During the Workshop the participants from UNEP, Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IGRAS) and Moscow State University (MSU) presented the project concept and timeline, in particular methodology of developing an e-Atlas on “Environmental Changes in Central Asia Countries”, technological aspects of access to its content, announced a cycle of training workshops for interested stakeholders from the project partner-countries on collecting and processing thematic geospatial data on the basis of the IGRAS.
The importance of the project is connected with the existing issues on collecting, updating and processing on geospatial information on the state of environment in the Republic of Tajikistan. The latest national atlas was produced in 1968. As of today, in the Republic of Tajikistan there is no unified methodology for collecting and representing basic and spatial thematic data. In particular, there is no coordination of the data on the components of the protected areas system within the national and international reporting systems, as well as on data on degraded lands. Institutional archives are digitalized only partially (for example, in the Committee for Environmental Protection under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan – only for the latest 5 years); the Water Cadaster needs updating (the latest was produced in 2009); the works on forests stocktaking in the Republic of Tajikistan cover only four forestries of the total 40 (at that, the comprehensive forest inventory in Tajikistan took place in 1988).
Interest in the project outcomes was expressed by several state and non-governmental organizations:
- By the Agency on Statistics under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, which plans in 2020 to hold population census with the use of GIS- technologies; it considers that the project will be important for the integration of SDG indicators in the national environmental reporting system.
- The interest of the Committee for Environmental Protection under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, in particular, in the electronic atlas is connected with the necessity to organize monitoring and forecast of environmental changes, state of natural resources, implementation of environmental control. The project outcome may also be important for the development and implementation of a new State Environmental Program for2021-2026.
- The interest of the Agency for Hydrometeorology responsible, inter alia, for the monitoring of all surface and ground water resources and water quality, is connected with the need to update the Water Cadaster of the Republic of Tajikistan, catalogue of hazardous events.
- The Committee for Emergency Situations of the Republic of Tajikistan highly values the transboundary territorial scope of the planned atlas, which is important for the monitoring of emergency situations both of natural and technogenic genesis.
- The interest of Forestry Agency in the project implementation is based on its capacity to activate national forests inventory, provide a reliable assessment of the extent and character of degraded forests, data on the dynamics of forest resources within the recent 20-25 years
- The NGO “Association of Water Users” expects to improve coordination with state structures, including in respect of sharing up-to-date data on the state of land and water resources, water quality assessments. NGOs often conduct their own environmental assessments at separate territories, independent of the Agency for Hydrometeorology.
- UNDP representatives informed of the current projects in the Republic of Tajikistan and expressed readiness to integrate the existing spatial databases. In particular, in 2019-2020 the GeoNode webservice will host a project of atlas of the risk assessment with zoning of the whole territory of the Republic of Tajikistan as per risk 6 events (earthquakes, flooding, mudslides, avalanches, droughts, strong winds and hurricanes). UNDP also supports projects on biodiversity conservation in the Republic of Tajikistan.
The high interest of the workshop participants in the training workshops announced by the Institute of Geography of RAS and to be held in 2020, that would include training on issues of collecting and processing of thematic spatial data with the use of open geoinformation software, freely distributed data of remote-sensing and data from non-piloted flying objects.