Sixth National Report
Section I. Information on the targets being pursued at the national level
Section II. Implementation measures, their effectiveness, and associated obstacles and scientific and technical needs to achieve national targets
Measures taken for meeting the national target to educate businesses and people and develop their environmental culture
The Concept of Transition of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Green Economy declares the need to update the existing curricula and develop new ones on the rational use of resources and protection of environment in education and training system, that goes in line with the Aichi Target 1.
To that end, the general education course “Ecology and Sustainable Development” (90 hours) has become a core component in the standard curricula of all areas of study. Since 2013 the following topics have been included in the standard course curriculum: “Economic aspects of sustainable development. Green economy and sustainable development. Water resources management”, “Eco-energy. The strategy of global ecological energy sustainable development in the XXI century. Renewable energy sources”. As they study these topics, the students look into dependence of economy on environment, the aspects of green economy and sustainable development, comparability of production and natural potentials, natural resources management, eco-energy, strategic water resource of the XXI century, and water management.
In 2014-2016, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan developed 10 professional standards for 20 areas of study related to water and land protection and use. In 2017, 4 professional standards were developed for the areas of “Water Management”, “Fishery” and “Forestry”.
An important contribution to the development of environmental culture among population was made by EXPO-2017 international exhibition held in Astana in June-August 2017. The exhibition displayed the latest generation of energy-efficient technologies and evidence of how and why they must be applied. EXPO-2017 focused on the idea of personal responsibility and personal involvement of everyone in the elaboration and implementation of a sustainable plan for production, distribution and use of Future Energy. The World Congress of Engineers and Scientists WSEC-2017 “Energy of the Future: Innovative Scenarios and Methods for Their Implementation” was organized under the auspices of EXPO-2017 along with many other events.
People’s awareness on biodiversity values and measures they can take for its conservation and sustainable use is raised by the Committee for Forestry and Wildlife of the RK Ministry of Agriculture and its subordinate organizations, PAs, natural resources and environmental management departments of oblast akimats and municipal state forest management institutions, private forestry enterprises and community conservation organizations. Information on biodiversity values is communicated to the public through Visitor Centres at PAs, mass media, social media, round-table discussions and fora, leaflets, billboards, press walls, information boards and websites of environmental institutions. The CFW website is a component of the national CBD clearing-house mechanism.
Museums of nature have been created in all PAs, except for those established this year (2018). Visitor centres are available in 6 PAs. School forestry units operate in state forestry and environmental institutions; they annually organize and carry out environmental activities: “March for Parks”, “Zhassyl Zhapyrak”, “All-Nation Tree Planting Day”, “Earth Day”, “Plant Your Tree”, “Green Kazakhstan”, etc.
Order No. 93 of the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated February 13, 2015 approved the Media Plan to cover implementation of the Concept of Transition of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Green Economy for 2015-2016. A series of events was organized in line with the Plan to cover the Concept implementation progress in a systematic and effective manner (publication and broadcasting of image promotion analytical articles, interviews, memos, detailed publications and overviews, round-table discussions, etc.).
The press office of the RK Ministry of Agriculture liaises the CFW with mass media – radio, television and the web – to share impartial information on biodiversity conservation in Kazakhstan. The press office also prepares and circulates official press releases, statements and other information materials on biodiversity conservation and posts them on the official website of the Committee; organizes and holds press conferences, briefings, round-table discussions, meetings with community representatives and the media on conservation of biological diversity; collects and analyses materials on biodiversity delivered by the public and published in mass media.
Nearly all international projects implemented in Kazakhstan feature educational and awareness-raising components where training materials and programs are developed, and various workshops, round-table discussions and conferences are held.
