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Project Activities

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT 

Our project aims to improve the advisory capacities of private and public service providers (e.g., agricultural extension services, industry associations) on environmentally sustainable resource use. With the help of trainings or peer to peer coaching, we advise across various sectors such as agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, eco-tourism, and livestock on different levels from individuals to entire organizations. In addition, our project develops innovative cross-sectoral consulting and information packages on sustainable resource use in the Aral Sea region. 

As an example, we offer training programs to strengthen the skills of planning officers on the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the use of earth observation as well as other digital planning tools. The GIS training modules cover i.a. water management, land management, hydrology and forestry. For this our project closely works with the Reiner Lemoine Institute (RLI) to conduct module-based GIS training courses. As part of the GIS training, we have organized a GIS study tour to Germany for Uzbek and Kazakh partners for an advanced workshop at RLI, to participate in a conference on GIS, and to visit the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The newly acquired skills and relationships with their peers allow our partners to have stronger collaborations and enhanced use of GIS in their daily work.  

Furthermore, our project collaborates with the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Together we set up a GIS laboratory at the Agrarian University in Nukus as well as a geoportal solution for an enhanced results visualization and analysis. The DLR conducts satellite data processing of Landsat and Sentinel-2 optical imagery to derive different base products for further applications and planning activities. These products consist of several maps mirroring an up-to-date land cover situation as well as evolution of abandoned crop land, development of natural vegetation and bare soil in the regions around the Aral Sea and its dried seabed.  

These maps were first used to support the selection of potential sites for Artemia cultivation and for the assessment of sites selected for different afforestation measures. The final maps will cover the entire area of our project and contribute to regional cross border activities. 

ECOTOURISM TRAINING WITH FOCUS ON SUDOCHYE LAKE

October 13 – 15, 2022, Nukus, Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan | ECO-ARAL in collaboration with German consultancy company Mascontour organized a three-day ecotourism training with participation of local tour operators, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Heritage of Karakalpakstan, rangers and officials from the protected areas as well as other tourism stakeholders. The eco-tourism training offered by ECO-ARAL led by Mascontour consultants Prof. Nicole Haeusler and Martin H. Petrich and aimed at using the Sudochye Nature Sanctuary as a showcase for designing

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PILOT POND FOR ARTEMIA CULTIVATION IN CHIMBAY

September 01 – October 06, 2022, Chimbay, Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan | ECO-ARAL in partnership with the State Unitary Enterprise “Aral Artemia Prom” under Khakimiyat of Muynak district of Karakalpakstan and BVBA Sorgeloos4Aquaculture company led by Prof. Patrick Sorgeloos from University of Ghent, Belgium set up the first pilot pond in Uzbekistan for sustainable cultivation of Artemia. To provide technical support for the new pilot pond ECO-ARAL invited Mr Huynh Thanh Toi from Can Tho University (CTU) in Vietnam. ECO-ARAL in close

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Measures FOr ecologically oriented resource use

 

 

The ECO ARAL project implements measures for ecologically sustainable resource use in the Aral Sea region.

The Aral Sea region has been facing increasing challenges for decades with unusable soils and water shortages. Highly saline soils are no longer usable for conventional agriculture. Challenges that require new ideas. Our project provides innovative ideas and approaches to transform supposedly unusable natural resources into economic prospects.

For example, our project is introducing ecologically friendly Artemia cultivation in Uzbekistan. Where hardly anything else survives, Artemia also known as brine shrimp feels at home. Artemia is primarily used as feed in fish farming. Currently Artemia still persists in the remaining Aral Sea, where it is being collected for export. But the quantity and quality are continuously decreasing due to the decline of the Aral See and the ever-increasing salinity. It is only a matter of time before the current business model runs dry in the coming years.

Our ECO ARAL project showcases the transition to a new business model, by cultivating artemia in environmentally friendly constructed earth ponds. The saline soil and water, unusable for agriculture and humans, thus become an important resource in Artemia cultivation. Higher yields and improved quality should contribute to higher incomes and help Karakalpakstan position itself more strongly in the global Artemia market.

