Integrating economic mechanisms for boosting carbon storage in Central Asia
The management of natural resources has been the centre of much attention in the Kyrgyz Republic for the last 20 years. Since the collapse of Soviet central management and years of economic and political uncertainties, the government and non-governmental organisations have steadily moved the country toward decentralised, user-based management of natural resources.
With financial support from the Swiss Re Foundation through the ReSource Award 2011, CAREC developed an innovative project that integrated two economic mechanisms for boosting carbon storage and supplementing incomes in the Chon-Aksuu watershed: a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) scheme and afforestation/reforestation (afforestation refers to the establishment of trees where there were previously none). The PES mechanism developed in the frame of this project was the first implemented in Central Asia.
Most of the project’s activities focused on two types of agriculture: cattle breeding and production of cereals and vegetables. Due to natural conditions in the Kyrgyz Republic, cattle breeding is concentrated mainly in upstream lands (pastures used during summertime), whilst horticultural production covers the downstream lands. These two activities have close links with the water resources provided by the Chon-Aksuu River, that is, drinking water for animals and irrigation water for crops.
A Coordination Committee including buyers, sellers and local authorities was created to transparently manage the fund created in this project. At the same time, to ensure the long-term sustainability of the PES mechanism, protect additional forests in the watershed and create new income sources for locals, the project integrated the PES concept with a Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) scheme.