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Central Asian Desert Initiative (CADI) – conservation and sustainable use of winter-cold deserts in Central Asia

As of: January 2022

The winter-cold deserts of Central Asia are important migration areas for birds and for the last wild ungulate herds of the north, which include the rare Saiga antelopes. The grazing grounds in these areas are also an important basis for the livelihoods of the local human populations. In addition, these unique natural regions absorb large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and slow down the ongoing process of desertification. The project helps the partner institutions with sustainable land use planning that involves the region’s populations, and also supports the establishment of protected areas and world natural heritage sites. It networks key stakeholders and supports the partner countries in implementing their international CBD and UNFCCC obligations. This is carried out by means of policy advice, scientific cooperation, training measures and the introduction of the regional desert initiative “CADI” – the Central Asian Desert Initiative.

State of implementation/results

  • Publication of the expedition report on the Ustjurt expeditions in Kazakhstan from 2017-2019. (…)
  • CADI Fellowship Program: Support of six scholarship holders from Iran, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Uzbekistan (five publications to date).
  • Elaboration and implementation of a CADI communication strategy by the MSS and online placement of the trilingual CADI project homepage
  • New info poster on biodiversity in the Aral region. (cadi.
  • Creation of a project flyer, biannual distribution of a CADI newsletter, and creation of a CADI Instagram (…) and Facebook account (…).
  • Development of an exemplary biodiversity monitoring concept for the "winter cold deserts" biome in Kazakhstan.
  • Biodiversity expeditions to the southern Ustjurt Plateau in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
  • Implementation of IPBES workshops in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
  • Publication of results of CADI biodiversity expeditions to the Ustjurt Plateau in Uzbekistan: The Caracal Caracal Schreber, 1776 (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) in Uzbekistan, author Mariya Gritsina. (…)
  • Media: online clips about the deserts of Central Asia from the YouTube channel "Vse Kak U Zverei" such as "The Eight Most Terrifying Animals of the Desert" (…;feature=emb_title), "Lifehacks that Save Your Life" (…;feature=emb_title), and "Why Do We Find Some Animals So Cute?" (…;feature=emb_title).
  • Online digital herbaria of the floras of Kazakhstan ( and Turkmenistan (
  • Conducting capacity building workshops in Uzbekistan to improve food security for small farmers in winter-cold deserts. (…)

Further Links

Project data

China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

Implementing organisation:
Universität Greifswald / University of Greifswald

Political partner(s):
  • Ministry of Agriculture - Kazakhstan
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection - Turkmenistan
  • Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • State Committee on Forestry of the Republic of Uzbekistan / Staatliches Komitee für Forstwesen der Republik Usbekistan - Usbekistan

Implementing partner(s):
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) - Uzbekistan
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Subregional Office for Central Asia - Türkei
  • Michael-Succow-Foundation / Michael Succow Stiftung

BMU grant:
3.811.831,00 €

07/2016  till  06/2022


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