|Vulnerability of natural resources, economy and public health to climate change|
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The goal of V&A research was to analyse the environmental impact on the natural and socio-economic potential of the country at present day, and to predict its possible qualitative and quantitative changes in the beginning of the 21th century as result of global climate changes.
National experts from the Academy of Sciences, Ministry for Nature Protection, National meteorological service, Tajik State University, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Economy and Trade, Ministry of Finance, Agrarian University, State Committee on Land resources, Ministry of Water Management, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Energy, and others participated in the research.
Assessment of vulnerability to climate change includes:
Vulnerability assessment shows that the most vulnerable to climate changes are the glaciers, snow and surface water resources of the Central Tajikistan, land resources of the southern regions of the country, broad-leaved forests, alpine ecosystems, public health, transport facilities in the mountains, cotton growing in southern, central and northern areas, pastures of the arid zone, quality and quantity of water for irrigation and supply, concentration of toxic substances in the air of urban areas.
Research methodologies were based upon the UNEP and IPCC recommendations on assessment of vulnerability to climate changes. They include five major stages:
I. Familiarization of experts with methodologies on vulnerability assessment, international research experience and publications;
II. Familiarization of experts with national climate change report and selection of appropriate climate change scenarios for vulnerability assessment;
III. Analysis of natural resources and socio-economic development of the Republic of Tajikistan; their linkages with climate conditions in the second half of the 20th century;
IV. Vulnerability assessment, evaluation of the adaptation potential, and prediction of changes in natural resources and national economy under the impact of global warming in the first half of 21th century;
V. Assessment and evaluation of measures’ costs, an adaptation strategy of adaptation to adverse consequences of climate changes, and the assessment of needs in further research, including development of systematic observations and public awareness programme.
The research shows that the complexity of the analyses «Climate and natural resources» and «Climate and socio-economic development» at present and in the future is determined by the following factors:
1. Actual values of yearly and seasonal fluctuations of microclimate elements (air temperature, rainfall and snowfall, extreme weather events, etc.) significantly exceed expected climate change parameters. Global climate models do not represent sufficient information needed for detailed vulnerability assessment, whereas regional models have just started to apply in practice. Application of regional climate models (resolution 25x25 km) could improve the quality of research in next stages of vulnerability assessment;
2. Anthropogenic impact on the environment significantly increased in the second half of the 20th century. Such impact take place along with climatic change. It concerns water resources, land degradation, deforestation, deterioration of pastures productivity, extinction of species as well as worsening of public health. Very often it is difficult to separate the anthropogenic impact from the climatic factors, especially at local level, which impedes the research process;
3. Ecosystems naturally respond to climatic changes. It is commonly known that the change in the environment and climate are the main factors in the evolution of organisms and ecosystems. However, the assessment of climate change impacts in this regard could be made conditionally, since the monitoring of biodiversity in Tajikistan is inadequate so far.
4. The existing volume of specialized systematic observations, carried out by hydro-meteorological and other services is inadequate to conduct detailed vulnerability assessment. Lack of information on glaciers, water resources, floods, avalanches, extreme weather events is still problematic. Enhancement of hydro-meteorological observations, given the needs of national science and economy, could solve this problem.
5. The absence of necessary equipment, research and institutional bases, along with lack of experience in carrying out vulnerability study limits existing potential. In the short-term and mid-term, a variety of factors will impact ecological and economic processes in Tajikistan. Among these factors are: lack of arable lands and deterioration of their conditions, socio-economic and ecological problems in densely populated areas, natural disasters, and the demographic situation. The accomplished work is meant for taking measures on the adaptation of natural resources and socio-economic potential to the projected climate change.
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