A number of educational materials and programs to be used throughout the education system, from schools to universities, have been developed within the scope of the joint GEF/UNDP/Kazakhstan Government project “Improving Sustainability of PA System in Desert Ecosystems through Promotion of Biodiversity-compatible Livelihoods in and around PAs” (the Desert Project). Specifically, a comprehensive master program was launched in two national agrotechnical universities to train 16 specialists majoring in PA management annually. To that end, standard training modules were prepared and approved at the national level in 5 areas: research and monitoring, protection of natural sites, environmental education and ecotourism, PA management, financial and administrative management.
A supplementary environmental education course for years 6, 7 and 8 was introduced in 4 pilot schools in 3 Desert Project areas (Ili-Balkhash, Aral-Syr Darya and Usturt) and in Astana. The course is designed to provide additional knowledge on biodiversity of desert regions of Kazakhstan. A study guide for secondary school teachers has been developed and printed in Kazakh and Russian languages. 128 natural science teachers from 3 regions and the capital of Kazakhstan have attended training seminars on introduction of this new course in their schools.
For wider public and stakeholders’ information the BIOFIN project has produced a film on the aspects of biodiversity financing in Kazakhstan in Russian and English languages, as well as the relevant publications. The project deliverables were presented to the general public and stakeholders at the final seminar, and over 50 people learnt the details of the resource mobilization plan. New economic mechanisms and resource mobilization, the issues of biodiversity financing were discussed with mass media in the “green café”. This event is designed to build journalists’ capacity and extend their knowledge of sustainable use of ecosystems and biodiversity.
In 2014-2017 a training module with interactive applications for eight (8) methods of ecosystem services valuation was developed within the scope of the project “Improvement of the Decision-making Process through Introduction of Mechanisms of Economic Assessment of Fulfilling National Obligations under Global Environmental Agreements” and adopted by two institutions of higher education for introduction in the curriculum of graduate students majoring in economics and environmental management. The module was developed on the basis of economic assessment of ecosystem services in the Ili-Balkhash Natural Reservat. It was tested during a training session where over 20 representatives of Kazakhstan universities and research institutes acquired new knowledge on the methods of ecosystem service assessment. The project outcomes were presented to mass media in the “green café” where the issues of natural resource valuation in decision making were also highlighted. This event is designed to build journalists’ capacity and extend their knowledge of sustainable use of ecosystems and biodiversity. In total over 700 representatives of research organizations, government authorities and private sector gained new knowledge and built their capacity at workshops and training sessions on economic assessment of ecosystem services over the period of the project implementation.
Despite the lack of data disaggregated by gender in international project reports both men and women actually took part in the events. This is confirmed by information collected in a focus group with the Desert Project female beneficiaries, based on analysis of mass media materials and biodiversity workshops participants’ lists.
The UN recommends to purposefully increase education funding and allocate at least 4% to 6% of GDP to education needs in order to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4. Since 1991, in Kazakhstan this figure has averaged 3.8% of GDP annually. Whereas the GDP share of expenditure on secondary education in Kazakhstan is comparable to OECD (2.1% and 2.2%, respectively), expenditure on pre-school, technical and vocational training and higher education is three times lower than in OECD countries.
According to OECD experts Kazakhstan education needs to improve training of highly skilled professionals. They suggest going beyond formal education, improving management and building up professional skills with due regard to small and medium businesses development. Everything noted above applies to environmental education too.
So far, the issue of streamlining of the list of available sources and finding ways to search for information from individual sources, approach to further processing of information and ways to ensure accessibility and identify problems resulting from lack of access to information hasn’t been settled. It is very important to identify risks associated with reliability of individual sources. This justifies the need for an efficient mechanism – the Inter-Agency Information and Analytical Centre.
A special system accumulating and processing information for strategic decision-making has to be developed to enable the use of available information. An important aspect of information and support system development for strategic decision-making is the analysis of current management accounting tools in the context of information gain for strategy formulation and implementation.
The most effective biodiversity conservation mechanisms are development of an information and scientific support system, raising awareness of government and community representatives in the field of conservation and sustainable use of bioresources, ensuring public involvement in resolution of the relevant issues. Achievement of the above targets requires, first of all, a full-scale awareness campaign designed to communicate the topics of ecosystem conservation and sustainable use of bioresources to everyone without exception, from an ordinary man in the street to a government official. A matter of priority is the relevance of information and its reliability.
