BIOFIN started in Kazakhstan at the end of 2013. UNDP implements BIOFIN in Kazakhstan jointly with the Forestry and Wildlife Committee under the Ministry of Agriculture. Under the project, the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) was updated and the financial needs for its implementation until 2030 estimated. The project actively cooperates with state authorities, NGOs and the private sector. Project experts are working on improving legal frameworks that affect conservation of biodiversity. Currently, all analyzes and financing plan are prepared according to the BIOFIN methodology.
Kazakhstan is located deep in Eurasia, with an area of 2.72 million square km. Kazakhstan has a unique variety of landscapes: from deserts to mountains and inland sea ecosystems. Arid and sub-humid lands occupy more than 75 % of the country. They contain more than 40% of the entire species diversity of the country.
Kazakhstan has a huge space of preserved steppe ecosystems that have been destroyed in other countries of Eurasia, enabling a large part of the populations of steppe species to find refuge there. Those include globally threatened species such as saigas, baibak marmots, steppe birch mice, a number of jerboa species, etc., and birds like pallid harriers, lapwings, steppe black-winged pratincoles, white-headed ducks and many others.
The territory of the Kazakhstan is inhabited by vertebrate species, which belong to the wild ancestors of domestic animals. Among mammals are mouflon, argali, wild boar, wild ass, wolf, spotted cat and several others. Among birds are primarily mallards, gray geese, quails and others. Despite the vast territory and low population density, many fauna species are rare or endangered, mainly due to habitat destruction and illegal hunting . The Red Book of Kazakhstan (2006) describes 125 species of vertebrates (15%), including 40 species of mammals and 57 species of birds. The flora of Kazakhstan is estimated to have more than 13 thousand species.
Around 14% of plant species are endemic. Kazakhstan has unique genetic resources of globally important floristic agrobiodiversity (Sivers Apple, Niedzwiecki Apple and ordinary apricot). According to 2013 data, they include 226 species of wild relatives of cultivated plants, determining the genetic potential for 24 agricultural crops.
Prioritised Finance Solutions
1. Subsidising game breeding to save animal species and develop hunting concessions
The aim of the finance solution is to conservation of the natural population of wildlife, through introduced government subsidies for game breeding. The end of result of the finance solution is to preserve wildlife resources and develop the market for sustainable hunting by releasing some animals in the wild while using some animals for hunting, sale and placing on the market (horns, meat, skin, etc.).
2. Tax incentives for ecotourism development
Ecotourism development in Kazakhstan would support economic development, increase financing of Protected Areas and expand opportunities for local livelihoods for men and women. The aim of the finance solution is to increase investment in ecotourism infrastructure and services through enhanced government incentives.
3. Enhanced Government Financing of Protected Areas
The aim of this solution is to ensure that the 27 protected areas have high-quality budgeted management plans capable of securing adequate government funding for their successful management.
4. Introduction of biodiversity offsets in Kazakhstan based on the example of the Ustyurt pilot area
The purpose of the financial solution is to introduce a new effective mechanism for the conservation of biodiversity during the industrial projects implementation on the example of the Kansu project. Kazakhstan is an industrial country, industrial development of the territory will continue and the introduction of a financial solution will allow avoiding similar problems in the future.
5. Promote carbon offset financing for biodiversity projects in the revised Kazakhstan Emission Trading System (ETS)
Carbon offsets support low-carbon green development and provide a flexible mechanism for reducing carbon in the atmosphere. The planned re-establishment of the Kazakhstan Emissions Trading System (ETS) creates an opportunity to include biodiversity friendly carbon offsets as an official option for the ETS. The solution aims to develop and promote an accepted carbon offset standard in the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector for Kazakhstan (and regionally) that includes an effective monitoring and evaluation and verification system. Establishing such a system will offer lower cost options to offset emissions and increase financing for biodiversity friendly AFOLU projects.
6. Attracting foreign investments in forest protection and sustainable forest management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Most of the forests of Kazakhstan (more than 11 million hectares), including rare, endangered, global important species, remain outside the protected areas. This negatively affects the conservation of forest biodiversity. The forests are in state ownership, financed from the state budget, however there is a financing gap of more then 35%. The finance solution is aimed at additional attraction of foreign investments for the conservation of forest biodiversity through carbon projects. Investors' financial resources will be directly channeled to the goals of forest biodiversity conservation, increasing forest area and improving forest management system.
Policy and Institutional Review is the analyses of the political and socio-economic factors leading to changes in biodiversity and ecosystems. The review includes analysis of a wide range of institutions in general across many industries, defining their roles in planning for biodiversity financing, their impact and interdependence with biodiversity, the coherence between the targets and the national biodiversity goals, and the overall capacity level.
Public and private biodiversity expenditure review for 2008-2014 is completed by the project team in 2015. Under the review the amount and efficiency of allocated funds for biodiversity conservation were determined. According to the analysis, the state budget is the only guaranteed source of biodiversity funding. The total amount of funds for biodiversity in 2008-2014 amounted to 1.2 bln dollars, of them the state budget funds accounted for 87% of total biodiversity funding.
Financial needs assessment for biodiversity conservation in Kazakhstan was completed in 2016. FNA is an assessment of the required expenses to achieve the national goals on biodiversity conservation in Kazakhstan and expected financial gap. According to the assessment, the required budget for the implementation of the national goals is USA 851 million, and the share of the financial deficit from the existing biodiversity financing is more than 55%.
Biodiversity Finance Plan is prepared and under consideration. BFP presents eight mechanisms that were not previously used in Kazakhstan’s practice of biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. BFP includes instruments such as tax incentives, subsidies, offsets.
The implementation of the finance solutions will prevent environment degradation and significant negative impacts on natural landscapes and biodiversity. Finance solutions implies the active involvement of the private sector in the funding of the biodiversity and ecosystems conservation. Integration of the finance solutions in the National and Sectoral Strategic Plans for the creation and strengthening of partnerships between private sector organizations and environmental institutions is an important aspect for achieving effective results in biodiversity and ecosystems conservation.