State of Environment
Despite the cooperatively small area, Kyrgyzstan has a wide geographical, landscape and habitat variety, which affects the variety of biodiversity. The ecosystems in Kyrgyzstan are represented by high mountain ranges, fertile valleys, and large freshwater systems. Biodiversity resources are significantly affected by the mountain landscape.
During last 10 years Kyrgyzstan has encountered environmental problems caused by the inefficient use of natural resources, especially forestry activities, cattle breeding and activities of the local communities. All these have resulted in the degradation processes and the deterioration of the natural ecosystems and have consequently decreased the number of some species of economic significance. There are several globally significant species, recorded in the Red Book, including 1 species of fish, 8 species of birds, 14 species of mammals, and 70 species of plants. The total area of Kyrgyzstan is 20 mln hectares, 53% which are agricultural lands, 45% - pastries, 4,2% - forests, 6,8% - arable lands. Since 1930 the forested area has decreased from 6% to 4,2%. Due to water and wind erosion, salting and swamping, 40% of arable lands are degraded . These problems strongly affect the welfare of the local population.
Large industries also present a threat to environment, due to the use of outdated technologies that do not consider the environmental aspects. The cause of environmental damages and the decrease in the biodiversity of resources has resulted in the decrease in welfare of the local population. In addition, due to the fact, that the mountain areas play important role in the formation of water systems, Kyrgyzstan is an integral part of the regional environmental, economic and social development process.
Industrial recession during last 10 years has resulted in a decrease of GHG emissions from fixed sources. Due to the lack of local and imported mineral fossils, the energy sector is mostly based on hydro power plants, especially during the winter season. On the one hand this facilitates the reduction of industrial GHG emissions and on the other hand it causes a problem due to the lack of irrigation water, especially for the countries with insufficient water resources, but who are rich in mineral resources. The main source of air pollution is caused by motor transport.
There are more than 230 mining facilities in Kyrgyzstan, that produce more than 620 mln cubic meters of toxic wastes per year, including radionuclids, heavy metals, cyanides and acids. These mining facilities are located on the small area of the country. The most harmful are Mailuu Sulu, Kumtor, large mercury producer – Haidarhan, Stibium producer – Kadamzhai, Chauvai, Sumsar, Shekaftar, Aktyuz, Kadzhi Sai, Minkumi and others. Insufficient environmental efforts of the mining companies significantly damage the natural environment.
Kyrgyzstan has ratified 9 international environmental agreements in the area of biodiversity conservation, climate change, and desertification. In May 2000 Kyrgyzstan ratified UNFCCC. Despite that Kyrgyzstan is not part of the first list of participant countries, it has supported the Kyoto initiative on the establishment of the global CO2 market.
The Government and NGOs strongly support national and regional environmental initiatives. Kyrgyzstan became a member of UN Commission on Sustainable Development and signed the Issyk-Kul and Nukus Declaration (1995), demonstrating support of the SD concept on a global scale and in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan is an active member of regional institutions and actively participates in Aral Sea initiatives and sustainable development in the region. Kyrgyzstan joined the initiative of UNEP and UNDP on REAP, which allowed the implementation of the sustainable development action plan in Central Asia.