To support sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and the transition to green economy in Asia, the European Union (EU) in 2007 launched the SWITCH-Asia Programme.  The program has been extended to Central Asia in 2019.

On July 5, EU SWITCH-Asia will be launched in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek to introduce the program in Central Asia, discuss challenges and opportunities related to SCP and define its work plan for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan for the next three years.

According to the EU Delegation to Tajikistan, the event will be co-organized by the SWITCH-Asia SCP Facility, the European Commission, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), and concerned European Union Delegations.  Representatives of national governments, EU Delegations, United Nations agencies, and key stakeholders (business, academia, NGOs, MSMEs, among others) will contribute to the interactive discussions on the importance and necessity for promoting SCP patterns in Central Asia, in order to support the five targeted countries’ transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient and circular economy.

The launch event is taking place back-to-back with the EU-Central Asia Forum and Ministerial Meeting (July 6-7), where the new EU-Central Asia Strategy will be presented. This Strategy includes a specific point on cooperation in the field of the environment, water and the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, among others.

The urgent need to change from unsustainable consumption and production patterns to a green economy and sustainable development is increasingly being recognized.  This shift requires adequate policies, implementation mechanisms with appropriate enabling capacity, awareness raising and education, together with innovation and responsibility.

Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are reportedly in the process of developing national strategies for green economy, engaging their local MSMEs and the private sector, while the Government of Uzbekistan has undertaken significant steps in outlining its commitment to energy efficiency and renewable energy and in particular solar power.  Similarly, Tajikistan is committed to implementing substantial ecological programs.

The transition to sustainable consumption and production requires political, economic, institutional, behavioral and technological shifts.  These are made possible through a combined application of sustainable consumption and production principles, approaches and strategies.

Over the next years (2019-2022), the five countries in Central Asia will be benefitting from the support of experts from the SWITCH-Asia Sustainable Consumption and Production Facility (SCP Facility) and from a grant scheme that has been set up to support pilot projects testing new approaches on SCP in the region.