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Kazakhstan is championing climate-smart farming – Report says

IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) alongside the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre (www.BRICSCompetition.org) and the TALAP Center for Applied Research have presented the results of their joint research in the Central Asia Pavilion at COP28 in Dubai. Michael Obersteiner, Director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, and Principal Research Scholar in ASA presented the key findings of ASA's report "Carbon Farming in Kazakhstan: Unlocking an Opportunity" which discusses the prospects and challenges of implementing carbon farming in Kazakhstan. The report has provided a comprehensive tailoring of current scientific understanding of carbon farming and trading to the context of Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

Carbon farming is a practice that involves sequestering carbon in soil and vegetation through sustainable land management practices. This practice has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its potential to mitigate climate change and provide economic and social benefits. The report highlights the potential of carbon farming in Kazakhstan, a country with vast agricultural lands and natural resources. Kazakhstan has set an ambitious goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2030, and carbon farming can play a significant role in achieving this target.

"Sustainable land management and ecosystem restoration activities have the capacity to serve new economic development opportunities for farming communities in rural areas which could help reduce the urban-rural disparities of the country. Through trading carbon credits, farmers could earn income for planting diverse cover crops, creating buffer zones, and adopting agroecological approaches thatrenew habitat and restore ecosystems. In the long run, rural communities may participate in eco-tourism initiatives, or access funding for sustainable agriculture projects. Overall, carbon farming has the potential to improve economic welfare in rural regions hindered by land degradation. Revival of such lands unlocks opportunity for new employment and enterprise which could have positive spillover effects at the local, regional and national scale" said Alexey Ivanov, Director, BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre.

According to the report, it estimates the technical potential of sequestration activities in Kazakhstan's agricultural sector to reach as much as 535 Mt per year with 141 Mt per year (or 40% of the country's current annual net emissions of 351 MtCO2e achievable at less than US$ 100/tCO2e. A bulk of this cost-effective potential comes from agroforestry (93 MtCO2e) and the adoption of carbon sequestration practices on croplands (18 MtCO2e) and grasslands (23 MtCO2e).

"Voluntary carbon markets have reached nearly $2bn globally and are forecast to grow many times over the coming decades. Proprietary carbon unit projects have already been launched in Australia, the UK, the EU, the US and China. According to OECD estimates, to achieve a zero emissions balance by 2050, the price of carbon should be $147/tonne CO2-equivalent by 2030. At the same time, the potential for absorption/reduction of emissions on cultivated land in Kazakhstan is estimated at up to 35 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent/year. This represents billions of dollars of revenue for the agricultural sector, which is important in terms of improving the welfare of farmers, who tend to be more vulnerable than urban dwellers. Kazakhstan's future experience with carbon farming and carbon sequestration technologies can be scaled up to the Asian Dry Belt region. Kazakhstan's programme could become an example for other countries looking for ways to achieve their climate goals." - Mike Obersteiner, Director of the Institute of Environmental Change at the University of Oxford and Chief Scientist at IIASA added.

Overall, the discussion highlighted the potential commodification of carbon sequestration systems and Eurasia's pivotal role in hosting trading platforms. With the research findings shown in the report it will add to the commercialisation of the carbon farming throughout Kazakhstan. The Republic of Kazakhstan aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and the researchers believe that the carbon farming will help the country to achieve its goals, create a new environmentally-oriented industry that benefits not only Kazakhstan but the entire world.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre.

About BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre:
The BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre was established in 2018 by the BRICS competition authorities. The Centre's work is aimed at collecting and analyzing information from competition agencies, identifying best practices, but primarily at preparing recommendations and developing approaches to competition policy that reflect the interests of the development of the BRICS economies. The key mission of the BRICS Competition Centre is to advance the development agenda and strengthen the role of competition regulation in overcoming imbalances in the global economy. The Centre brings together leading international universities and independent researchers who are actively involved in the Centre's main research projects: on global food chains, on sustainability policy and on new approaches to antitrust regulation of the digital economy.

About IIASA:
The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria is an international scientific institute that conducts policy-oriented research into global challenges arising from economic and technological development facing the twenty-first century such as climate change, natural resources management, or inequality. IIASA was established in 1972 by a joint initiative of the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Currently IIASA is supported by 21 national and regional member which represent over 60% of the global population and almost 70% of the global economy. A significant proportion of IIASA's research explores nature-positive solutions striving for economically viable environmentally- and socially positive solutions which bring in multifaceted development and international commendations. Over the years, IIASA has developed a rich and meaningful relationship with researchers, diplomats, and policymakers across Central Asia.

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