The University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI) will work with the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program (GEF SGP) to develop a GEF SGP Country Strategy for Kyrgyzstan, according to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

As part of this collaboration, MSRI will assist GEF SGP in prioritizing its environmental program interventions in the country during Phase-7 of GEF.

AKDN says a key element of this partnership is to develop a strategic document, which will guide the provision of grants to support environmental initiatives of grassroots NGOs, in collaboration with leading national NGOs and government authorities.  

The program will focus on funding local community-led environmental projects within a given priority area. SGP plans to also review, analyze, and codify results to allow replication and scale up of best practices within the country, and in other parts of the world.

The Small Grants Program has been implemented in Kyrgyzstan since 2001, and 293 projects have been supported with grants totaling US$ 4.6 million.  GEF SGP works in 125 countries and provides civil society and community-based organizations with grants to enable them to tackle global environmental challenges while addressing local sustainable development needs.

The grant from GEF-SGP grows out of a workshop organized by UCA’s MSRI on March 10, 2020 in Bishkek that identified priority development areas in Kyrgyzstan related to the environment. The event gathered over 40 representatives from the State Environment Protection bodies, NGOs, as well as academia.  Participants reportedly discussed current issues in the country, including species and environmental conservation, natural resource management, transboundary water management, chemical pollution, pasture degradation, and alternative sources of income for local populations.  They also mapped out current projects in Kyrgyzstan to find synergies between stakeholders, avoid project duplication, and achieve a greater impact.