Conservation of globally important biodiversity and associated land and forest resources of Western Tian Shan to support sustainable livelihoods

Project background:

Western Tian Shan is characterized by a high level of endemism and rich flora and fauna. The region is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. It is one of the 34 global Biodiversity Hotspots and is included in the world Ecoregion rating of Global 200 according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The territory of the Western Tian Shan is inhabited by 27 species of animals that are on the verge of extinction and 54 red book species of plants grow here.

The aim of the project is to promote a landscape approach in the conservation of globally significant biodiversity, sustainable management of land and forest resources in the mountains of the Western Tian Shan.   

The project consists of 3 components:

1. Conservation and sustainable management of key biodiversity areas within the Western Tian Shan landscape;

2. Improving ecosystem resilience and habitat connectivity in the Western Tian Shan through regulation of land and forest use in buffer zones and ecological corridors, and supporting sustainable incomes for local communities;

3. Promotion of regional and global cooperation of Kyrgyzstan to protect the snow leopard and its ecosystems.

Expected Outcomes:

  • Expanded network of specially protected natural areas (SPNAs) in the Western Tian Shan through the support of two new state natural parks, Alatai and Kan-Achuu;  
  • Updated status of high conservation value forests (HCVF) and sustainable forest management involving local communities;  
  • Improved management and conservation capacity of the Protected Areas (PAs) of the Western Tian Shan in the Jalal-Abad oblast, as well as strengthening the management of high conservation value forests;  
  • Strengthening joint patrolling, enforcement and control systems for new and existing PAs;  
  • Identified and designated buffer zones for new SPNAs and wildlife corridors between the relevant SPNAs;  
  • Plans for the development of the Toktogul and Toguz-Toro districts, which are coordinated with the objectives of biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of forests and land resources;  
  • Restoration of degraded pastures important for incomes of the local population and wildlife, including species conservation of the snow leopard, through improved local pasture management plans;  
  • Restoration of degraded forests important for wildlife, including the snow leopard ecosystem;
  • The program of alternative income-generating activities for local communities, developed in conjunction with local microcredit institutions, and launched to support target communities;  
  • Training relevant parties to protect wildlife, aimed at identifying and punishing crimes against wildlife;  
  • Participation of Kyrgyzstan in the Global Program for the Protection of the Snow Leopard and the Ecosystem, aimed at harmonizing and coordinating activities at the national, transboundary and regional levels.

Current achievements:

Awareness raising and environmental education among the population about the biodiversity of Western Tian Shan

  • An eco-campaign called “March for Parks” under the motto “Nature and Youth is One Future” was held in Toktogul district with participation of more than 300 children and young people; 
  • A tour in the Jalal-Abad region with “Ak Ilbirs” staging was organized;
  • The Ten-Day Festival was announced in honor of the International Snow Leopard Day, during which a national ice hockey championship, an environmental exhibition, a student flash mob, a premiere of “Sur-Echki” performance based on the works of Ch. Aitmatov and a promotional event during the World Mountain Forum were held;
  • Informational meetings were held with local communities, screenings of videos and theatrical performances with children, as well as lectures at schools on preservation of the snow leopard and respect for the environment were conducted in Toktogul and Toguz-Toro districts;
  • The image of the snow leopard was recognized as the mascot of the Third World Nomad Games, during which interactions, exhibitions, informational actions and video shows emphasizing the need to preserve the snow leopard population and biodiversity were held in the territories of Kyrchyn and Cholpon-Ata;
  • A new collection of children’s clothing in the form of a snow leopard called “Save Me” was released to attract public attention to preservation of the snow leopard population;
  • The snow leopard became the mascot of the National Ice Hockey Team of Kyrgyzstan, which took part at the Challenge Cup of Asia in Malaysia in December under the slogan “Let’s Save Snow Leopards Together!”;
  • A nationwide essay competition among schoolchildren was held by the State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry (SAEPF) jointly with the Ministry of Education and Science;
  • Public planting was carried out on school grounds in the village of Mazar-Sai, Toktogul district.


 Support for the State Nature Parks “Alatay” and “Kan-Achuu”

The Supervisory Councils were formed for the SNP “Alatay” and “Kan-Achuu”, from among the residents of Kyzyl-Ozgorush and Cholpon-Ata aiyl aimaks of Toktogul district and Atai and Kok-Irim aiyl aimaks of the Toguz-Toro district. Supervisory Councils are formed to create a dialogue platform between the SNP and local communities for open and friendly collaboration. The SNP “Alatay” SC consists of 9 people, 4 of which are women, and the SNP “Kan-Achuu” SC consists of 11 people, 4 of which are also women. 

By an order of the SAEPF assistance was rendered in approving a new “Methodology for assessing the environmental efficiency of protected areas” (Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool -METT). The approved methodology was developed by WWF, which was adapted for use in Kyrgyzstan as part of the project. The representatives of the protected areas of Western Tian Shan have been trained and now they can independently carry out an assessment of the environmental value, significance and effectiveness of their protected areas.

To identify baseline data, the effectiveness of protected areas management was assessed using the METT methodology, which was 21% for the SNP “Kan-Achuu” and 23% - for the SNP “Alatay”. Bringing these indicators above the level of 50% is among the objectives of the UNDP-GEF project.

Guidelines and recommendations have been developed for the SNP “Kan-Achuu” and “Alatay” on financial planning, budget management, financial monitoring, supervision and reporting to increase revenues of the protected areas.

