In September 2020, Participatory Community Appraisal and Planning sessions (PCA/PCP) combined with the master-classes on sustainable technologies in agriculture were held in Koukoni settlement of Samarkand Region and Noukous city of the Republic of Karakalpakstan (Uzbekistan).
The seminars were held within the framework of the project "Innovative Uzbekistan", implemented by ODB Brussels (Belgium) in partnership with Eco Forum of Uzbekistan (Uzbekistan), the New Diplomacy (Czech Republic) with funding from the European Union.
Among 27 participants of the session in the Samarkand region and over 22 participants in Noukous there were farmers, representatives of small and medium businesses, education institutions, local authorities, civil society organisations and grass root initiatives.
The organisers introduced the participants to such topics as “Climate Change: Impact on Agriculture, Water and Energy Supply in Uzbekistan and Central Asia” and “Overview of Climate Resilient Technologies Available for Local Application in Sectors: Water Resources, Energy and Food” and guided them through the needs assessments of their regions.
How Switching to Green Economy Can Help the Local Communities of Uzbekistan?
“Vulnerable groups are the first ones to face the negative climate change consequences,” says one of the project’s trainers, Gauhar Deusheva, the head of a CSO Zarafshan, and the Director of the ECO Forum of NGOs of Uzbekistan programme on public expertise and monitoring in the area of environment. About a third of the country's population live in areas of natural disasters, such as droughts, mudflows, landslides, floods, avalanches, dust storms. The situation can even get worse at any time due to the climate change: precipitation will become less frequent or, on the contrary, more intense, the temperature, as well as humidity, can sharply rise or fall. All this will affect agricultural activities. In the absence of resource-saving measures, local communities may face water and electricity shortages, an increase in the number of droughts and hazards that lead to unsustainable agricultural production and threaten products and environmental security. Reducing these negative consequences by using environmentally friendly, energy and water-saving technologies is one of the tasks envisaged by the Strategy for the transition of the Republic of Uzbekistan to a "green" economy for the period 2019 – 2030,” noted the expert.
The government of Uzbekistan has announced the development of a national low-carbon energy strategy, following the adopted concept of providing Uzbekistan with electricity until 2030. The plan calls for a sharp reduction in the use of gas generators, from 83% currently to 50%, and also aims at switching to solar and wind energy.
Taking into account the country’s strategy, spreading information about and encouraging the use of green technologies at the local level is seen as very timely by the project implementers.
According to the trainer of the seminar, the head of the "Union for the Protection of the Aral and Amu Darya" and the Renewable Energy Sources (RES) research group of the Academy of Sciences of Karakalpakstan Yusup Kamalov, the distribution of green technologies will also contribute to the improvement of employment and living standards of the population, preserve the environment and the health of people. Therefore one of the main tasks of the seminar was to convey up to participants at the core of the problem of climate change and the possibilities to combat it by using available and affordable green technologies.
Why is it Important for the Local Communities to Assess Their Own Needs?
To determine the needs of the local communities for new technologies, as well as other measures necessary to be applied at various levels, the organises conducted a Participatory Assessment Session, during which urgent environmental, economic and social problems were identified. Additionally, the degree of complexity of their solution was assessed, as well as the level of importance (the priority). The assessment was carried out using the Participatory Community Appraisal method.
Thus the following problems and challenges were named by the participants of the meetings for the Kukoni village and the surrounding regions:
- Insufficient information about innovations especially in the field of water supply and irrigation;
- The need for information on effective means to combat diseases and pests of grape crops;
- High prices of drugs for pest control;
- Insufficient water supply to field territories;
- High cost and low quality of livestock feed.
While for Noukous city the main challenges are the following:
• Lack of drinking water;
• Low culture of water consumption;
• Deterioration of the land condition;
• Low level of public health services and poor health condition of the local population;
• Lack of energy supplies.
Water saving methods and energy saving technologies are especially relevant for Samarkand Region and Noukous city given the shallowing of the Zarafshan River and drying up of the Aral Sea.
What Affordable Practices Can Be Used by the Local Communities Already Today?
The collection of rainwater in spring and autumn and the operation of a hydraulic ram installation became the central topic during the seminar in Koukoni village.
“The main criteria for the selection of such technologies and good practices are the possibility to produce them by yourself and the low cost”, says the second trainer, engineer Uktam Khaitov. “For instance, one can make a hydraulic ram installation literally out of available materials at home. The installation uses the energy of flowing water, no electric generators are required, which is very suitable for the villagers,” he noted.
Uktam Khaitov conducted a master-class on the installation of hydraulic pump that can work without electricity and collect rain water. It is very important to demonstrate resource saving technologies in practice that the participants could later use them easily in their households.
In Noukous, methods of making and using solar panel ovens were presented and their advantages explained to the local participants.
Yusup Kamalov noted that since the trees are being cut down around settlements in Karakalpakstan to be used as fuel for heating houses and cooking, including protected by law saxaul, the use of affordable solar technologies is crucial to prevent the negative consequences for the environment.
“The suggested technology contributes to better economic conditions of the households in general and of women in particular: they increase energy independence, free of charge solar energy is being supplied to every house daily, it gives women enough energy to cook not only for their families but also work as caterers on the open market. Moreover, to clean such devices as solar ovens is easier: food does not burn or stick to the pot, and one can easily craft a solar oven from items that are already at their disposal at home”, he explained.
Here are some more advantages the solar ovens can offer:
- The products preserve vitamins and minerals as well as their natural taste;
- The cooking process is safe and easy for people with disabilities, the senior, and youth
- This cooking method reduces exposure to smoke from wood and coal, thus decreasing the risks of respiratory diseases;
- One can sterilise water and kill the bacteria.
The workshop’s participants were especially interested in the master-class on making a foldable solar oven and box solar oven, which are easy to assemble and install at home. Here is some feedback from participants:
- "Very interesting topics about the environment and climate change, I hear it for the first time"
- “From the training I received tips for solving a number of daily problems, in particular in the production of food”
- "I will bring the knowledge gained at the training to my students"
- "Interesting approaches to saving water"
- “It is especially interesting to learn about the low-cost technologies”
- "Such trainings should be carried out in every mahalla and in other districts"
- “At today's meeting, we received answers to all our questions. We exchanged views and received a lot of new information "
- “We learned about the progress in climate change research”
The PCA/PCP sessions helped identifying the participants willing to continue working towards solving certain local problems. Therefore, the task of the next meeting will be to develop a concrete action plan aimed at addressing the identified needs, as well as the formation of a Working Group to promote the developed action plan within the framework of the project "Innovative Uzbekistan".
Text: Regina Chigareva
Photo: Leila Belyalova, Izzet Aimbetov, from open Internet sources
|The content is solely the responsibility of ODB Brussels and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.|
This material has been prepared within the framework of the project "Innovative Uzbekistan" implemented by ODB Brussels (Belgium) in partnership with Eco Forum of Uzbekistan (Uzbekistan), the New Diplomacy (Czech Republic) funded by the European Union.