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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Kazakhstan Explores Carbon Farming, Sustainable Land Management | Mirage News

IIASA

As opportunities for foreign investments and international linkages for Central Asia grows, it provides a great window of opportunity for Kazakhstan to scope new means to revive its unused lands. In November, the Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) program showcased its preliminary findings on scaling carbon farming prospects in Kazakhstan in the capital city of Astana.

Kazakhstan is a country with enormous land use potential with over 270 million hectaresof land spanning across mountains to seas and deserts to forest steppe. However, the potential of vast regions of land has been hindered by severe degradation caused by both natural and anthropogenic factors. Almost 57 million hectares of land is considered degraded which impacts the lives of 4.3 million people, that is, one-third of the country’s population (UNCCD, 2023). ↗ Furthermore, with 30% of the population tied to the agricultural sector alone and 45% of the population residing in rural areas, Kazakhstan’s economy as well as the welfare of its citizens is greatly intertwined with land-use (US International Trade Administration, 2022).

Carbon farming is one of the key methods for agricultural sectors to achieve mitigation whilst also improving land quality. Practices such as low or no-tillage, planting cover crops, and planting grasses with high carbon absorptions all contribute toward increasing the soil organic carbon stock (SOC), a critical determinant of higher soil quality. Implementation of such carbon farming practices could restore degraded lands and, in the process, restore ecosystems and improve welfare of local communities relying on land use for income. Trading carbon removal credits generated from carbon farming worldwide could also provide incomes for farmers and reinvestments for local communities facing severe threats from drought and climate change across the country.

IIASA alongside the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Center ↗ and the TALAP Center for Applied Research ↗ conducted roundtable discussions in the A ↗stana International Financial Center (AIFC). Michael Obersteiner, Director of the Environmental Change Institute ↗ at the University of Oxford, and Principal Research Scholar in ASA presented the key findings of ASA’s upcoming report Carbon Farming in Kazakhstan: Unlocking an Opportunity which discusses the prospects and challenges of implementing carbon farming in Kazakhstan. The report, set to launch in December 2023, will provide a comprehensive tailoring of current scientific understanding of carbon farming and trading to the context of Kazakhstan and Central Asia. The upcoming report will conclude phase I of project CAMEA ↗ which focuses on exploring the feasibilities of nature-based solutions for carbon removal in Central Asia and Eurasia.

The Contribution of Working Group III to the 4th Assessment Report the IPCC ↗ highlights the importance of soil sequestration methods and agricultural mitigation to combat climate change and emphasizes its potential synergies with sustainable development policies including social and environmental co-benefits. In line with this, Elena Rovenskaya, Program Director at ASA and Pradeep Monga, Senior Adviser in ASA, and former Deputy Executive Secretary at United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), ↗ also presented on the importance of developing nature-positive mechanisms of climate adaptation to improve prosperity to local communities with a focus on women and youth welfare. The event hosted virtual contributions from Barron Orr, Chief Scientist at UNCCD, on the environmental restorative co-benefits of carbon farming in Kazakhstan.

Overall, the discussion highlighted the potential commodification of carbon sequestration systems and Eurasia’s pivotal role in hosting trading platforms. The emphasis on the long-term scope of carbon sequestration motivates phase II for CAMEA to persist in its research, aligning with its ambitions for increased international integration and policy impact.

To see our presentation for the discussions in Astana, click here ↗.

To watch the Inaugural Conference from October 2022, click here. ↗

Read in detail about our discussions from October 2022, click here. ↗

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) might be of the point-in-time nature, and edited for clarity, style and length. Mirage.News does not take institutional positions or sides, and all views, positions, and conclusions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s).View in full here ↗.

Michael Maren
Michael Maren
Former marine biologist who likes to spend as much time in the tropics as possible, due to a horrible time I once had in Alaska. Brrrr.

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