Background Paper. Climate Change Information and Knowledge in Central Asia

 19 October 2020

I.      Introduction: Information and Knowledge Recipients and Producers

1.1. The climate change information plays a significant part in the decision making process. For instance, weather, climate and water data are a crucial source of information for efficient management of water resources, agricultural development, transport and infrastructure, and power[1]. Please see the background paper[2] for more details on climate services in the form of forecasts and information enhancing the climate risk communication.

1.2. This paper offers an overview of information on climate change knowledge currently existing within various mechanisms and processes, and a description of ways to communicate it to end users, with a focus on Central Asia. The paper also outlines categories of potential information users and climate change knowledge holders and producers, as well as their role in the dissemination and communication of this knowledge to other recipients.

1.3. Climate change information recipients mostly include policy makers, researchers, academics and scholars, students, practitioners and specialists from key ministries and agencies, private sector, farmers, and local communities. It is worth mentioning that the type of the information needed or requested varies from users/recipients to users/recipients. For instance, while students or researchers are more interested in receiving an evidence-based material or publication, farmers will be opting for forecasts (climate, weather, water, extreme weather events) in order to make decisions about planting or harvesting seasons.   

1.4. Climate change information holders or producers include different subject matter experts and specialists experienced in information collection, analysis and transfer in a convenient and relevant format, and in a language understandable for the user. For example, the regularly published National Communications on climate change (the UNFCCC commitments) are the result of joint efforts by national teams of experts from various ministers and agencies at the country level (Novikov, 2018).[3] The Communications include sections on national inventories of greenhouse gases, vulnerability and adaptation assessment, as well as climate change mitigation and emission reduction measures. These publications are of an informative and evidential character, and provided to the UNFCCC Secretariat for subsequent compilation and consolidation into global reports on climate change (UNFCCC, 2019)[4].  

1.5. Climate change knowledge producers also include civic organizations in the Central Asian region, which offer regular trainings on climate change for local communities and actors. Their main target audience (knowledge recipients) includes local communities and farmers. Other knowledge holders include researchers and teachers who generate climate change materials and are actors in conveying their knowledge to students and other groups. They are also inclusive of national experts in Central Asian countries involved in international climate change projects. Apart from their knowledge, they possess institutional memory and have existing networks which involve stakeholders from other agencies working in the area of climate change (Legros and Zeman, 2017).[5]

II.   Methods and Approaches to the Transfer of Information and Knowledge

2.1. It is on record that there are currently a lot of methods and approaches to receive and disseminate information and knowledge on climate change. Canonical examples include conferences, workshops, trainings and other events that enable face-to-face communication between participants and enhance the information exchange. On the other hand, there is a range of online tools (special web sites on climate change, information portals and social networks) which offer information of a technical and popular-science nature for various target groups, from decision makers to scientists, practitioners, technical specialists and ordinary people. See Inset 1.

Inset 1. Examples of regional dialogue platforms on climate change

The annual Central Asia Climate Change Conference (CACCC) aims to foster a regional dialogue on climate change adaptation and mitigation by exploring opportunities for joint actions among Central Asia states and other key stakeholders. It was initiated by the World Bank in 2013 while annual CACCC sessions are currently funded by CAMP4ASB and organized by CAREC (CAREC, 2020).[6]

The Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) is a region-wide initiative to manage climate change adaptation knowledge and apply it in the region. It supports governments and other entities working in the area of climate change through knowledge dissemination and capacity building. Its key objective is to establish climate-resilient systems, ecosystems and economy through knowledge mobilization, improvement of institutional capacities and enhancement of decision-making processes, as well as facilitation of access to finances and technologies (APAN, 2019).

The EU-CA Working Group on Environment and Climate Change

The WGECC works to establish and enhance a dialogue on policy making between the European Union and Central Asian countries and within the Central Asian region, in order to expand cooperation and facilitate progress in environment protection and climate change. The WGECC meetings set general priorities in exchanging information and experiences (WECOOP, 2019).[7]


2.2. Online platforms are another tool as they have become most coveted in 2020 due to the pandemic. To date, these tools (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex) are leading platforms for trainings and workshops (UNFCCC 2020[8]). They have been improved to accommodate large-scale virtual conferences on climate change in various languages, with the simultaneous interpretation capacity (CAREC Institute, 2020 and CAREC, 2020).[9] More information on online techniques and methods is available in the background paper on scientific achievements and approaches to the climate change research (CAREC/CAMP4ASB, 2020).

