Green Territories is the Life Network of Central Asia

   Within the framework of parallel events of the conference the side-event “Green Territories is Life Network of Central Asia’ took place. It gathered broad circle of interested people and was devoted to the problems of conservation and sustainable integrated management of an ecosystem, based on the principle of creation of ecological networks (ECONET) as the part of the global eco-network. The states and civil society of Central Asia supported the creation of this global eco-network. The Central Asia Program of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Eco-forum of non-governmental organizations of the Republic of Kazakhstan organized this event. These Eco-networks support conservation of biodiversity, ecological benefits and sustainable development of regions. The purpose of this meeting was to improve the understanding and management of the ‘Green Growth’ conception that was in the focus of attention at the 6th Conference of Ministers of Environmental Protection and Development of the Asian and Pacific region. 
    The complex analysis of biodiversity, ecological regions and social and economic development of the Central Asian countries (the UNEP/GEF/WWF project with the support of state authorized bodies of the Central Asian countries) has become the foundation of the conception and scheme of the ecological network (ECONET) – the life network of Central Asia. The establishment of ECONET with the support of state bodies, private sector and civil society will further ecological effectiveness and ecological sustainability of economic growth together with conservation of everlasting value of life nature.
    The main massage of the Astana Conference is aimed at integration of ecological and economic policy for sustainable and effective development of the Asian and Pacific countries. Along with this, it is very important to introduce the ECONET conceptions into the plans of social and economic development of territories with compulsory consideration of ecological network development in the course of planning and approval of different projects. In particular, if state or private structures are planning to develop the territory, for example, to construct a road or to extract mineral resources, than they need to correlate plans of industrial development of the territory with the scheme of ecological network. Now in the course of economic development first short term economic benefits are considered, but long term ecological consequences are insufficiently taken into account. It can cause economic and ecological damage. The Republic of Kazakhstan offered the Initiative ‘Green Bridge’ – ‘Astana Initiative’ as further development of the Seoul Initiative ‘Green Growth’. This initiative envisages establishment of the system of resources saving, energy efficiency and introduction of renewable energy sources, future acceptance of new interregional and intersectoral cooperation on green and safe development based on the principles of private-public partnership, without destruction of natural foundations of future economy and the life on the Earth.
    53 participants from different countries of the region and international organizations, including representatives of Ministries of Environmental Protection (MOOC), Committees on Forestry and Hunting Economy (KЛОХ), the Regional Ecological Center of Central Asia (РЭЦ ЦА) and non-governmental organizations took part in the event ‘Green Territories is Life Network of Central Asia’ and its discussions. Information and visual materials on the projects of the Central Asian Program of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and ecological community from the Central Asian countries. The aspects of development and implementation of model ecological networks, territorial  nature protection, integration of biodiversity protection problem into the context of social and economic development of territories and the region on the whole and also a number of projects of non-governmental organizations on forest rehabilitation, introduction of gentle land-use methods, ecological education, development of green cities were discussed.
    The participants of the meeting emphasized the following key issues, as a result of multilateral interested discussion:
-    value and importance of practical creation of ecological networks on the foundation of the ECONET scheme developed within the framework of the GEF/UNEP/WWF project. These networks are the foundation of biodiversity conservation and social and economic development of territories with introduction of sustainable forms on nature use and rehabilitation of destroyed eco-systems (pastures, forests) in ecological corridors and buffer zones, that should make up the considerable part of ecological network;
-    importance of optimization of the regional countries legislations with inclusion of norms of compulsory agreement of industrial and other development of territories with the needs of ECONET establishment on the base of  the implementation of complex independent ecological appraisals;  
-    necessity of broadening of the works on ecological education and raising awareness of different layers of population in the field of understanding of  the ecological network conception and its role in increase of sustainability of social and economic development by means of introduction and development of sustainable forms of nature use;
-    the importance of both territory protection of natural complexes for biodiversity conservation and optimization of people living conditions through establishment of ecological networks. This mechanism includes the development of optimal ecological environment of cities and creation of green zones around them on the base of qualified approach to selection of species adapted to local conditions and aggressive city environment.
    The ECONET conception and its model practical implementation are the elements of the Global Assessment of ecosystems and practical consequences of impact on them, raising level of implementation of political obligations of the region’s countries on territorial nature protection for sustainable development and achievement of Millennium Development Goals.

Coordinator of WWF projects for Central Asia
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