The Kyrgyz Republic, despite its small size, has relatively high diversity of species - about % of all known species on 0.13% of the Earth terrestrial. The complex orographical structure and wide-ranging elevations have nurtured highly diverse and endemic biomes, especially rich flora species in the Western Tian-Shan and Pamir-Altai ranges.
The Kyrgyz Republic to conserve unique biodiversity divides protected areas (in-situ) into four categories in corresponding with the objectives of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Category I is called State reserve (zapovednik). There are 10 zapovednik with the combined area of 559,650.2 ha. Category II is national parks to which this nature park belongs. There are 13 national parks including the Khan-Teniri State Nature Park with the total area of 725 139.4 ha. Category III is geological reserves. There are 19 reserves. Category IV is preservation area occupy an area of 301,425.8 ha. Thereby there protected areas in the Kyrgyz Republic cover 581216, ha or 7,7% from country area.
In 2016, in order to safeguard rich diversity, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic set aside 275,800. ha of land in the Central Tian-Shan Mountains region (Ak-Suu region of Issyk-Kul Province) as Khan-Teniri State Nature Park. This Park covers 10 ecosystem types (based on vegetation). There are several rare and endemic plant species, such as Artemisia saposhnikovii, Saussurea karaartscha, Seseli pelliotii, Cuscuta syrtorum, Anemone obtusiloba, Asterothamnus fruticosus, Asterothamnus schischkinii Tamamsch., and Cuscuta syrtorum Arbaeva. The Park also covers critical habitat areas for IUCN Red list wildlife like snow leopard, Pallas’ Cat, argali, mountain weasel, cinereous vulture, saker falcon, bearded vulture, and Himalayan vulture. This is the landmark establishment partly as a result of years of engagement under the UNDP/GEF project, "Improving the Coverage and Management Effectiveness of Protected Areas in the Central Tian-Shan Mountains."
The UNDP/GEF Project “Improving the Coverage and Management Effectiveness of Protected Areas in the Central Tian-Shan Mountains” has been implementing since 2013 to conserve globally significant biodiversity in Central Tian-Shan mountain ecosystems through strengthening the protected area system. The Project will help the Kyrgyz Republic achieve the long-term success of biodiversity conservation programmes, sustainable management and lasting economic viability in and around protected areas. It will also improve the connectivity between new established Khan-Teniri State Nature Park and existing Sarychat-Eertash State nature Reserve in the Central Tian Shan through the designation and effective management of wildlife corridors.
In the framework of the Project special attention has being payed to local communities involvement to decision making process and nature conservation activities. They are being supported in biodiversity-friendly income generating activities that would enable them to observe the modified patterns of land use.
The Project is also expected to make a significant contribution to the National Strategy of Sustainable Development, NBSAP.
Lack of general understanding about protected areas meaning in biodiversity conservation of local communities and local decision makers, poor interaction among stakeholders and authorities was main obstacle in new protected area establishing and introducing ecosystem based approaches in the region.
This best practice addresses Aichi Biodiversity Target one and eleven. They indicates by 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably and expansion of the protected areas.
In the Central Tian-Shan Mountains region, local people have heavily depended directly or indirectly on its resources. The idea of establishing "Khan-Teniri" State Nature Park required considerable efforts in public engagement and cooperation. The Park overlapped with six self-governance bodies. Other bodies such as the Karakol Forestry and the Ak-Suu district public land fund have economic interests in this area. During the initial discussion, the following problems were identified:
- Local communities generally could not understand the importance of establishing the protected area for biodiversity conservation, including benefits and limiting their access to resources;
- Stakeholders and local government officials did not have sufficient involvement and interaction about how nature conservation policy is designed and implemented.
