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24 August 2020

Cows and mountains

Years in the making, the Program for the Development of Green Economy in the Kyrgyz Republic has been enacted, setting out a strategy and plan to create the basis for the introduction of green economy approaches to the development of the national economy by 2023. The comprehensive and detailed program covers areas including climate change needs, commitments and actions on green agriculture, transport, energy, education, green industry, tourism, waste management sustainable procurement, finance and fiscal policy. The matrix of outcome targets, enacted along with the Program, will facilitate effective and timely monitoring of the Program implementation. 

Cows and mountains

In past decades, like many other countries, the development of the Kyrgyz Republic was aimed at achieving economic growth through an intensive and unsustainable use of natural resources. Yet, it is apparent that continuing along this trajectory to seek economic growth, without taking into consideration ecological and social factors, will be harmful for both current and future generations. The Kyrgyz Republic has therefore altered their trajectory to instead work towards an inclusive, green economy. The Green Economy is understood in the Kyrgyz Republic as “an economy that results in the improvement of people’s welfare and the enhancement of social equity with the concurrent significant reduction of risks for the environment, while conserving and multiplying natural capital, efficiently using resources and incentivizing the conservation of natural ecosystems of the country.” 

This journey began at the 2012 Rio+20 UN Sustainable Development Conference, alongside the conception of PAGE, with the Kyrgyz Republic reiterating its commitment to sustainable development via the promotion of Green Economy principles. The Kyrgyz Republic first joined PAGE in 2016 and in early 2018 the Kyrgyz Parliament adopted the “Concept of Kyrgyzstan as a Green Economy Country”, a first step in the formal policy process assigning the government to development a green economy program. This in turn laid the groundwork for the government to develop the Program for the Development of Green Economy for the country’s inclusive green economy transition, developed jointly with the UNDP Biodiversity Finance Initiative. Approved in November 2019, the Program has now been enacted into force, accompanied by a detailed plan and indicators to monitor progress. 

Integrating cross-cutting issues such as gender and poverty, the priority areas of the Program include: 

  • Stable Natural Ecosystems: Ecosystems, biodiversity and addressing deforestation and climate change issues, as well as mining. 
  • Green Energy: Renewables, energy efficiency, retrofitting, district heating, emissions etc. 
  • Green Agriculture: Rural development, agro-industry, climate resilient and organic agriculture, water, land use. 
  • Green Manufacturing Industry: Chemical, organic and air pollution, waste, resource and energy efficiency, cleaner production. 
  • Low-Carbon and Ecologically Clean Transport: Air quality, public transport, Electric vehicles, infrastructure. 
  • Sustainable Tourism: Community based tourism, pollution, emissions. 
  • Municipal Waste Management: Circularity of materials, reducing emissions from waste burning and dumping. 
  • Green Cities: Access to drinking water and sanitation, utilities, urban infrastructure. 
  • Areas to support the inclusive green economy transition process: Sustainable financing, fiscal incentivization, sustainable public procurement, capacity building and awareness raising. 

The expected results are diverse and ambitious, for example including the introduction of a law on organic agricultural production, increased public awareness on separated waste collection and a 4.5% reduction GDP energy intensiveness 2023, among many others. These outcomes will set into action the transition to an inclusive green economy in the Kyrgyz Republic while also presenting an impressive example for other countries to follow suit. 

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