Contemporary landscape features a vast variety of social, religious, and national peculiarities within different groups of population; predominance of consumer’s attitude to nature, focus on the use of natural resources, low biological literacy rate and lack of understanding of biodiversity conservation importance; rapid change of public opinion in the context of social and economic reforms.
1) to develop people’s environmental culture;
2) to foster a responsible and proactive civic stance in the field of biodiversity conservation;
3) to promote humane attitude to wildlife and enhance environmental ethics;
4) to improve people’s biological and environmental literacy, enhance environmental knowledge of decision-makers, use environmental management methods and technologies conserving biological diversity.
1) to promote the need to conserve biological diversity in mass media;
2) to enhance environmental and biological education of population;
3) to raise awareness on the state and threats to biodiversity;
4) to support environmental initiatives.
The following actions have to be taken for effective information support:
1) organize and hold press conferences and awareness campaigns on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, speeches and television programmes;
2) produce and distribute visual media like booklets on safety arrangements in environmental institutions and utilization of areas with wild plants and wild animals habitats added to the Red Book of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
3) produce popular-science films about nature for different age categories with due regard to people’s social status and broadcasting them in cinema and on TV;
4) develop online promotion projects;
5) post information on conservation and sustainable use of bioresources, develop incentive and educational programmes on environment for boys and girls, green model engineering, websites with content on activities of environmental organizations, availability of tourist and environmental routes, promotions offered by PAs;
6) develop a network of “green schools” (school forestry units) and ensure their functioning, raise environmental awareness of young men and women through development of “green schools”, ecological tourism, “green routes” and ecological trails.
Since biodiversity protection measures have far-reaching consequences for all people living in the Republic of Kazakhstan, it is important to raise public awareness to facilitate their active voluntary involvement. The level of public awareness on biodiversity in Kazakhstan is not high enough; poaching and illegal collection of flora and fauna objects still happen here.
It is essential to enhance involvement of various stakeholders, including local communities, in the PA management process. A mechanism of mutually beneficial cooperation between PAs and local population are Community Councils facilitating effective resolution and prevention of conflicts arising from simultaneous use of nature and its protection in the same area.
The purpose of Community Councils is to facilitate direct public participation in decision-making process in the field of environmental management and nature conservation. Thus, Community Councils enable people to avail themselves of the opportunity to contribute to resolution of issues that directly affect their lives, while PAs have better chances to enlist people’s support in PA management and development. Community Councils significantly reduce the risk of making a mistake, build local government capacity and nurture an active civil society.
Areas of PAs interaction with local communities:
1) sustainable (ecological) tourism development;
2) promotion of local social and economic development;
3) social planning, contribution to democratic foundation of local government;
4) preservation of nature and cultural heritage;
5) revival of traditional folk culture;
6) rational use of nature and local environmental safety.
Fulfilment of all the above measures and completion of the Aichi Target 1 is also subject to adequate funding.
Measures taken for meeting the national target to integrate ecosystem services economic assessment into the national sustainable development policy
A vulnerable spot of today’s Kazakhstan ecosystem management practice and policy in the context of green economy is valuation of ecosystem services, inadequate natural capital accounting in the country's GDP. The situation is aggravated by a number of barriers, such as lack of qualified specialists, inadequate funding, etc. Yet transition to green economy can’t be effective without natural capital valuation.
Kazakhstan’s biodiversity and ecosystems create high economic values for many sectors of the country’s economy and stakeholder groups. Diverse landscapes featuring forests, mountains, pastures, grasslands, rich fauna and flora, soil conservation, carbon dioxide capture are the values whose contribution to economy is not less than that of direct consumption resources.
