Workshop on transboundary cooperation: Land degradation and sustainability of agri-food systems in Central Asia

Group discussion (Photo provided by ICARDA)

Waltraud Ederer (ELD Secretariat) presenting (Photo provided by ICARDA)

Alisher Mirzabaev (IRRI) presenting (Photo provided by ICARDA)

Group discussion (Photo provided by ICARDA)

Group discussion (Photo provided by ICARDA)

The joint workshop on regional cooperation in Central Asia “Leveraging synergies for integrative land-biodiversity-climate action and Development of the Peace Forest Initiative (PFI) for land restoration, prevention of sand and dust storms and shared natural resources” was held on 12-15 March 2024 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The overall objective of the workshop was to sensitize regional stakeholders to cross-border cooperation approaches and to integrative approaches for land management. The specific objective of the workshop was twofold:

  1. discuss funding opportunities, and map potential priority locations, project ideas, and entry points for PFI activities in the region and
  2. discuss integrated actions on land, biodiversity, and climate to improve monitoring, reporting, and investment in the sustainable transformation of the agriculture and food system in Central Asia.


Akmal Akramkhanov, Regional Manager of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas for Central Asia and the Caucasus (ICARDA-CAC), stated that 

“Such an event is very timely and an excellent occasion to synergize the work in Central Asia under the three so-called Rio Conventions – the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The joint study process we are launching in partnership with GIZs Regional Programme on Integrative and Climate-Sensitive Land Use in Central Asia (ILUCA) and the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative (ELD) led by our sister center International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) aims to support policymakers in Central Asia, both at regional and national levels.”


Wiebke Foerch, Deputy Head of GIZ´s ILUCA Programme complements on the objective of the joint project on leveraging synergies:

“Land degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss are closely interlinked. Therefore, collaboration and integrative approaches across the land-climate-biodiversity-agriculture nexus bear the potential to support sustainable land management more efficiently and to facilitate achieving national targets across all three Rio Conventions. Synergies are also important in the context of regional cooperation – as transboundary ecosystems and shared environmental challenges should be tackled jointly”.


Main workshop results

For the PFI component of the workshop the main results were the ideation and conceptualization of regional cross-border cooperation projects which will enable the UNCCD Secretariat to engage partners, relevant national and regional stakeholders to formulate and finalise a more detailed overarching proposal and/or a joint action plan for Central Asia’s transboundary cooperation.

For GIZ, ELD, ICARDA and IRRI the engagement with national and regional stakeholders provided valuable insights and feedback on the incoming results for the regional study such as maps showing land degradation hotspots in order to identify most cost-efficient locations for land restoration. With their active engagement and interaction participants shaped the study process by defining scenarios which will be analysed during the study process.



The workshop hosted by the Ministry of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change of the Republic of Uzbekistan was organized by the UNCCD Global Mechanism, in partnership with the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC), Korea Forest Service, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

The workshop was organized in collaboration with partners such as the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative (ELD), the World Bank, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), Asian Forest Cooperation Organisation (AFoCO), Global Water Partnership (GWP), the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation, adelphi, and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).


Learn more about ELD's ongoing project on Rio synergies in Central Asia.