Land degradation is a serious economic, social, and environmental problem in the transition economies of the Central Asia. It directly affects the livelihood of the rural population by reducing the productivity of land resources and adversely affecting the stability, functions, and services derived from natural systems. Agricultural yields are reported to have declined by 20-30 percent across the region since these countries achieved independence over a decade ago, causing annual losses of agricultural production as much as US$2 billion.
The GEF is helping to address challenges in this region by investing in the multicountry partnership program, the Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM).
The CACILM (Total Financing in the first phase: US$ 155.5 million; GEF Grant: US$21.8 million; GEF Agencies: ADB, UNDP) is a 10-year, multicountry, multidonor program promoting SLM to restore, maintain, and enhance productivity of Drylands. The goal of CACILM is to combat land degradation while also improving rural livelihoods across the region. It is anticipated that in the second and third phase significantly more resources will be invested in SLM-related activities in the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, by the partnership of national governments, the GEF, implementing agencies, and other donors.
In order to implement projects effectively, each Central Asian Country has developed a National Programming Framework (NPF) for tackling the root causes of desertification.
The program benefits from a multicountry approach because regional activities can complement national actions. Projects that fall under the CACILM initiative support the following objectives: capacity building for mainstreaming SLM and ensuring integrated SLM planning and management; development of an SLM information system; SLM research; information dissemination and knowledge management.