Environmental GIS/RS Center signs research agreement on reducing damage from droughts in Kyrgyzstan with UNESCAP
Drought monitoring system to be developed using satellite images, and management capacity enhanced based on social economic indicators
Impact of droughts countered via Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
▲ The attendees of the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) held in Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan on July 4 pose for a commemorative photo.
Korea University’s Environmental GIS/RS Center and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) provided consulting on establishing a drought monitoring system in Kyrgyzstan, and discussed directions for research cooperation on reducing the impact of droughts.
The two institutes offered consulting at the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) held in Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan on July 4 and 5. Previously, at the 11th Session of the SPECA Working Group in Bishkek from June 26 to 27, countries in Central Asia stated that they were facing challenges in the management of water resources, and the related food and ecosystem problems were causing difficulties in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The EGM was attended by researchers from the Environmental GIS/RS Center, and more than 40 local and international experts, including Ahmatov Kalys, Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations; Renat Tokbaev, head of the External Relations and Investment Division at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Industry and Amelioration; Aliona Niculita, Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP; Dinara Rakhmanova, Assistant Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization; Isaev Erikin, Chief Specialist of the Agency on Hydrometeorology at the Ministry of Emergency Situations; Dr. Tae-hyung Kim of UNESCAP; Dr. Wu Bingfang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Professor Byung-ryeol Lee of Jeju National University; Dr. Hye-kyung Kang of the Korean Research Institute for Human Settlements; Sun-myung Hong, professional engineer of the Korean Professional Engineers Association; and Dr. Rishiraj of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center.
▲ Professor Woo-Kyun Lee gives a presentation entitled, “Proposal of Decision-Making Model for Drought Monitoring and Early Warning in Kyrgyzstan Based on Geospatial Statistics.”
Under the research agreement, the Environmental GIS/RS Center expects to 1) establish a drought monitoring system using satellite images, 2) derive adequate farmland and grassland areas, 3) identify optimal sites for irrigation facilities, 4) conduct research with local universities, 5) organize invitational training programs, and 6) dispatch experts. Given the current lack of research cooperation between Korea and Central Asia, the team hopes to stimulate research exchange with Kyrgyzstan and neighboring countries. A key outcome will be the enhanced capabilities of Kyrgyzstan officials and students in drought monitoring.
Ahmatov Kalys, the Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations, said, “We must determine the causes of droughts and present optimal solutions. Drought monitoring must be performed in various contexts, including hydrological, meteorological, and agricultural.” Professor Woo-Kyun Lee said, “The extent of damage due to a shortage of water in soil and crops can change depending on the government’s competency. An important research topic is to assess how the effects of an unpredictable climate are alleviated by having reliable social policies and systems.”
The GIS/RS team may conduct research in conjunction with the development of a system for food-water-ecosystem monitoring, vulnerability assessment and adaptive route sharing based on earth observation data, which will be carried out by Korea University’s Department of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering from 2018 to 2020 (Principal Investigator: Professor Woo-Kyun Lee). The focus on hydrology and food production is expected to support the nexus approach to the SDGs. Moreover, the target areas can be expanded by cooperating with the Mid-Latitude Region Network (MLRN), an international research network established to resolve environmental issues in the mid-latitude regions.
From 2016 to 2018, the Environmental GIS/RS Center conducted research on developing disaster risk indicators for floods, droughts, sandstorms, and air pollution in Central Asia, including Kyrgyzstan. The Center also identified areas prone to disasters through active cooperation with local researchers in Kazakhstan.