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Climate risk profile: Central Asia - Fact Sheet

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The Central Asia region includes: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and the Kyrgyz Republic. Stretching from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north, the landlocked region boasts an ethnically and linguistically diverse population of 65 million people, and already suffers from significant climate change. Economic conditions and poverty rates range widely across the region. Fewer than 5% of the population in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan live on under the internationally agreed poverty threshold of $1.90 per day, while more than 40% live below this poverty threshold in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Most of Central Asia falls within arid and semiarid zones and is covered by grasslands, rangelands, deserts, and woodlands, with a dramatic physical landscape, ranging from grassy steppes and high mountains to deserts and large rivers, lakes, and seas. Expected climate change stressors include increases in temperature, extreme weather events, and glacial melt, while likely impacts include continued expansion of deserts and arid areas. Such stressors and impacts will add pressure to already stressed and exploited natural resources, such as pasture, forests and wildlife, and could increase the spread of transboundary pests. The exacerbated degradation of biodiversity, natural habitats, and ecosystems due to climate stressors increases vulnerability of impoverished and rural areas, which largely lack the financial or political capacity to overcome these growing challenges. Additionally, changes in climate will likely affect local and regional economies, as overexploitation and lack of resources are projected to impact key industries such as agriculture, energy, and other water-dependent activities. (10,11,14,31,40)