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Integrated Watershed Management in Central Asia - Implementing an Educational and Research Concept for Capacity Building in Kyrgyzstan

Researcher mapping a broken channel near Kara-Suu

Researcher mapping a broken channel near Kara-Suu
Image Credit: K. Ebermann

Sustainable resource utilisation as well as sustainable societal development goals intends to improve the living conditions of local communities. They are determined by the given environmental basic conditions and the regeneration capacity of the natural resources. During the past decade Integrated Watershed Management (IWM) gained in importance as an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to support regional sustainable land management and development. Integrated Watershed Management is a system and process orientated integrative approach to assess landscape sensitivity and to design management strategies. It implies that the available natural, agricultural and human resources within a defined ecological system – the system of a watershed - should be sustainably utilized for the benefit of the local population.


It is the target of the project proposed to setup capacities on IWM in Kyrgyzstan. The project is aiming for a sustainable implementation of these skills including education and training of experts by establishing a MSc.-programme on IWM. To achieve this aim a project-orientated partnership has been established with the Kyrgyz National University (KNU) in Bishkek. To ensure sustainability and acceptance by the local population the basal assessment of landscape sensitivity and the configuration of management concepts will be accomplished by young Kyrgyz postgraduate students. In this way, these PhD - students will train their scientific and technical skills. Additionally, as future lecturers, regional planners, or consultants they will be in the position to dispread and apply this knowledge.

The PhD-students will be trained by research on case studies on the Kochkor Basin (Naryn Oblast), by implementing concepts of IWM. Different aspects of assessing landscape sensitivity, risks and societal effects will be the objective of these studies. They will provide as a basis to adapt existing assessment concepts and to adapt measures to be developed participatory and object oriented to the social and environmental needs of the regional society. The starting period the programme will be attended by the German applicants and the German project coordinator to develop the MSc.-programme corporately with the Kyrgyz colleagues and to support its implementation by short-term lectures. At the end of the project phase the Kyrgyz PhD- students should assist teaching in the different fields of IWSM to gain teaching experience.

It is expected that in this vein a tool will be provided which allows sustainable development of a growing society in an environmental sensitive mountain area and under the influence of global change and changing climate impact. Finally, it is intended that the strategies and measures developed in this project will be audited on their transferability on the larger region of Central Asia. Therefore the proposal handed is based on the implementation of a Master study-programme (MSc.) “Integrated Watershed Management (IWM)” at the Kyrgyz National University as a measure of capacity building in higher education and a joint research project on IWM in the Basin of Kochkor as a model area to train young Kyrgyz postgraduates to guarantee that experts are available to ensure in the long run that the MSc.-  programme is accomplishable.



Funded by:

Volkswagen Foundation