Tim Scott, UNDP Policy Advisor (New York) and Program Manager for Inclusive Green Economy. Photo: personal archive

The Kyrgyz Republic is a landlocked country in Central Asia with a rich natural heritage. This is a mountainous region where the economy is largely driven by agriculture, mining, and hydro energy. Kyrgyzstan has an average level of human development. in recent years, the unemployment rate has been falling and is currently 8%. However, for an economy that is heavily dependent on agriculture (about 40% of total employment) and its natural resources, non-use of land poses a serious threat to the health of the economy, its population, and the environment.  

The Government is determined to reverse the trend of environmental degradation and take advantage of opportunities for economic growth that will be comprehensive and sustainable. There are opportunities for growth in these key sectors (low-carbon energy, organic agriculture, ecotourism, energy-efficient construction, and mining). With the simultaneous support of efforts in this area and the preservation of natural ecosystems, this tendency of economic development promises to be successful. 

Building a Green Economy is one of the most important development goals of Kyrgyzstan in the near future. What is a Green Economy? Why it is needed and how much it can cost the government, told us the PAGE Focal point - Tim Scott.

– The green economy is primarily about tourism, energy, new jobs creation, clean water, and the country's long-term transition to more sustainable development. This is the relationship between man and nature. Kyrgyzstan wants to switch to a more ecological, more useful model of development.  

Is it more expensive to build a green economy than a classical model of economy?

– That's a good question. But instead of thinking about how much the green economy will cost today, we need to think about how much cheaper it will be in 10 years.

How do we reduce the impact of non-eco friendly machines in the enterprise? 

– Perhaps the Kyrgyz people think that it is too expensive to buy eco-friendly electric cars, and the Government should spend too much money on building infrastructure for them. However, in 5-10 years, all these costs will pay off. Everyday life in Kyrgyzstan needs to be transformed into a more eco-friendly way. We should immediately begin the transition to a Green Economy, and not wait for the classical model of the economy to improve. It's a long process. Many believe that it is too early or too expensive for Kyrgyzstan. In fact, the earlier you start, the faster the transition will take place. Hydropower is an important sector of the Green Economy. For Kyrgyzstan, it is a very profitable way to switch to a cleaner energy method. The green economy is also a meaningful consumption of resources that exist in a particular country. In a green economy, everyone should know their role, both the Government and NGOs, and the country's citizens.

How to overcome the crisis faster with the help of a Green Economy? Do you have any recommendations?

- Increase resilience to external shocks by investing in sustainable infrastructure and enhancing public health and environmental protection; 

Strengthen and expand inclusive social protection mechanisms and promote human rights; Accelerate the transition to energy supply and address the issue of fossil fuel subsidies; Target small and medium-sized businesses to accelerate the private sector's transition to greener practices; and Enhance global cooperation and coordination to respond more effectively to other global crises.

Tim Scott works for UNDP in New York as a Senior policy Adviser and UNDP PAGE Focal point. Today, he shared with us his views on an environmentally friendly system, the advantages and risks, and the need to introduce a green economy in the country. 

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