FRIENDS project team conduct successful mission in Kazakhstan
14 June 2023
Since April 2022, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been implementing a regional project to boost the national capacities of countries to restore forests and other wooded lands, while also strengthening their expertise in preventing degradation.
The “Forest Restoration Improvement for Environmental Development and Sustainability in Central Asia” project, also known as FRIENDS, is being executed in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, under the auspices of the FAO-Türkiye Forestry Partnership Programme (FTFP).
According to the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan, approximately 70 per cent of the country is classified as degraded. Most of the affected areas consist of arid zones composed of saxaul forests, steppes and agricultural land. Land degradation is driven primarily by overgrazing and salinization. In saxaul forests, the main causes of degradation include fuelwood removal, charcoal production and livestock grazing.
In support of the project’s activities, Project Manager Adem Bilgin and FAO Forestry Officer Peter Pechacek undertook a mission to Kazakhstan from 29 May to 1 June 2023, to assess needs for capacity-building initiatives and to visit potential pilot sites for the demonstration of restoration techniques. In addition, a meeting held with the National Project Coordinator (NPC) of the FRIENDS project in Kazakhstan provided an opportunity to update their counterpart on project progress.
Bilgin and Pechacek assessed potential pilot sites in the Akmola region located within the premises of the State Enterprise “Republican Forest Breeding and Seed Centre” nursery. They also inspected potential pilot sites in the Almaty region. Both regions and relevant sites were suggested by the Kazakhstan authorities.
As a result of their visit and assessment, Bilgin and Pechacek confirmed that the project is on course to achieve its objectives. Their mission also contributed to the planning of future activities.
About the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programmes
The objectives of the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programmes are to provide support to ensure food security, rural poverty reduction and sustainable forest management; to combat desertification; and to preserve ecosystems in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and other countries of mutual interest.
Established in 2007, the first phase of the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture (FTPP) has benefited from trust fund contributions totalling USD 10 million, financed by the Government of Türkiye and represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. During the first phase of the programme, 28 projects were implemented in 16 countries between 2009 and 2015.
In 2014, Türkiye and FAO commenced the second phase of the FTPP along with the first phase of the FAO-Türkiye Forestry Partnership Programme (FTFP), with additional funding of USD 20 million, bringing Türkiye’s total contribution to USD 30 million.