones to identify fire-prone situations, and assess damage in the event of a fire.