Central Asia: Background Paper on Climate Change

2007/2008 Occasional Paper
By Perelet, Renat

Central Asia (CA), encompassing the newly independent countries - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - is rich in natural resources, most still untapped. Water is the most precious and conflict-prone natural resource in the regions. In Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, large quantities of water are stored in the mountain glaciers. Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have huge and mostly unexplored oil and gas deposits. At the same time, almost half of the population of these countries live in poverty and lack access to sufficient natural resources to sustain their livelihoods, while the countries' wealth is unevenly distributed. Global climate change poses serious threats to the region's environment, ecological and socio-economic systems. Agricultural production has already decreased in some commodity groups and quantities and qualities of water resources are at risk of severe effects of climate change.