Many plant species growing in Kazakhstan are known for their healing properties and used in pharmaceutical industry or as traditional remedies. In order to secure this important additional value populations of such plant have to be conserved in PAs, including those plants whose healing properties are known, but they are not yet in commercial production, and those that will develop properties of interest to medicine in the future.
Therefore, PAs are an important and productive estate streaming these economically important ecosystem services. Kazakhstan network of protected areas is of economic value for the population, business and industry in adjacent areas, national economy and even the global community; it enables gain of individual income, creates jobs, generates government profits and supplies raw materials used in production.
Pilot valuations of ecosystem services were undertaken in Karkaraly National Park and in Ili-Balkhash National Natural Reservat when its establishment was planned 2017. The study of Karkaraly National Park assessed the annual value of ecosystem goods and services flows (tourism and recreation, CO2 uptake, forest by-products, pastures, water supply) at 12,935 million tenge or 86.2 million US dollars (2012 exchange rate) . This amount is just a small part of the true value of the national park, which is very difficult to estimate in the first place. Ili-Balkhash Reservat valuation process covered 11 ecosystem services: carbon sequestration in forest ecosystems, soil protection, redistribution of precipitation, medicinal herbs, wildlife resources, maintenance of hydrological regime, fish resources, water resources, tourism and recreation, hay, carbon sequestration in pasture ecosystems. The total value of ecosystem services in the base year (2015) amounted to 25.8 million US dollars - over four times the size of capital investments required for the reservat establishment and development .
PAs valuation is particularly important for preparation of PA feasibility study (TEO) and management plan, as well as for decision-making process in various investment projects affecting protected areas, migration routes, animals, birds and plants habitats. Existing assessment tools for bioresources and ecosystems like EIA have to be improved.
Economic assessment can also play an important role in calculation of tariffs for PA’s paid services. It can ensure that the set prices reflect the real (however, not full) value of provided goods and services, and can also serve as means of obtaining accurate prices and market demand data.
In the future, economic assessment of ecosystem services will help: 1) determine the benefits derived from natural ecosystems in monetary terms, (2) estimate the share of natural capital in the country’s GDP, (3) determine and account for economic value of natural resources in the state cadastre of flora and fauna objects, PAs and forests, (4) draw the baseline of PAs funding and justify budgetary funding, (5) identify additional sources of environmental activities funding, (6) evaluate the benefits of establishment of new PAs and expansion of existing PAs, (7) set up an adequate PES system, (8) improve management practices, (9) identify potential users of natural resources posing a threat to biodiversity and ecosystems, and engage businesses and local communities in environment protection activities.
In 2014-2017 the joint GEF-UNDP-Kazakhstan Government project “Improvement of the Decision-making Process through Introduction of Mechanisms of Economic Assessment of Fulfilling National Obligations under Global Environmental Agreements” was implemented in Kazakhstan. The following activities were carried out within the project scope to develop natural resource valuation tools with a view to integrate assessment of bioresources in EIA.
Kazakhstan environmental legislation was reviewed for compliance with international commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification and Land Degradation, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context;
Recommendations were prepared on the basis of international experience for integration of ecosystem services valuation methods into the EIA and TEO processes under development projects;
Methodological approaches were developed for estimation of greenhouse gas absorption and emission by forest and pasture ecosystems;
Methodological framework for cadastral valuation of plant, forest, fish and wildlife resources was analysed with a view to increase the value of bioresources, and a set of proposals for its improvement was forwarded to the Committee for Forestry and Wildlife of the RK Ministry of Agriculture;
Methodology of damage assessment to forest resources as a result of fires and illegal logging was revised and proposals for its improvement were forwarded to the CFW. The Scientific and Technical Council of the authorized body approved adjustments in assessment of compensation for damage to forest resources as a result of illegal logging and fires and amendments to the rules for setting base rates for forest use;
A draft concept on integration of natural (biological) resources valuation into ecosystem and biodiversity management practices was prepared with a view to change current bioresource assessment tools in their entirety;
Recommendations on integration of bioresources valuation and related obligations under the Rio Conventions into the country policy were developed on the basis of a pilot valuation of ecosystem services in Ili-Balkhash Natural Reservat.
