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Kazakhstan makes COP26 commitment to tackling climate change

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COP26 in Glasgow is a gathering of the world’s leading economies and what they intend to do to tackle a crisis said by some to be even worse than the coronavirus pandemic. What is happening in Glasgow to address this most pressing of issues will affect all parts of the world, including Kazakhstan, the world’s largest landlocked country and the ninth-largest overall.

Located at the centre of the Eurasian continent, Kazakhstan strategically links the markets of South East Asia and Western Europe.

Changing rainfall patterns are increasing the intensity and frequency of droughts. With the majority of the country’s topography classified as steppe, desert or semi-desert, climate change is placing an additional burden on the country’s water resource management and the livelihoods of almost 13 percent of the population that lives in high drought-prone areas.

Kazakhstan has committed to tackle climate change, and together with the United Kingdom released a joint statement on Strategic Partnership and Joint Efforts to Respond to Climate Change.

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H.E. Askar Mamin, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan (pictured centre),  participated in the World Leaders’ Summit of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Glasgow this week  (1 -2 November).

Speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, United Kingdom, Prime Minister Askar Mamin said “Coming together at COP26, we recognise that climate change is the key threat to global security and prosperity in the 21st century.

“We are committed to tackling climate change through ambitious domestic action, as well as close cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral levels. The UK’s Net Zero Strategy will accelerate its green energy transition, decarbonising power generation by 2035 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Kazakhstan has committed to reach net zero by 2060 in its upcoming carbon neutrality strategy which will involve major reforms in every sector of the economy, with special focus on energy, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, transport, utilities, and waste management.

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 “The Government of Kazakhstan is also setting key midterm targets within its updated Nationally Determined Contribution: increasing the share of renewables to 15% by 2030 with further potential to grow and reducing greenhouse gas emissions unconditionally by 15% by 2030 (compared to the base year) with a conditional target of 25% (subject to international support and assistance). Kazakhstan, the ninth largest country in the world and a guardian of the steppe ecosystem, also fully supports the COP Presidency statement on forests and sustainable land use, committing to plant 2 billion trees by 2025.

As we develop and enhance our national plans, we recognise that the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC is the key multilateral vehicle to deliver the ambition and action we so urgently need. We intend to take increasingly bold action to meet and where possible exceed the targets set in our Paris Agreement Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Long-Term Strategies. We will also drive forward implementation of the policy changes needed to meet our respective pledges to reach carbon neutrality.

In this context, we also welcome the recent Central Asia/US C5+1 statement which underlined the imperative to submit ambitious NDCs for the COP26 Glasgow Climate Summit. It pledged that the NDCs of the countries of Central Asia would include specific targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and concrete actions to reach those targets; and that those targets and actions would be in line with the goal of keeping a 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels temperature limit within reach. UK and Kazakhstan will continue working together to realise this important commitment and to help raise climate ambition across Central Asia and the wider region.

In addition, we will look to strengthen our cooperation on environmental matters, as well as exploring the opportunities that exist in the transformation to a green economy that may benefit both our countries. We will ensure that our existing Ministerial intergovernmental structures - the Strategic Dialogue and the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Investment – prioritise cooperation in these areas. Investment in a sustainable and clean recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic will create employment in the industries of the future, while ensuring that we address the linked challenges of public health, climate change and biodiversity. Such cooperation will prioritise energy efficiency, economic diversification away from fossil fuels, and in particular the imperative to transition from the use of coal for power generation, as well as developing Kazakhstan’s considerable renewable potential. It will also look to develop our countries’ green finance offers in support of this transition.

We will also endeavour to enhance cooperation across other key aspects of climate change mitigation, adaptation and environmental protection including the exchange of best practice in the field of de-carbonisation of the wider economy, waste management, sustainable forest and land use, improvement of air quality, biodiversity, sustainable and green finance, environmental research and public awareness building.

We highlight our commitment to achieving an ambitious and balanced negotiated outcome at COP26. We also agree to continue working closely beyond COP26, including policy discussions on wider climate change issues and the exchange of information on emissions reduction targets in all appropriate future high level dialogues.

In the thirty years since Kazakhstan’s independence and the establishment of our diplomatic relations, the UK-Kazakhstan relationship has become a strong partnership based on mutual trust, shared values, and effective cooperation – as reflected in the upcoming UK-Kazakhstan Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. As we celebrate this significant anniversary, we are determined to further build and deepen our cooperation on the issues that matter most to both our countries.

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