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June 2011

WORKSHOP ON “BEST INTERNATIONAL PRACTICES ON ENVIRONMENT FUND MANAGEMENT” TOOK PLACE IN ISSYK-KUL, KYRGYZSTAN

Source: CARNet, 13.06.2011

The workshop was held with support of GEF/UNDP “Capacity Building for Improvement of National Funding for Global Environment Management” project. Top and mid-level managers of republican and local environment funds and agencies, representatives of ministries of finance and economic regulation, as well as independent and international experts took part in the workshop.

The main goal of the workshop was to present and discuss with participants the world practice in environment fund management. An international expert, Jurg Clarer presented the experiences of several countries – Croatia, Poland, Czech Republic and Maldive Islands and in a more detail told about such issues as the project cycle, capitalization and funds management, promotion and dissemination of information, spending strategy of environmental funds resources.

National expert of the project, A. Gorshkova presented information about the environmental funds system of the Russian Federation, funding procedures of environmental activities in the republic of Kazakhstan, as well as environmental funds of Moldova and Belarus.

This workshop has become a logical follow-up of the previous project activity which focused on identification of fiscal instruments for collection, management and distribution of funds from the environmental pollution charge revenues. Bakyt Satybekov, independent expert:

Very importantly, this workshop gathered all top and mid-level managers, who learned about the world practice in environment protection funds area. This stage of awareness raising is important for better undertsnding of best practices and realization of what can be applied in our conditions. For example, we can start from a detailed study of the polish Fund, which was established as part of writing off the country debt for environment protection – similar process is now launched in Kyrgyzstan.

It is also necessary to clearly prioritize environment protection areas, which can be funded by environmental funds. This, first of all, will help understand of what can be done, second, it will make the fund activity more transparent. To provide transparency of selection process of applications for funding, the selection procedure should be clearly stated and here we can use the experience of Polish Fund on project cycle management.

Another important point, which I would like to stress is that we should effectively manage the assets of the Fund, using for example different kinds of deposits. Then we can get a real benefit from funds management, which are accumulated from the environmental pollution charges.

Abdykalyk Seitkaziev, Head of Batken Environment Protection Fund:

“Personally, I got a useful information on the work of Russian, Belorussian and Moldavian environment funds. What we have to do now is taking into account nuances we should use the best practices here in our country. Also, I think, we should reform the Fund structure to improve their activity”.

Djekshenbek Rysbaev, Lead specialist of Business Department, Ministry of Economic Regulation:

“Ecology is very important for Kyrgyzstan and life itself demands from us that we should pay more attention on environment. I think this workshop was timely and needed because we learned about the practice of organizing environment fund work in other countries. Especially, I like the practice of Poland and think it should be studied thoroughly as we are also starting the process of debt for environment swap”.

CLIMATE CHANGE-RELATED WATER SCARCITY TO AFFECT FOOD PRODUCTION

Source: FAO, 13.06.2011

The world will increasingly experience water scarcity for agriculture as a result of climate change, a phenomenon that will affect the livelihoods of rural communities and the food security of urban dwellers, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a survey released on 9 June.

The impact of climate change on the availability of water include reduction in river run-off and aquifer recharges in the Mediterranean and the semi-arid areas of the Americas, Australia and Southern Africa, regions that are already showing signs of water stress, according to the FAO survey entitled "Climate Change, Water, and Food Security."

In Asia, large areas of irrigated land that rely on snowmelt and mountain glaciers for water will also be affected, while heavily populated river deltas are at risk from a combination of reduced water flows, increased salinity, and rising sea levels.

The findings of the survey also show that an acceleration of the world's hydrological cycle is anticipated as rising temperatures increase the rate of evaporation from land and sea. Rainfall will increase in the tropics and higher latitudes, but decrease in already dry semi-arid to mid-arid latitudes and in the interior of large continents.

A greater frequency in droughts and floods will need to be planned for, but already water scarce areas of the world are expected to become drier and hotter.

The report points out that even though estimates of groundwater recharge under climate change cannot be made with any certainty, the increasing frequency of droughts is expected to encourage further exploitation of available groundwater to boost production for farmers.

Loss of glaciers, which support around 40 per cent of the world's irrigation, will eventually have an impact on the amount of surface water available for agriculture in key producing basins.

Rising temperatures will lengthen the growing season in northern temperate zones, but reduce the length almost everywhere else. Increased rates of crop moisture loss will also result in reduced yields.

"Both the livelihoods of rural communities as well as the food security of city populations are at risk," said Alexander Mueller, the FAO Assistant Director General for Natural Resources. "But the rural poor, who are the most vulnerable, are likely to be disproportionately affected."

The FAO report recommends that countries implement effective systems for "water accounting" thorough measurement of water supplies, transfers, and transactions to inform decisions about how water resources can be managed and used under increasing variability.

"Water accounting in most developing countries is very limited, and allocation procedures are non-existent, ad hoc, or poorly developed," according to the survey. "Helping developing countries acquire good water accounting practices and developing robust and flexible water allocations systems will be a first priority."

At the farm level, growers can change their cropping patterns to allow earlier or later planting, reducing their water use and optimizing irrigation. Yields and productivity can be improved by shifting to soil moisture conservation practices, including zero- and minimum tillage. Planting deep-rooted crops would allow farmers to better exploit available soil moisture, FAO recommends.

Mixed agro-forestry systems also hold promise. The systems both sequester carbon and also offer additional benefits such as shade that reduces ground temperatures and evaporation, added wind protection, and improved soil conservation and water retention.

ISSUES OF EFFICIENT WATER MANAGEMENT DISCUSSED IN ASHGABAT UNDER UNECE AEGIS

Source: Turkmenistan.ru, 13.06.2011

The Turkmen capital hosted a seminar titled “Improvement of legal and institutional framework of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea”. It was organized by the Economic Commission for Europe and the Ministry of Water Economy.

The seminar is part of the programme of UNECE and the German Society for International Cooperation “Regional dialogue and cooperation on water resources management.” It was attended by water management and agro-industrial experts of Turkmenistan as well as a number of international experts.

The meeting focused on building positive cooperation between regional countries, further development of the international legal framework for monitoring and management of water resources.