The project assessed the carbon sequestration potential of Kazakhstan forest and pasture ecosystems and produced trend forecasts for greenhouse gas emission reduction by forests in three periods: (1) 2016-2020, (2) 2021-2025, (3) 2026-2030. Recommendations on sustainable management of pasture and forest ecosystems were prepared.
As a project outcome a proposal to include the term “forest ecosystem services” in the Forest Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan was approved by the Law on amendment of certain legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on flora and fauna dated June 15, 2017.
Unfortunately, Kazakhstan decision makers rarely look at ecosystems from an economic point of view. This important economic aspect has not been given the consideration it deserves by economists supplying figures for policy- and decision-making, financial planners calculating and allocating the budget, businesspeople and individuals whose economic activities affect the protected areas. In this regard, Kazakhstan needs international assistance to study the present situation and implement the Aichi Target 2.
At present, Kazakhstan environmental legislation does not contain any norms on allowance for the value of bioresources in environmental impact assessments and feasibility studies under major investment projects, or mechanisms for negative impact compensation. This gap is a key factor contributing to unsustainable use of bioresources and necessitates further activities in this area.
Measures taken for meeting the national target to reduce subsidies to industries consuming natural resources
Review of subsidies to economic sectors creating effect on the state of biodiversity in Kazakhstan shows prevalence of subsidies harmful to biodiversity.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev, speaking at a plenary session of 2016 Astana Economic Forum, said: “We must move away from protectionism and subsidizing of traditional energy. Economic growth must be based on the development of clean energy and the preservation of environment. The universal implementation of the Paris Agreement is important. According to international agencies, achievement of its goals will not only slow down global warming, but will also give a boost to the world economy by 20 trillion US dollars or 27%. Millions of new jobs will be created along the way” .
Meanwhile, traditional energy subsidies continue to take a significant share of the state budget. Subsidies to agricultural production and export are also high. The most harmful to biodiversity are subsidies for the purchase and use of pesticides in agriculture causing direct death of most insects and soil organisms, and indirect harm to birds, amphibians, reptiles and even mammals inhabiting the treated and adjacent areas.
Pursuant to the State Program for the AIC Development, the main focus of agricultural rehabilitation is government financial assistance rendered in the form of direct subsidies, as well as financial rehabilitation, loan insurance and underwriting for financial institutions, investment subsidies, funding of second-tier banks, designed to facilitate agrarians’ access to financing. Government assistance creates favourable conditions for the development of business in rural areas, facilitates private investment in the industry, increases the efficiency of allocated budgetary funds. All this will contribute to increase in labour productivity in agriculture, crop yields and production rates.
The principle of subsidies has changed since 2016. The Ministry of Agriculture declared the pre-existing payments per hectare of arable land were inefficient and cancelled them. Now the budgetary funds will be mainly allocated for purchase of new equipment (reimbursement of up to 30% of machinery cost and reduced interest rate on leasing) and quality seeds, fertilizers and herbicides.
In 2017, the final rate on loans for spring sowing campaigns was brought down to 6% per annum for end borrowers against 9% in 2016 due to elimination of a number of links in the loan chain.
A list of subsidies with positive implications includes subsidies for beekeeping, aquaculture, maral breeding, perennial plantations of fruit and berry crops granted under the State Programme for the Agro-Industrial Complex Development for 2017-2021. Meanwhile, agriculture lacks biodiversity support subsidies to organic farming and game breeding.
As per article 112-3 of the RK Forest Code positive subsidies in forestry can be granted for development of private nurseries and plantations of fast-growing wood species. However, no actual subsidies were paid for the above activities within the period under review.
