CBA Kazakhstan: Forest Protection Belts to Combat Increasing Aridity in Shyrkyn Village (Farmer/Entrepreneur SF)

Project Overview

Shyrkyn Village is an agricultural and livestock-raising community in Southern Kazakhstan, near the foothills of the Tien Shan Mountains and the border with Uzbekistan. Livelihoods are predominantly agricultural, dominated by grain, vegetables, cattle, sheep and goat production for local markets. The climate is extremely continental and dry, with long winters and hot summers. Climate change factors such as increasing winter temperatures and increasing levels of evapotranspiration in the summer lead to lower soil water availability, which in turn will lower the resilience of pastures and croplands to wind erosion and hot summer winds.  All these factors degrade soils and stress vegetation, threatening the livelihoods of community members.

This Community-Based Adaptation project aims to reduce land degradation risks stemming from increasing summer temperatures, hot winds, and declining winter snowfall.  The project's approach is to build on baseline measures to improve water access and improve grazing practices through the construction of forest protection belts that locally reduce wind erosion. The project also pilots water management and irrigation strategies designed to take climate change factors into account. Finally, the project features capacity-building components and a strategy to disseminate best practices at the national level.

This project is part of Kazakhstan's Community-Based Adaptation portfolio. *

Project Details

Shyrkyn village is an agricultural and livestock-raising community in southern Kazakhstan, near the foothills of the Tien Shan Mountains and the border with Uzbekistan. The local climate is extremely continental and dry, consisting of hot summers and long winters. Precipitation ranges from 150 mm/year in the lowlands to 800 mm/year in higher elevation areas. Only winter precipitation is useful for agricultural activities. Livelihoods are based predominantly on agriculture and livestock. Commodities, including cereal crops, rice, vegetables, cattle, sheep, and goats, are used for consumption and commerce. Increasing winter temperatures are leading to the degradation of the fragile ecosystem upon which the population of Shyrkyn village depends, reducing their profitability from farming and cattle breeding, and thus threatening their livelihoods.

In the project area, rising temperatures and decreasing precipitation will lower availability of water in the soil, and will reduce the resilience of croplands and pastures to dust storms and dry winds. As dust storms and dry winds become more frequent, the aridity and the soil erosion increases, stressing the natural ecosystem and reducing the productivity of farmlands and pasturelands. These climate change risks will later trigger a cycle of poverty and food insecurity in this region.

This Community-Based Adaptation project’s goal is to reduce land degradation risks stemming from increasing summer temperatures, hot winds and declining winter snowfall. The project was prepared through a participatory process carried out by a local NGO, Farmer and Entrepreneur Support Fund Public Foundation, and involved all sectors of the community. It is designed to increase the adaptive capacity of the Shyrkyn village to climate change variability by building forest protection belts that reduce wind erosion, and by piloting a drip irrigation system as a water efficiency method in the context of increasing aridity and lack of water resources.

To achieve these objectives, the project will implement a number of activities. Wells will be drilled and pumps installed to provide irrigation water to local communities. Studies will be conducted to ascertain the ideal locations for forest belts to reduce wind erosion. Orchards/forest shelter belts will be planted and improved irrigation systems will be established and demonstrated at a pilot site.

The project also contains a capacity building component that aims to train community members on efficient use of drain wells and forest belts to reduce soil moisture loss and soil erosion caused by winds, as well as to improve remote grazing practices. Finally, it includes an awareness programme to help the community better understand the long-term climate change risks, as well as their options for adaptation.

Level of Intervention: 
Key Collaborators: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Farmers/Pastoralists; Water Users
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Farmer and Entrepreneur Support Fund Public Foundation
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
The GEF Small Grants Programme
Government of Switzerland
Project Status: 
Financing Amount: 
Co-Financing Total: 
$2,700 (in cash), $78,000 (in kind)

Key Results and Outputs

Outcome 1 (co-financing):  Baseline agricultural water needs met

Drill a well (Output 1.1), install a pump for irrigation (Output 1.2), and provide community training for efficient use of drain wells (Output 1.3).

Outcome 2  (co-financing):  Reduced land degradation and overgrazing pressures

Transport young cattle to remote pastures (to lands owned by local production cooperative) (Output 2.1) and train communities on efficient use of remote grazing practices (Output 2.2).

