Welcome to Environment-CA. This project is currently in its initial stages of development, with a primary focus on establishing connections among young researchers, professionals, and activists who are committed to advancing the cause of environmentally just transitions in Central Asia.

As defined by the EJ Atlas research group, environmental justice “includes multi-dimensional and interlinked aspects of justice related to three fundamental dimensions: distribution, recognition and participation”. More than anything, this website aims to contribute to the participation dimension by empowering youth in Central Asia and beyond through access to information and resources about issues faced in the region.

The contribution of this website

Four of the five countries that compose Central Asia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, are signatories of the 1998 Aarhus Convention, which places transparency and participation at the core of the evaluation of development projects. Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have announced grand strategies for sustainable energy transitions with the introduction of a range of solar and hydropower projects on a national scale. Research shows, however, that some of these seemingly sustainable initiatives are nevertheless accompanied by environmental injustices and lack participatory mechanisms for the inclusion of disadvantaged stakeholder groups.

What is more surprising, however, is how little quality research is available internationally on the issue of environmental justice and sustainable energy transitions in Central Asia. Moreover, compared to other regions in the Global South, the involvement of international NGOs and activist groups seems minimal when it comes to EJ. For more information on this, see this critical paper by Vakulchuk et al. (2022) titled “A Void in Central Asia Research: Climate Change“.

One piece of great news is that a number of young researchers and activists from the region are starting to conduct new explorations in this domain. To facilitate this knowledge sharing process, this website aims to connect those looking to make informed, evidence-based decisions with those who are conducting such vital research.

How to navigate the site

The website contains three key sections: Resources, China in Central Asia and News.
The first, Resources, provides a compilation of sources dealing with environmental justice and sustainable energy transitions in the five Central Asian countries. These are accompanied by links to relevant expert groups, organisations and available databases. Although the aim is to consolidate existing information to make it accessible in English, some of the resources are only available in Russian or the local language of the country.

The second section contains a more detailed overlook of China’s role in Central Asia and its involvement in energy projects in the context of the Green Belt and Road Initiative. Here a disclaimer is necessary. This digital initiative started as part of a dissertation project based on three case studies of Chinese investments in energy projects in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Hence, the information and available case studies are mostly related to this topic. As the initiative grows, the aim is to create a collaborative platform for young researchers to share insights on any other topics at the EJ-Central Asia nexus.

The News section is currently under development and will be used as a platform to introduce some recent articles by young researchers or evidence from the ground provided by local activists and NGOs.

The key objective of this platform is connecting and empowering young minds. For this reason, collaboration is at the core of the project’s development. And so, should you or anyone you know have relevant ideas, insights or contributions, please get in touch.

All creative commons rights reserved. Photos courtesy of Unsplash and used only for educational purposes.