Subsidy rules on partial reimbursement of expenses incurred by a subject of agro-industrial complex in the form of investment (Order No. 317 of the Ministry of Agriculture as of 23 July 2018) provide for 25% reimbursement of investments for:
- purchase of equipment and machinery by fish farms with more than 1 million yearlings;
- purchase of equipment and machinery by lake commercial fish with the areas of at least 50 hectars.
On the one hand, development of aquaculture helps to reduce pressure on “wild” populations inhabiting natural water bodies. On the other hand, in the course of aquaculture development in lakes and cages there is a risk to let the fish out of controlled conditions into the natural environment and thereby contribute to introduction of alien species into ecosystems and biological pollution. Kazakhstan has adopted the criteria for assigning fishery water bodies and/or sites to water bodies and/or sites for commercial fishing, recreational (sport) fishing, lake commercial fish farming and cage culture fish farming10, as a legal act.
Maral breeding subsidies. Under the Order No. 3-2/340 of the Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated July 25, 2013 marals (deer) are included in the List of animal breeds to be subsidized on a priority basis in order to ensure pedigree stock (material) availability for domestic agricultural producers. At present, subsidies in the maral breeding industry are paid per head of maral (deer) pedigree stock involved in selection and breeding activities.
At the same time, it is necessary to address subsidies in construction of new and expansion of existing maral nurseries, while purchase of equipment and machinery for animal farming has to be subsidized too.
Rendered assistance will stimulate creation of health centres in picturesque locations in Kazakhstan, attract investment through sale of tourist vouchers, extend the potential of local communities for further development of maral breeding and the use of the industry products in healthcare, education, tourism, physical culture and sports.
Subsidy policy reforms addressing harmful subsidies and support for subsidies having a positive effect on biodiversity and ecosystem trends is an effective economic measure for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems. Along with support of environmental activities cancellation of “negative incentives” increases economic efficiency and reduces budget deficit. Introduction of positive incentives favourable for bioresources contributes to conservation of biodiversity and is an indicator of green economy.
The subsidy scheme provides for phased implementation of the following:
1) Subsidies that adversely affect species, communities, ecosystems have to be included in the list of topics subject to state environmental expert review;
2) The scale of subsidies (their identification and classification by the degree of threat and harm) causing harm to biodiversity has to be recognized following research and analysis with the assistance of international experts, if necessary;
3) The policy of industry subsidy has to be reformed through interdepartmental planning effort;
4) Subsidies having an adverse effect on biodiversity of the Republic of Kazakhstan have to be gradually eliminated;
5) Alternative industry subsidies contributing to conservation of Kazakhstan’s biodiversity have to be enhanced, namely subsidies in private afforestation, creation and maintenance of agro-protective forest stands in agriculture, aquaculture development, effective hunting farms and eco-tourism infrastructure.
The “Zhassyl Damu” programme set a national target to render government assistance to private afforestation, plantations of fast-growing tree and shrub species for industrial and energy purpose, establishment and development of forest nurseries. However, due to lack of adequate budgetary funding, the target was not achieved. With insufficient government support and investment, private afforestation in Kazakhstan is developing at a slow pace – in 2018, the area occupied by private forest fund amounts to 695 hectares.
Measures taken for meeting the national target to move on to green economy
Carbon dioxide, mt/year
Nitrogen oxide (NO), mt/year
Methane (СН), mt/year
HFC (specify in the note), kt/year
PFC (specify in the note), kt/year
Sulphur hexafluoride (SF), kt/year
Cumulative emissions (СО equivalent), mt/year
GHG absorption trends in land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF)
Cumulative RG emissions minus LULUCF (CO equivalent), mt/year
Energy (total), mt/year
fixed combustion sources
mobile combustion sources
Industrial processes and products use, mt/year
Land use and forestry, mt/year
Population rate, people
Cumulative GHG emissions per capita, t СО eq per capita
Country area, 1,000 km
Cumulative GHG emissions per country area, kt CO eq/km
GDP in real terms of 2011 (PPP), billion US dollars