“Unless the international community acts, then I am afraid that my grandchildren will never experience the same sights I did as a child with my father.”
That’s the penetrating statement made by the President of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Zhaparov, who stated in a recent interview with the Independent that countries like his are being swept aside in the climate conversation.
The West is ignoring the impacts of climate change on mountainous countries, he claims.
“The world is facing global climate change, which is fraught with dangerous consequences. This is especially true for us mountain countries because these problems are more dynamic and specific – glaciers melting and natural water reserves decreasing, which can lead to imminent disaster.”
Following an emotive speech at COP26 on how countries in the higher altitudes are being overlooked as victims of climate change, the Kyrgyz President is now calling on the rest of the world to provide more reasonable aid and take further effort to understand these issues.
Zhaparov stated: “I am a frequent visitor to the village where I was born and I can see that the glaciers are disappearing in the blink of an eye. The reason I raised this issue at Glasgow and since is that I am a witness to the effects of climate change in our own mountains.
“People do not talk about it as they do the impact of climate change on other states as they are not aware of a country like Kyrgyzstan and the problems here. If it was a big country like the UK or USA and they had these problems, then it would be different. The international community does not notice us and they should,” he remarked.
Kyrgyzstan boasts almost 160 mountain ranges, with six million people calling it home.
The UN has revealed that close to 40% of the world rely in some way on mountainous resources, whether that be for drinking, agriculture or power – from hydroelectricity.
The President also argues that key elements of biodiversity are being lost to the region, which are endemic – including the already dwindling snow leopard.
He implored: “Given the growing scarcity of water resources, we are working to introduce water-sparing technologies in agriculture and other sectors of the national economy.
“Kyrgyzstan will welcome any unconditional assistance of the international community that will underpin our efforts to mitigate and adapt to the climate change.”