Environment and climate

Central Asia is one of the regions globally most strongly affected by climate change, experiencing extreme weather conditions such as desertification, flash floods, droughts and wildfires. These pressing issues are coupled with hard hit ecosystems following the Soviet era in which these were heavily exploited as well as climate and environmental issues being of low priority to the Central Asian governments.

The effects of such dire changes are vast, ranging from jeopardising food security, biodiversity and sustainable peace. Nearly 60% of the Central Asian population live in rural areas and are dependent on agricultural productivity. A loss of such results in reduced food production and thereby also putting them at risk of food insecurity. A large proportion of the rural population consists of women and they are at a higher risk of food insecurity as the prevalence of traditional ownership norms prevents women from owning land or influencing agricultural production practices. Countries in Central Asia also experience high levels of biodiversity loss and in extension permanent damage on the region’s ecosystems and more severe effects of extreme weather.

The three aforementioned factors extreme weather conditions and loss of biodiversity result in increased food insecurity, unsustainable livelihoods and thereby also increased propensity for inter- and intrastate conflicts, which can already be witnessed in various border and land conflicts in the region. Climate change and environmental degradation poses risks to the fragile peace in post-conflict areas, the vulnerable democratic structures in Central Asia as well as human and food security, livelihoods etc.

Thematic goals

  1. To support initiatives to protect and conserve the environment, preserve biodiversity and restore/repair degraded ecosystems in Central Asia.

  2. To promote climate adaptation approaches, build ecological resilience and facilitate sustainable livelihoods among vulnerable Central Asian communities.

  3. To revive ecological values, identities, cosmologies and practices among Central Asian communities and the wider general public.

  4. To raise awareness about climate change, ecocide and other environmental issues, including possible solutions, to a wider general public in Central Asia, Sweden and beyond.

Activity examples

  • Piloting women-led permaculture initiatives in 5 villages at the shore of lake Issyk-kul, Kyrgyzstan, as a holistic approach to dealing with biodiversity loss, climate change, community health, gender inequality etc.
  • Established systems for monitoring biodiversity in hot spot areas such as lake Son kul, central Kyrgyzstan.
  • Hosted residencies in Kyrgyzstan with climate activists and organized a series of lectures / workshops about climate change, ecocide and relevant ecological issues to southern Kyrgyzstan and Osh city.
  • Contributed to developing methodology about the intersections between ecology and masculinity norms, and implemented pilots based on these topics in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Contributed to developing content on the website Klimatprata and co-organized trainings on its themes (everyday resistance, discursive climate tactics and activism)
  • Organized lectures and webinars about the intersections of climate and gender – how the climate crisis affects men, women, urban and rural populations in Central Asia differently.
  • Organized hearings with the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs about sustainable use of natural resources, ecosystem restoration and improving children’s education on climate change in Central Asia.
  • Established a network of grassroots CSOs, activist groups and platforms in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Russia working with ecology from a variety of perspectives.