Developing Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) Country Programme Strategy in Kyrgyzstan
The University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI) received a grant from the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) to develop a Country Strategy for the Programme in Kyrgyzstan. As part of this collaboration, MSRI assisted GEF SGP in prioritizing its programme interventions in the country during the Operational Phase-7 of GEF. The Small Grants Programme has been implemented in Kyrgyzstan since 2001, and 293 projects have been supported with grants totalling US$4.6 million.
MSRI organized a workshop on March 10, 2020, in Bishkek to identify priority areas of development in Kyrgyzstan related to environmental issues. The event gathered more than 40 representatives from State Environment Protection bodies, NGOs, and academia. Participants discussed current issues in the country including species and environmental conservation, natural resource management, transboundary water management, chemical pollution, pasture degradation, and alternative sources of income for local populations. They also mapped out current projects in Kyrgyzstan to find synergies among stakeholders, avoid project duplication, and achieve greater impact.
During project implementation, the MSRI team met with multiple stakeholders at national and regional levels to collect opinions about the activities that the strategy document should cover. A short promotional video was developed in Russian and Kyrgyz to advertise the Small Grants Programme to local communities and explain the application procedures. Baseline information was collected from scientific publications to inform the strategic document. Furthermore, high-resolution satellite images of protected areas in Osh and Batken provinces, as well as climate data, were analysed to add new information. These data, together with information from interviews with stakeholders, formed the basis of the strategic plan. A draft of the plan in English and Russian was circulated to national and local stakeholders and discussed on 16 July 2021 during an online meeting where participants shared their opinions. The final document was printed and published electronically to reach all the stakeholders and potential grantees.