The “Methodology for the forestry management in the protected areas” was developed and approved for the State Institution “Kyrgyzlesoustroystvo” under the SAEPF. According to the results of forestry management works, 4328 units have been estimated, which covered the entire territory of the SNP “Kan-Achuu” and “Alatay”. Moreover, the external and internal boundaries of the SNP “Kan-Achuu” are defined throughout 240 km. 

Joint patrol groups were created for the project protected areas of “Alatay” and “Kan-Achuu” consisting of 20 rangers, 3 women thereof. These groups were formed to improve control over compliance with environmental legislation, rules and regulations in the field of environmental protection and the rational use of natural resources by the local population, and to assist employees and rangers of the SNP “Kan-Achuu” and “Alatay” in biodiversity preservation. The workshops on the patrol, law enforcement and supervision system were organized for the members of the JPGs.

Joint patrol groups of the SNP “Kan-Achuu” and “Alatay” are equipped with communication devices, optics, photo traps, expedition equipment and horses.

The administrations of the SNP “Kan-Achuu” and “Alatay” were provided with new off-road vehicles, office machines, appliances and equipment.

Photo traps were installed in the territory of the SNP “Kan-Achuu” and “Alatay”, and the rangers were trained how to use them.


Training and exchange of experience

A study tour was organized to the territory of the SNP “Khan-Teniri” for the representatives of the protected areas of Western Tian Shan to get acquainted with the results of the completed UNDP-GEF project on the protected areas management in Central Tian Shan. The participants studied the positive experience in project implementation, familiarized themselves with operation of the SNP “Khan-Teniri” and with small business enterprises in Ak-Suu district of the Issyk-Kul region.

Meetings were held with the residents of 15 villages in the territory of the pilot aiyl aimaks. 136 people (52 women thereof) familiarized themselves with the goals and objectives of the project during the meetings.

A two-day study tour was organized to the Suusamyr Valley for the representatives of pasture committees, together with a delegation from Uzbekistan, where the “Electronic Zhaiyt Committee” system was presented to them. The study tour was organized by the project in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program in Uzbekistan.

-    20 seminars and trainings were held to enhance the capacity of representatives of the SNP “Kan-Achuu” and “Alatay”:

-    on anti-poaching activity,

-    on providing first aid,

-    on the use of GPS-navigators when accounting for wild animals,

-    on compliance with safety regulations during poachers detention,

-    on registration of documents on environmental regulations violations for the employees and rangers, etc.

-    About 550 people took part in these events, 122 women thereof.

-    A 4-day workshop was held for the representatives of the Central Asia countries jointly with the CITES Secretariat on implementation of the CITES Convention.


Improving pasture and forest management

  • Valuable forest species were planted on the area of 94 hectares in two forest farms of Toktogul and Aksy districts. Measures were taken to prepare the soil for planting trees in 2019 in an area of 50 hectares in Toguz-Toro forest farm. 49 people from local communities were recruited and temporarily employed during implementation of these events.
  • Above mentioned forest farms were provided with materials for fencing the territories. The total volume of provided materials amounted to more than 70 tons.
  • Round tables were organized to familiarize pasture committees with the principle of operation of the “Electronic Zhaiyt Committee” system in Toktogul and Toguz-Toro districts.
  • As part of measures to restore degraded pastures, four pasture committees of the pilot municipalities received materials to organize demonstration plots.


Measures to improve legislation, regional development plans and joint biodiversity preservation planning

-    Assistance was rendered in development of the following legal documents:

-    Methodology for assessing environmental performance

-    Methodology for forest management and biodiversity accounting

-    Action plan for preservation of the snow leopard population for 2018 - 2022

-    Instructions and recommendations on financial planning and budget management to increase revenues

-    Round tables were organized and working groups were formed to integrate biodiversity preservation issues into development plans for Toktogul and Toguz-Toro districts.

-    Work is being done on wildlife diseases control - a memorandum and a joint action plan with the State Inspection on Veterinary and Phyto-Sanitary Security and the SAEPF has been signed, and the rangers have been trained in the proper collection of wildlife sampling.

-    A joint work plan with the dog service at the Customs Service of the Kyrgyz Republic is developed to engage in measures to combat poachers, illegal trade, and derivatives transportation.


Start date:

Projected end date:

Geographic coverage

Subject area:

Project coordinator:



January 2017

December 2021

Toktogul and Toguz-Toro districts of Jalal-Abad oblast

Environment and Energy

Mirgul Amanalieva

  • State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic;
  • Secretariat of the Global Program for the Snow Leopard and Ecosystems Conservation;
  • Local state administrations of Toktogul and Toguz-Toro districts
  • Aiyl Okmotu of Atay, Kok-Irim, Kyzyl-Ozgorush and Cholpon-Ata ayil aimaks;
  • State natural parks “Alatai” and “Kan-Achuu”;
  • Local communities.

Funding sources

Global Environment Facility

Amount (USD)


National Parks in social networks:



Project start date:

January 2017

Estimated end date:

December 2021

Focus area:

  • accelerate structural transformations
  • Project office:

    UNDP in Kyrgyzstan

    Implementing partner:

    United Nations Development Programme

    Full project information  

    Funding Support by

    Donor name

  • United Nations Development Pro
  • Global Environment Fund Truste
  • Amount contributed


    Delivery in previous fiscal year

    2020 $414,730

    2019 $890,451

    2018 $743,746

    2017 $221,989

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