Biofin to guard fauna and flora

Aug 1, 2017

Photo Courtesy: Vlad Ushakov

USD 140 million is the annual cost of ecosystem services for the National Park in Chon-kemin - the habitat for unique species of flora and fauna, including snow leopard.

These issues were the subject of attention of financial specialists and representatives of state bodies, who also discussed the possibilities of financing protected areas in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The area of specially protected areas has reached more than 7% of the total area of the country thus far. Despite the increase in Government’s spending on the maintenance of natural areas, there is a need for more sustainable financing of biodiversity.

The results of a recent research called “Economic Assessment of Ecosystem Services of Protected Areas exemplified by Chon-Kemin National Nature Park”, caused a dispute on financing of protected areas at the level of decision-makers. During the meeting with specialists, Deputy Minister of Finance Ulukbek Karmyshakov drew the attention to the need of clear coordination of actions between various sectors for improving the finance system of the use of nature.

“Adequate re-evaluation of environmental costs is crucial in the light of the continuous budget deficit. It might be impossible without proven arguments and visible indicators of biodiversity conservation,” - he said.

The assessment of ecosystem services clearly demonstrates the interrelation of economic and environmental problems, which need to be integrated into development programs, accounting system, legislation and education.

Rakhat Sabyrbekov, author of the research, says the Chon-Kemin National Park provides habitat for various species of animals and provides communities with income by providing ecosystem services, including production of wood, forest products, grazing pastures. Protected areas, in his opinion, also have significant cultural and spiritual value in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The graph below shows the importance of ecosystem services highlighted by sector.

Jazgul Amanova, author of the analysis of State Budget Expenditures for Chon-Kemin Natural Park, indicates an amount of $ 134,000, which is spent annually to maintain managerial functions. The analysis reveals a large gap between the finances spent for conservation and its estimated cost and benefits.

The research also showed that only $ 50,000 of the expenditure are spent using income received from the park, for example, entrance fees, rental fees, sale of seedlings and wood. The state budget for the maintenance of the state and operating expenses received USD 84 000.

This work became possible due to the UNDP Biodiversity Finance Initiative, shortly BIOFIN, which has been operating in the Kyrgyz Republic since 2016. The project operates directly with the environment and finance ministries in countries and supports the assessment of their political and institutional context around biodiversity, helps to analyze current costs, assess financial needs and come up with a financial plan for biodiversity which offers priority financial solutions for country.

Payments for ecosystem services are one of these solutions. They take place when a beneficiary or user of the ecosystem service makes a direct or indirect payment to the provider of this service. The idea is that one who protects or maintains an ecosystem service must pay for it.

Lira Zholdubaeva, Project Coordinator of the UNDP Kyrgyz Republic Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN)

Zhanna Khussainova, Sustainable Development Communication Expert