Outcome 3: Community capacity built to incorporate climate change considerations into sustainable rangeland management

Increase community awareness of long-term climate change risks (Output 3.1) and train community members in use of forest belts to reduce soil moisture loss and wind erosion (Output 3.2).

Outcome 4: Climate-resilient sustainable livelihood practices piloted, reducing risks stemming from declining soil water retention and winter snowfall

Conduct study to ascertain ideal locations for forest belt construction to reduce wind erosion (Output 4.1). Plant orchard/forest shelter belts in pilot site (Output 4.2). Establish and demonstrate improved irrigation systems in pilot sites (Output 4.3).

Outcome 5: Lessons learned from project activities leveraged for replication elsewhere

Present lessons learned to local stakeholders (Output 5.1) and disseminate then through national media (Output 5.2).


Reports and Publications

Annual Reports

Community-Based Adaptation in Kazakhstan and Central Asia

Assessments and Background Documents

CBA Kazakhstan - Shymkent - Final Evaluation

Project Brief / Fact Sheet

CBA Kazakhstan - Shymkent - Fast Facts


CBA Kazakhstan - Shymkent - Project Proposal (EN)

CBA Kazakhstan - Shymkent - Project Concept (EN)

CBA Kazakhstan - Shymkent - Project Proposal (RUS)

CBA Kazakhstan - Shymkent - Project Concept (RUS)

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation for community-based adaptation is a new field, and the CBA project is piloting innovative approaches to evaluating the success of locally-driven adaptation projects, and generating lessons to inform ongoing practice.

Key considerations in M&E for CBA include:

  • Grounding M&E in the local context: M&E for CBA should avoid overly rigid frameworks, recognizing community heterogeneity and maintaining local relevance
  • Capturing global lessons from local projects: CBA projects are highly contextualized, but lessons generated should be relevant to stakeholders globally
  • Incorporation of both quantitative and qualitative indicators: to ground projects in tangible changes that can be objectively evaluated, and to capture lessons and case studies for global dissemination

To these ends, the CBA project uses three indicator systems: the Vulnerability Reduction Assessment, the Small Grants Programme Impact Assessment System, and the UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Indicator Framework.

The Vulnerability Reduction Assessment (VRA)

The VRA is a question-based approach with the following aims:

  • To make M&E responsive to community priorities
  • To use M&E to make projects more accountable to local priorities
  • To make M&E capture community ideas and local knowledge
  • To gather community-level feedback to guide ongoing project management
  • To generate qualitative information
  • To capture lessons on specific issues within community-based adaptation
  • To generate case studies highlighting adaptation projects

The VRA follows UNDP's Adaptation Policy Framework, and is measured in a series of meetings with local community stakeholders. In these meetings, locally-tailored questions based on standard VRA questions/indicators are posed, and the community assigns a numerical score on a 1-10 scale for each question. Progress is evaluated through changes in scores over the course of implementation, as well as through qualitative data collected in community discussions surrounding the exercise.

UNDP has developed a Users Guide to the VRA (Espanol) (Francais) as a tool to assist practitioners to conceptualize and execute VRA measurements in the context of CBA projects.

The SGP Impact Assessment System (IAS)

The CBA, being a project of the GEF Strategic Priority on Adaptation, aims to increase the resilience of ecosystems and communities to the impacts of climate change, generating global environmental benefits, and increasing their resilience in the face of climate change impacts. To this end, the CBA projects use the SGP's impact assessment system for monitoring achievements in GEF focal areas (focusing primarily on biodiversity and sustainable land management).

The IAS is composed of a number of quantitative indicators which track biophysical ecosystem indicators, as well as policy impact, capacity development and awareness-building.

UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Indicator Framework

CBA projects also track quantitative indicators from UNDP's adaptation indicator framework, corresponding to the thematic area on natural resources management. More information on UNDP's indicator framework can be found on the UNDP climate change adaptation monitoring and evaluation website.


This description applies to all projects implemented through UNDP's Community-Based Adaptation programme. Specific details on this project's M&E will be included here as they become available. *


Farmer and Entrepreneur Support Fund PF
Rais Karaibragimov
Fund Manager
CBA Project Management Unit