Biodiversity in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is endowed with enormous diversity of mountain ecological systems and a great diversity of species. The country is particularly known for its very high rate of mushroom endemism; more than 120 of its over 5000 species of mushrooms are endemic. Kazakhstan is also known for its very rich fossil flora and fauna, some of which are among the oldest and date back to about 420 million years. More than five percent of the country’s land surface is under protected area.

Kazakhstan’s biodiversity is constantly under threat from habitat destruction due to urbanization and the extraction of mineral resources, poaching, hunting, pollution, and unsustainable agricultural practices. Rare hoofed animal populations, and many other species, have continued to decrease despite improved protection practices.

Nagoya Protocol and ABS Implementation

The Republic of Kazakhstan has been a Party to the Nagoya Protocol since September 2015 and the country has about 10 pieces of legislation relating to the management of biodiversity. The National Strategy and Action Plan for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity has been under implementation since 1999.

Other documents include the Strategy of Kazakhstan 2050, the National Policy for Development, the Concept of Innovation for the Development of Kazakhstan, and the Concept of Transition to Green Economy, etc. However, these documents cannot support effective implementation of Access to genetic resources and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) and there is no proper ABS legal framework with provisions for traditional knowledge and involvement of local communities.

Current UNDP-GEF ABS Project Activities

In Kazakhstan, the UNDP-GEF Global ABS project is helping to stimulate national research, access to research outputs of other parties, cooperation, monetary and non-monetary benefit-sharing, education and technology transfer. The project is supporting the development of a legal framework with appropriate laws, guidelines and other provisions that would simplify ABS implementation at all levels. Support is being provided to revise the draft law on flora and fauna, which was developed in 2010, and to develop new laws or amend existing ones in the context of the Nagoya Protocol.

The project is supporting awareness-raising and training activities to increase understanding of ABS and the Nagoya Protocol and elicit support for implementation. It is supporting efforts to conduct a feasibility study and a pilot database that will include traditional knowledge associated with the most valuable genetic resources as part of the national information system or Clearing House. Another pilot being considered is the development and use of commercial ABS contracts.

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