2.3. Dialogue platforms, forums and conferences at the international and regional levels are an efficient and potent way to share information and communicate it to different recipients, and a driving force for decision-making and investment in the climate change action. For example, the regional climate change conference in Central Asia, organized by the World Bank in 2013, commenced the preparatory process for the regional Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program for the Aral Sea Basin (best known for its acronym, CAMP4ASB). The annual conferences, therefore, went on under this Program. Yet another example is the Berlin high-level conference early in 2020 for politicians from Central Asian countries. It provided an opportunity to start a new initiative, Green Central Asia: Enhancing Environment, Climate and Water Resilience, involving Afghanistan (Green Central Asia 2020)[10].

III.         Gaps and Challenges for Information Dissemination and
      Ways to Address Them (CACIP)

3.1. Climate change has lately been paid due attention, resulting in various international initiatives and projects which enable the development of new knowledge and information on climate change. And yet, there are quite a few pressing issues. In Central Asian countries, barriers to the information access include Internet restrictions, special data format, lack of information in local languages, weak analytical component of the information provided, and lack of knowledge on the sources of information (Legros and Zeman, 2017).[11]

3.2. Taking into account the need in information and knowledge on climate change in Central Asia, there is some headway in establishing information platforms under various projects and initiatives. For instance, CAMP4ASB is currently working on structuring a unified climate change platform for a broad range of users from all over the Central Asian region. The CACIP, or Central Asian Climate Information Platform, developed by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and its partners under the CAREC’s guidance, aims to help stakeholders and partners gain access to available data and information on climate change in order to improve awareness and support decision making.

3.3. The information platform is expected to collect comprehensive and relevant data and information from global, regional and local sources for storing analytical products and data visualization in a convenient format. The platform also offers an interactive interface for data request and interpretation, e.g., by using the GIS tools and different models. The link to the portal is at    

IV.   Climate Change Information and Knowledge in the CACCC-2020

4.1. The main objective of the session is to provide examples of the latest achievements in climate change information and knowledge dissemination in Central Asia. Special attention will be paid to the presentation of the Central Asian Climate Information Platform (CACIP), one of the key products made under the CAMP4ASB project.

4.2. Other speakers of the session include the head of the World Bank’s global cluster for breakthrough technologies, who will talk about current methods and services regarding access to climate data and analysis, and will also share his experiences in establishing and maintaining similar platforms created under other initiatives. This will be helpful in learning the lessons of existing portals, and in improving the CACIP’s context and technical component.

4.3. The topic and the discussion will be augmented by examples of other transmission channels for climate change information, including the input by civic organizations, best practices and lessons learned. These will help improve the CACIP’s system functionality and expand the range of users to include local communities and farmers.

[1] See the official WMO web site:

[2] The background paper on climate services has been prepared under CACCC-2019 and can be accessed here

[3] Novikov, Viktor, 2018: presentation for the CACCC-2018: “Special Features on Preparing Information Products for Policy Makers”

[4] Visit for more details

[5] Legros, Susan and Zeman, Jerzy, 2017: Climate Knowledge for Action in Central Asia. Analytical Report, unpublished. Available on request. CAMP4ASB.

[6] More details at:

[7] More details at:

[8] An example of the online platform:

[9] An example of the virtual regional climate change conference, organized by the Central Asian regional network of economic cooperation (CAREC Institute):, and the oncoming Central Asia Climate Change Conference (CACCC-2020), organized by CAREC, October 19-23, 2020:

[10] More details at:

[11] Legros, Susan and Zeman, Jerzy, 2017: Climate Knowledge for Action in Central Asia. Analytical Report, unpublished. Available on request. CAMP4ASB.

This publication is available in Russian