Solutions to livestock-related climate change issues discussed in Central Asia

12 February 2020, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan In the framework of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock, representatives of ministries, research institutes, civil society organizations, and livestock businesses gathered in Koy-Tash village near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The two-day meeting discussed policy priorities and technical options in climate-resilient and low-carbon ruminant production.

Stakeholders from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, with scientists from Tuscia University and FAO specialists from Rome and Ankara, considered various ways to address challenges faced by livestock keepers in view of ongoing climate change. Additionally, opportunities to produce meat, milk, and wool with lesser emission intensities were thoroughly scrutinized.

The three-country event was a culmination of a seven-month-long process of researching data, policies, and on-the-ground practices by two universities and a group of FAO experts. The gathering was preceded by three national workshops, organized in each target country in September–October 2019, where stakeholders provided their feedback on the quality of the data collected and helped to shape expectations for the outcome of the project. 

Under the overall coordination of FAO climate and livestock specialists, the University of Central Asia collected, analyzed, and shared information on policies and practices in ruminant production systems, pasture management, and their relationship with climate change in the three target countries. Then the data were used for assessing global greenhouse emissions with the help of a GIS framework that simulates the bio-physical processes and activities along livestock supply chains under a life cycle assessment approach, called GLEAM (Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model).

Scientists from Tuscia University developed a set of recommendations for formulating new policies and adopting climate-friendly practices in the ruminant sector, based on the analysis of national policies and the GLEAM assessment.

The results of the research conducted by these two universities and the group of FAO experts served as a basis for development of a comprehensive vision by the stakeholders on future pathways for the small ruminant sector in the sub-region. The event in Koy-Tash helped to highlight the importance of all three significant aspects of small ruminant production sustainability; the traditionally recognized economic significance, special social value, and, above all, environmental impact with a focus on the climate.

The stakeholders agreed at the end of the second day to pursue opportunities to formulate and promote climate-friendly livestock policies and encourage low-carbon practices resilient to climate change, including through collaboration with international resource partners. Four project concept notes were formulated and endorsed by the participants and will be presented to potential funders for consideration.