The project organized a study tour to Thailand with representatives from government and academia and have sent Uzbek professionals to Vietnam for an extensive training program on ecologically friendly pond construction and Artemia cultivation. We have contracted one of the leading Artemia specialists in the world to conduct multiple missions in Karakalpakstan which resulted in findings and reports crucial for developing a thriving Uzbek Artemia sector.

All findings are being compressed in an Artemia info-package to present service providers, beneficiaries and decision-makers a new and ecological way for constructing earth ponds and to cultivate Artemia in an environmentally friendly way.

GROUNDWATER ANALYSIS ON THE DRIED BOTTOM OF ARAL SEA

During the period from May to August this year, groundwater analysis was carried out on the Aral Sea dried bottom of (ASDB). The study was conducted in the Kazakhstani part of the ASDB and included desk and field work on the study and mapping of climatic, soil and hydrogeological conditions with determination of the depth and quality of groundwater, mapping of environmental risk zones in order to identify the most favourable areas for reclamation. At the first stage of the pre-field studies, the available hydro-geological maps of the coastal zone of the former Aral Sea were collected, mapped and analysed.

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CROP DIVERSIFICATION FOR INCREASING THE ECONOMY AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE SOIL QUALITY IN THE ARAL SEA REGION

March 11, 2022  Since 2021 ECO-ARAL in partnership with ICARDA implementing a project on crop diversification and saving irrigation water by laser guided levelling the land and scaling. The objectives of the partnership include: –  Identifying the type of crop that is more profitable amongst cotton, winter wheat, spring wheat, mungbean, chickpea and pea – Improving soil health with legume in the rotation – Improving human nutrition at lower cost – Capacity development in mungbean seed production To implement the activities on fields five farmers in Karakalpakstan and five farmers in Khorezm region are selected for piloting purpose. From the

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Policy Advice

All our efforts, pilots and implemented measures translate in policy advice to our political partners in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

For example, in the forestry sector, our project has developed a series of maps (soil, vegetation, hydrogeology and climate) of the dried Aral seabed on the Kazakh side. Based on the maps we designed recommendations on the potential for afforestation measures. Decision makers can use the maps and recommendations to strategically plan afforestation and other measures (e.g., ecotourism routes, pasture restoration), which, in turn, may assist in combating desertification, land degradation, preserve biodiversity, and improve the livelihood of the people that live in these areas.

Our project has also supported a delegation visit of the Forestry Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Kazakhstan part of the dried Aral Seabed. We organized a bilateral meeting to exchange experiences and determine the direction of further cooperation and collaboration between the two countries. During the visit the intergovernmental Roadmap on “Joint forestry cooperation activities: 2021-2022” was signed between the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Forestry and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Together with other two GIZ projects, Integrative Land Use in Central Asia and Green Central Asia, our project is providing exchange visits and policy dialogues between staff of protected areas from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. All three countries share protected areas among their borders. The exchange and dialogue strengthen the collaboration across borders to protect wildlife and biodiversity.

NATIONAL DIALOGUE ON STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT IN KAZAKHSTAN

April 25-28, 2022, Nur-Sultan, Kyzylorda, Aktau | The new Environmental Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan effectively reflects the mechanisms and regulatory tools based on the experience of the OECD countries. One of such mechanisms implemented in the Environmental Code of the RK is a strategic environmental assessment (SEA). ECO-ARAL plans to pilot SEA of Kyzylorda and Mangistau provinces in order to promote sustainable development of the Aral Sea region. In cooperation with the Association of Environmental Organizations of Kazakhstan and International Financial Center “Astana”, project held consultations with representatives of the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of

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Water experts

IMPROVING WATER USE EFFICIENCY IN THE ARAL SEA REGION

ECO-ARAL project jointly with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) are conducting a study on improving water use efficiency in the Aral Sea region. On March 14-17, IWMI experts held a series of meetings in online and offline formats with representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan, EcoEnergy LLP, GREENDEM LLP, ProLine LLP, as well as with financial institutions Agrarian Credit Corporation and Fund for Financial Support of Agriculture. During the meetings the experts discussed issues related to water management in irrigated agriculture, land degradation, salinization and waterlogging, water productivity and others. Also, measures of state support to crop

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