IV meeting of the Club of Young Experts
On March 25, the IV meeting of the Club of Young Experts at the Senate was held under the chairmanship of Speaker Maulen Ashimbayev. The main topic of the meeting was the problems of ecology, rational use of natural resources and sustainable development. The Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan Magzum Mirzagaliyev also listened to the opinions of young experts together with the senators. The Institute of Economic Research was presented by the Deputy Director of the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Forecasting of the ERI, Yernar Serik.
Opening the meeting, the Chairman of the Senate noted that Kazakhstan faces environmental challenges that are characteristic of the whole world: climate change, desertification and land degradation, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, air and water pollution, unauthorized waste disposal, etc. The solution to these problems depends on the active interaction of the state, the civil sector, NGOs, business, concerned citizens and volunteers.
"It is necessary to cultivate ecological thinking and a responsible attitude to the environment among the population. Effective laws are also needed. In this context, the Environmental Code adopted by the Parliament at the end of last year on the initiative of the President of the country is of great importance. Thanks to its standards, new rules of the game are being created in the field of environmental protection," Maulen Ashimbayev said.
Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources Magzum Mirzagaliyev noted that the quality of atmospheric air and the low level of solid waste processing are top priorities on the environmental agenda. The volume of emissions into the atmosphere is growing: in 2020, they amounted to 2.57 million tons, which is more than in 2019 (2.51 million tons). In the field of water conservation, outdated infrastructure, significant water losses, and insufficient incentives for water conservation are problematic.
"Roadmaps for improving the environmental situation until 2025 are aimed at solving environmental problems, providing for the construction of 24 new landfills for solid household waste, reclamation and elimination of contaminated land, construction of 7 new and reconstruction of 12 sewage treatment facilities, as well as the development of a Concept for low-carbon development until 2050, within the framework of which scenarios of decarbonization of the economy will be determined and a package of measures for "green growth" will be developed", - the head of the department emphasized.
During the meeting, the Club's experts made reports, voicing the most pressing issues of the ecology of Kazakhstan.
One of these topics is the attraction of investments in the forest industry and the commercialization of forest landings.
Director of the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Forecasting of the Economic Research Institute, Yernar Serik, having analyzed the situation of desertification of forests and other natural territories of the Republic of Kazakhstan, came to the conclusion:
In addition to climate change, the main cause of desertification in Kazakhstan is the improper use of land.
Intensive irrigation, overgrazing in steppe zones, and deforestation of mountain forests are the main factors of soil extinction. Previously fertile land becomes infertile. Its properties are lost: the ability to retain moisture, the level of ground water. And, most importantly, the vegetation cover decreases or disappears completely.
"According to a study by Chinese scientists, about 76% of the lands of Kazakhstan are considered sensitive to desertification. At the same time, the total area of desertification in Kazakhstan from 2000 to 2015 is about 1,041.04×105 km2, or 3.8% of the total territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan. At the regional level, 26.8% and 23.1% of the desolated territories fell on the West Kazakhstan and Kyzylorda regions, " Yernar Serik said.
One of the most successful and well-known practices to combat desertification is the experience of China-the expert of ERI believes. In November 1978, China decided to create forests-protective strips along the southern outskirts. Currently, the PRC has a government program, according to which every resident over the age of 11 must plant three poplars, eucalyptus trees or any larch trees.
"By 2050, China plans to plant 100 billion trees. If everything goes according to the plan, then in 2050 the forest area of China will increase from 5% to 15% of the total territory of the country," he said.
The director of the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Forecasting is confident that the problem of desertification of the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan with plans to become an agricultural power is one of the main challenges for the Ministries of Agriculture and Ecology.
In this regard, Yernar Serik has developed a package of necessary measures, which will soon be submitted to the branch ministries and akimats.
During the meeting, the participants of the Club of Young Experts also shared their views and recommendations for the conservation of natural resources and sustainable development.
The environmental researcher of al-Farabi Kazakh National University, PhD in Science and technology Ayymgul Kerimrai and the expert on low-carbon development, consultant of Dornier Consulting Gulzhamal Issayeva shared the results of air quality studies in the cities of Kazakhstan and voiced a number of recommendations for solving problems.
Aibek Zhupankhan, an expert on water resources, a doctoral student at the University of Oulu (Finland), spoke about the problems of water resources management in Kazakhstan.
PhD in Water Resources Engineering at Lund University (Sweden) Kamshat Tussupova shared information about global trends in water resources management in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and voiced recommendations for building institutional capacity in the water sector of Kazakhstan.
Maksat Zhabagin, Head of the Laboratory of Human Genetics of the National Center for Biotechnology, made a proposal to create a National Biobank of Biodiversity for the conservation of rare and endangered species of flora and fauna of Kazakhstan.
Summing up the meeting, the Chairman of the Senate noted that the proposals of experts will be taken into account both in the work of the Ministry and in the legislative activities of the Chamber.