As transitional economies these countries are particularly susceptible to climate change for three principal reasons: First, the geography of the region. With a landscape dominated by temperate deserts over-irrigation, overgrazing, and desertification are serious issues. Second, the economic challenges facing the region. With economies heavily dependent on resources, there is a need for the region to diversify and implement a broader spectrum of market-based strategies. Finally, in the 25 years since gaining independence, the region has gone through socio-economic and political upheaval. Deeply embedded institutional weaknesses in each of these countries has meant that political and economic reform is often slow or stagnant.
With aridity on the rise, water is of key importance in Central Asia. In a region where water is scarce and populations growing, one of the greatest challenges will be to understand and solve the water-energy nexus. Water use is still stuck in the Soviet era, when Moscow had linked water management of the five countries. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the region has not been able to agree on how to efficiently manage and/or share their water systems. In countries already overflowing with political and ethnic tensions, issues of security are firmly linked to climate change and water usage. This panel discussion will unpack these issues and help understand the current situation in Central Asia. It will look at the political and economic constraints, and how water-use patterns and water-storage facilities need to change in order to tackle the climate challenge in the region. It will also be a chance to assess direct and indirect threats to different sectors and communities, looking at how governments prioritise response measures for imminent security risks. Additionally, risks of climate change are non-linear. While a climate may change gradually, the risks associated can escalate rapidly. This talk is an opportunity to look at security risks associated with energy and water, as well as the adaptation and mitigation measures that are being considered to reduce risk, specifically what risks arise when complex human systems interact with climate change.
- Akezhan Kazhegeldin, the former Prime Minister of Kazakhstan
- Amanda E. Wooden, Associate Professor, Environmental Studies Program, Bucknell University
- John Roberts, Energy Security Specialist, Methinks Ltd
- Frank Umbach, Research Director, EUCERS, King’s College London
Where and when
3 December 2018
14:00 to 16:00