Kazakhstan Highlights Afforestation Efforts at Global Conference

ASTANA — Advisor to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Special Representative on International Environmental Cooperation Zulfiya Suleimenova emphasized Kazakhstan’s commitment to biodiversity and ecosystem preservation, essential for sustainable development, at the first International Conference on Afforestation and Reforestation (CIAR-1). 

Photo credit: gov.kz

Held in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, the conference highlighted Kazakhstan’s achievements, including increasing forest cover from 3% to 5% and expanding protected natural areas to nearly 11% of the country’s territory.

Kazakhstan plans to plant two billion trees by 2027, with 843 million planted between 2021 and 2023. Efforts to restore degraded lands include establishing saxaul plantations on 1.1 million hectares of the Aral Sea’s dried bed and planting 15 million trees in urban areas.

According to a statement from the Embassy of Kazakhstan to Ethiopia, Suleimenova stressed that all afforestation activities in Kazakhstan adhere to scientific recommendations and environmental requirements. 

“A national headquarters has been created to analyze and control these works. Public monitoring of tree planting is carried out using an interactive map,” she said.

On the sidelines of the conference, Suleimenova held bilateral meetings with President of Congo Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Congo’s Minister of Forestry Rosalie Matondo, and Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development, and the Congo Basin Arlette Soudan-Nonault. These discussions focused on bilateral cooperation and international collaboration on issues of mutual interest.

Experts at the conference warned about the catastrophic consequences of uncontrolled deforestation on the climate, the planet, and human health, highlighting the urgency of achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Conference chairman Sassou-Nguesso called on the international community to unite in addressing afforestation, reforestation, and sustainable economic development, emphasizing the importance of preserving forests and biodiversity to combat climate change.

The conference concluded with a Declaration urging the UN General Assembly to include this issue in its upcoming session in New York. Adopting the Global Strategy on Afforestation and Reforestation underscored the vital role of forests in climate change mitigation and sustainable management, aiming to mobilize financial resources and improve access to science, technology, and innovation to support global afforestation and reforestation efforts.

The conference, organized by the Congolese government, the African Union Commission, the UN Forum on Forests, and the African Forest Forum, brought together over 2,000 delegates, including heads of state and government, representatives from regional and subregional political and economic organizations, the global scientific community, international forest, climate and biodiversity organizations, NGOs, civil society organizations, and the private sector.

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