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Central Asian NGOs received grants under the biodiversity program by CEPF and WWF-Russia

09 february 2021
The CEPF (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund) and WWF-Russia, as regional implementation team for the hotspot, conducted a competitive selection process among civil society organizations for the realization of projects with a budget of 20,000 to 150,000 USD under the Grant program for the Mountains of Central Asia Biodiversity Hotspot.
Participants of the Grant program for the Mountains of Central Asia Biodiversity Hotspot,Tajikistan
Yelizaveta Protas, Project Leader, WWF-Russia in Central Asia: “We have been moving towards this for a very long time, and I am glad to finally announce that all 8 projects selected in 2020 during the first Call for Proposals for Large Grants initiated their activities. We received 47 applications, each of which was interesting and important in its own way, and it was very difficult to make a choice. Now we are looking forward to the first results and news from the field, and we will definitely share the achievements of grantees".

The projects selected for funding in 2020 are:

·       Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK)

Project Title: «Advancing cooperative biodiversity conservation in Kazakhstan’s Dzungaria Ecological Corridor». The project will focus its activities on Dzungaria Ecological Corridor, Koksu, Zhongar-Alatau and engage with Altyn Emel.

·       Association of Nature Conservation Organizations of Tajikistan

Project Title: «Supporting private sector and community conservation co-management in Baljuvon Key Biodiversity Area».

The project will implement in Baljuvon and aim to foster a better partnership between Oxus Holding LLC and local people that would include trust-building through support of people’s livelihoods, and conservation education. The project will expand two forms of sustainable agriculture practice already adopted in the area (i.e. beekeeping and fruit production).

·       Fauna and Flora International

Project Title: «Building capacity to protect Besh Aral’s meadows, marmots and megafauna, Kyrgyzstan».

The project will focus on Besh-Aral State Nature Reserve. It is a Key Biodiversity Area and strictly protected area and the surrounding wildflower meadow habitats. The target area is found within the Western Tien-Shan mountain range (a CEPF priority corridor 9 and a World Heritage Site) and is a vital stronghold for numerous threatened species found nowhere on earth except the Western Tien-Shan.

·       Biodiversity Conservation Fund of Kazakhstan

Project Title: «Improving the management of protected areas of the Western Tien Shan, Kazakhstan».

The Western Tien Shan contains unique forests (walnut, wild fruit, juniper, spruce-fir, broad-leaved and tugai), and is noted for the proximity of contrasting biological communities (boreal and tundra type are located next to subtropics and deserts). The area is under threat from climate change, irrational use of water, fires, poaching, pollution, and deforestation.

The project will aim to work in the following areas: resume the activities of the Regional Committee for the management of the Western Tien Shan WHS; revise national legislation and regulation to improve management of protected areas and the operation of Coordination Councils; raise public awareness; strengthening capacity through training of CSOs and local people to participate in environmental activities. The project will be implemented on the territory of Karatau, Kyzylkol, Arystandy, Turkestan, Ugam, Tolebi, Boraldai, and Aksu-Zhabagly, as well as cover 3 protected areas Aksu-Zhabagli and Sairam-Ugam Nature Reserves, and Karatau Nature Reserve.

·       Panthera Corporation

Project Title:  «Engaging communities to safeguard rural livelihoods and cultivate conservation partnerships in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan».

The project's activities will be concentrated in four landscapes in the Pamir and Turkestan Ranges.

These landscapes are:

1.         Turkestan-Alai Mountains of Batken Oblast, Kyrgyzstan; Kadamjay District, Surmatash Nature Reserve; Lyailak District, Sarkent National Park.

2.         Zighar, Darvaz District, Tajikistan.

3.         Tajik National Park.

4.         Zorkul Strict Nature Reserve, Shorkul Lake and Tajik National Park.

This project will aim to reduce the likelihood of human-wildlife conflict (in particular the snow leopard) and other unsustainable threats. The project will propose to engage the communities via household interviews and participatory modelling workshops. These community engagements will establish co-created knowledge of carnivore and prey species distributions and a shared understanding that enables conditions for future conservation. The project will contribute to build long-term snow leopard and wildlife monitoring capacity via mentoring and training in study design, camera deployment, data management and statistical analysis; co-creating context-aware conservation knowledge, understanding, capacity, solutions and action together with communities and stakeholders.

·       University of Central Asia

Project Title:  «Conservation and Research of Wild Fruit Species in Western Tian Shan, Kyrgyz Republic».

The project will focus its activities on sites within the West Tian Shan corridor, which encompass 3 countries - Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The project will work in Sary-Chelek, Aflatun-Padyshata and Kara-Alma key biodiversity areas of West Tian-Shan to study and conserve fruit tree species with broad and sparse spatial distribution growing in isolated communities, for which population connectivity is crucial for the species survival.

The project will assume a combination of research, public awareness and development activities based on the organization's research and experiences. The project is designed in such a way that takes into consideration the voices of both men and women and benefits both equally.

·       Wildlife Conservation Society

Project Title:  «Building Multi-Stakeholder Capacity for Co-Management of Wakhan National Park, Afghanistan».

The landscape will provide critical habitats for two of the five priority mammal species listed in the MCA profile: the snow leopard and urial. It also will support the only population of Marco Polo sheep in Afghanistan. These are territories of Pamir-Alai and Wakhan Mountains and Wakhan National Park.

These rare species are at risk from a range of threats including poaching, competition with livestock, disease, and the compounding effect of climate change, which is of particular concern across the MCA.

At the heart of the proposed project is the fact that enshrined in both national PA policy and legislation is the concept of co-management and equitable benefit sharing, with a particular emphasis on engaging local communities in decision-making.

·       Zoï Environment Network

Project Title:  «Supporting effective safeguards at corridor-level in the era of infrastructure boom in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan».

This project will focus on Western Tien Shan key biodiversity areas and corridors, primarily within the Kyrgyz Republic, and partly in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The project will cover the territories of Western Tien Shan and Dzungaria. The project aims will be mapping the challenges and opportunities; dissemination and capacity building; and Network for CSO engagement.

The project is financed by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. Developing the participation by Civil Society organizations in biodiversity conservation is one of the main goals of CEPF.

For additional information please contact
Director of the Central Asian Program Office of WWF-Russia