Эксперты разработали меры по правому регулированию микрозаповедников и особо охраняемых территорий местного значения

Experts have developed measures for the legal regulation of micro-reserves and specially protected areas of local importance

25 May 2022

A working group consisting of specialists from the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Protected Areas of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ecology and Technical Supervision of the KR, representatives of the CAMP Alatoo PF and legal consultants has developed a draft “Procedure for the establishment and functioning of micro-reserves and specially protected areas of local importance.”

This document was discussed at the meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ecology and Technical Supervision of the KR, donor and non-governmental organisations working in the field of natural resources, and experts.  The need to develop regulations for the establishment of public PAs was determined because recently local communities had expressed their willingness to take over the protection of natural resources and to maintain a favourable ecological environment in their places of residence. The initiative requires a systematic approach entrenched at the state level. As noted by Emil Ibraev, Head of the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Protected Areas of the KR Ministry of Nature Resources,  Ecology and Technical Supervision of the KR, ”there is a «gap» in the legislation on protected areas, leading to the lack of a unified system in assessing the effectiveness of management and monitoring of the activities and development of specially protected areas. Discussion of the proposed document will help all stakeholders to achieve a common goal - nature conservation and fulfilment of the country's obligations under the conventions on biodiversity and snow leopard protection, which will expire in 2024.”

The procedure for establishing micro-reserves and local protected areas aims to legally regulate relations in establishing protected areas. Communities and local authorities play an important role in this process.  The local government decides on the establishment of a micro reserve or a local protected area in its district for a period of 10 years, based on a draft justification approved by the relevant organisations and submitted by the person concerned. «Citizens who are interested in establishing a micro reserve and a protected area of MZ provide a package of necessary documents, including an economic and scientific justification, which is confirmed by the State Environmental Appraisal under the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Kyrgyz Republic. We assume that the PAs would be managed by legal entities and all activities related to SPNAs are non-commercial, as the primary function of SPNAs is protection of environment. However, those people who have taken over the management and protection of micro-reserves and protected areas of the MZ may engage in income-generating activities in certain areas without harming the environment and use the money  earned to fulfill statutory objectives», explained Murat Jumashev from the CAMP Alatoo PF.

In coordination with local government, a territory or plot of land is allocated to be used for a micro-reserve or protected area, and its boundaries are established. The active involvement of local governments gives them «a chance to outline the rules of the game in their field and define their approach when establishing protected areas», Emil Ibraev said. 

According to Tynymseit Zhusumambetov, chief specialist of the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Protected Areas of the KR Ministry of Nature, the procedure for the functioning of the established protected areas of the MZ provides for a «core zone»  and a «protected area».  The «core zone»  makes up 70% of the total area of the protected areas of the MZ, where economic activities are prohibited, except for those aimed at «preservation of ecosystem in their natural state», environmental monitoring, research work, etc.  In the «protected zone», works that are not damaging to natural resources are allowed, however, hunting and trapping of wild animals, construction of production facilities, exploration and development of minerals are strictly sanctioned. 

The basic provisions of the document raised questions from the participants of the meeting. They were interested in the aspects related to limiting the period of establishment of microreserves and protected areas, specifying permissible and prohibited economic activities, clarifying the meaning and difference between microreserves and local protected areas, management and monitoring.  However, in general, the panelists have acknowledged that good  work had been done and had noted its importance and relevance. Fatima Toktosunova, a legal expert, indicated «a great achievement» of having such document and hoped for its full implementation.

The participants highlighted the following points in the recommendations. In the opinion of Nurlan Mamyrov from the Ilbirs Foundation PF , the document should empower local communities and increase the number of tools for environmental protection, as well as involve the non-governmental sectorin implementing communities’ initiatives in cooperation with donors. Askar Davletbakov, Head of the Zoology Laboratory at the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, recommended to consider a funding mechanism for communities offering the possibility to take responsibility for the protection and control of protected areas.

Members of the working group clarified about presenting a preliminary version of the document at the meeting.  It was developed to implement the KR Law “On Specially Protected Areas”.  At the same time, legal experts, Venera Baltabaeva and Damira Bustanova, analyzed the legal acts on protected areas and concluded of the necessity to update legislation, taking into account international experience and the norms of the Convention on Biodiversity. They also suggested to consider inclusion of a separate chapter or section on protected areas in the draft Environmental Code of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The Procedure will be available online for further discussion and recommendations. The final document will be approved by a resolution of the Government of the KR.

The Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Protected Areas of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ecology and Technical Supervision of the KR initiated formation of a working group.  The CAMP Alatoo PF was involved in the development of the document, taking into account its experience in the creation of a public micro-reserve Baiboosun and the implementation of this model in the state reserve Zhargylchak.

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