The action taken:
The UNDP/GEF project focused its efforts on improving local communities awareness and knowledge on biodiversity conservation, protected areas management, environmental legislation implementation and the sustainable use of wildlife. These awareness raising campaigns took place at all levels of society (e.g., farmers, residents) in Djety-Oguz and Ak-Syy rayons of the Issyk-Kyl region and lasted for almost two years. During these campaigns parliamentarians, Plenipotentiary representative of Issyk-Kul Province, relevant ministries/agencies, rangers, nature conservation organizations, and research institutions were involved in discussions and negotiations with local communities.
Nine representatives (eight men, one woman) of local communities were selected to become members of anti-poaching team/freelance inspectors. They assisted governmental officials in patrolling in designated areas to fight against poaching and collecting information about biodiversity conditions, including counting the number of wildlife. They also engaged in awareness raising events on biodiversity conservation and protected area management among local residents. These events meant to enhance community's anti-poaching capacity.
This UNDP/GEF Project purchased and provided above-mentioned freelance inspectors with uniforms and equipment (e.g., tent, portable radio set, GPS navigator, binoculars) for monitoring and conservation of wildlife and supported the anti-poaching activities of Biosphere Territory Issyk-Kel rangers. It also targeted young generations. It organized awareness events for young people, including some competitions. Study tours to other national parks were organized for them, local communities, decision makers to obtain knowledge and experiences from other parks.
Participants learned about relevant legislation and its enforcement frameworks for wildlife and flora conservation, protocols to prevent and record violations, counter-poaching actions, fire prevention and biotechnical activities, and environmental interpretation. Staff from the Department on Hunting Resource Regulation and the Department on Forest Ecosystems and Protected Areas in the State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry contributed to developing some of these training modules and delivered lectures.
Additional capacity building trainings, sessions were organized for local decision makers and protected areas staff on systemic thinking for the ecological perspective participatory problem-solving and decision-making processes.
The Project developed very informative outreach materials: short animated film on PAs, posters on biodiversity conservation and PAs management to all level of society and distributed to relevant stakeholders. Atlas on flora and fauna of the PAs in the Central Tian Shan was published. This is the first book about protected area biodiversity of the country with rich illustration and annotation for 300 flora and fauna species.
1. Conducting awareness raising activities to all level of society including media, public, private or other, taking into account interests and needs of the locals in the field of information.
2. Involving local communities into decision making process and nature protection activities.
3. Formal and informal meetings with stakeholders and policy and decision-making practitioners.
4. Organizing focus group discussion.
5. Making amendments in protected areas legislation considering local communities interests in natural resources sustainable use.
6. Implementation of the Alternative livelihood Programme and micro capital grant for developing environmental friendly activities.
1. It is necessary involving local communities into biodiversity conservation and decision making process which is essential for sustainable natural recourses use and sustainable development.
2. It is necessary to involve target audience in the planning of the interventions.
3. Various communication approaches (informal visits, high level officials visits, round tables etc.) can help change local communities attitude to sustainable nature resources uses.
4. There is lack of multispectral dialogs regarding natural resources use.
As a result, the Kyrgyz Republic successfully established Khan-Teniri State Nature Park, its largest and the second largest national park in the Central Asia.
The Advisory Board under Khan-Teniri Park was established. It involves relevant government agencies, local communities, and other stakeholders, including the business sector. The regulations for the Advisory Board was approved by the local communities and decision makers in June 2016.
Multilateral agreements on collaboration among stakeholders and mainstreaming biodiversity in their developments plans (e.g., herding committees, private hunting companies, tour operators, self-local governance, Khan-Teniri State Nature Park) were signed in 2016. For the first time, in this region, a wide-ranging interests gathered and discussed multilateral collaboration opportunities in realizing the sustainable use of natural resources and developing integrated management plans.
Memorandum of Understating has been signed among Department on Rational Use of Nature Resources, Department on Pasture and Department on Tourism for integration of the biodiversity in relevant policy and developments plans and collaboration in policy implementation.
After the establishment of the Park, the alternative livelihood programme has been implementing in target communities. Local communities are receiving micro capital grants for achieve biodiversity-friendly outcomes.