Members of the inter-ministerial working group (IWG) to develop a unified methodology for monitoring and evaluation of rangelands met for the first time.At the end of December 2022, representatives of government agencies and non-governmental organisations specialising in natural resources decided to bring the system of monitoring and assessment of pasture conditions under one common denominator.The initiative, launched by the Department of Pasture and Livestock Breeding of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Kyrgyz Republic (DPGA MoA), was supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Society for International Cooperation) and partnered by the PF "CAMP Alatoo".
The first item on the agenda of the meeting was to review the order on the composition of the IWG adopted by the management of the Department of the MAWR DPLWR and to approve it. The IWG was comprised of specialists from the MAWR DPGR, KR Forestry Service, Kyrgyz Research Institute of Livestock and Pastures (KR NIIZhIP), State Design Institute of Land Management (Kyrgyzgiprozem), ARIS, Central Asian Land Research Institute (CAIAG), National Pasture Association "Kyrgyz Jaiyyty".
Maksatbek Mamytbekov, Deputy Director of the WRS MoAWM, was appointed to lead the group. As it was announced at the meeting, the IWG members are to develop a methodology within a year, test it in practice in 7 pilot aiyl aimags and further disseminate it throughout the country. According to Talant Toktosunov, project specialist of the CAMP Alatoo PF, "this approach is based on the principle of participation of local communities in the process of assessing the state of pastures and discussing the results of monitoring. Based on the results of the developed guidelines, a unified system for the collection and storage of pasture monitoring data will be launched," said a representative of the CAMP Alatoo PF.
After information about the work plans and prospects of the project, the IWG participants once again compared the strengths and weaknesses of the methodologies that currently exist in the republic. According to the specialists of the CAMP Alatoo PF, the main differences in approaches lie in the collection of monitoring data and its evaluation, the recording of results (paper or digital), and the implementation in practice. For example, the methodologies used by the KR Institute of Housing and Communal Services and Kyrgyzgiprozem were considered by the working group members to be technically time consuming and requiring additional professional training.
The experts decided to use a combination of the simpler and easier "crossing lines" and "measuring stick" methods that ARIS and CAMP Alatoo PF are working with. For some participants these techniques were unfamiliar and so one of the first decisions was to demonstrate them to all members of the IWG, after which they would consider combining or improving the approaches to incorporate them into one methodology.
The next item on the agenda was the selection of aiyl aimaks from each oblast of the country as well as pasture committees that would participate in the piloting of the unified methodology. Criteria for the aiyl aimaks were defined such as availability of pasture infrastructure, availability of vast areas with different types of vegetation and degree of degradation, interest and participation of local residents in the monitoring of pasture conditions.
Potential zhayit committees, according to the IWG, should be active, experienced in carrying out field works, in assessing the condition of pastures. Members of the working group decided that taking into account the criteria outlined and agreed with the DPAW MoAWM KR, a final list of pilot aiyl aimaks will be prepared where the assessment and validation of data is planned.
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