Trinational exchange on transboundary cooperation in Ustyurt

In May, a three-day knowledge exchange on strengthening transboundary nature conservation cooperation in the tri-border region in Ustyurt between Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan took place in Karakalpakstan (Uzbekistan).

Southern Ustyurt has been designated as a transboundary hotspot by the Central Asian Mammals Initiative (CAMI) of the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).

The meeting was attended by about 25 representatives of the three bordering protected areas Ustyurt (Kazakhstan), Gaplangyr (Turkmenistan) and Southern Ustyurt (Uzbekistan) as well as the political partner institutions of the three countries.

The main topic of the one-day workshop was how to reduce the impact of border fences on the migration of ungulates in the region, especially the Urial (Ovis vignei arkal), the Asian wild ass (Equus hemionus kulan) and the goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa). The wire fences erected by Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan along the border have a significant impact on migration of these ungulates. During the workshop monitoring results with the help of camera traps as well as sightings during different expeditions on the Kazakh and Uzbek side of the border fences were presented. Based on this, the participants discussed different recommendations for the adaptation of the border fences in order to enable the transboundary migration of ungulates according to the requirements of the Bonn Convention. Also discussed was the possibility of establishing a transboundary protected area.

As a result, it was proposed to develop a joint Memorandum of Understanding among the three countries to improve connectivity and cooperation of the adjacent protected areas. The goal is to sign the MoU during the 14th Conference of Parties of CMS, which will be hosted by the Government of Uzbekistan in Samarkand in October 2023.

Following the workshop, the Central Asian partners participated in an unforgettable field expedition that led across the Ustyurt Plateau and the Ramsar site, protected area „Sudochy-Apteki“ to the shore of the Aral Sea.

The Succow Foundation is currently working with GIZ and national partners to improve transboundary conservation cooperation in the Southern-Ustyurt border area between Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan as part of the project “Ecologically Oriented Regional Development in the Aral Sea Region”.