Case Study of the Central Asia Biodiversity Project : an independent evaluation of the World Bank's support of regional programs


This paper points out that the Central Asia Biodiversity Project, approved in May 1999, aimed to achieve four objectives: (a) support vulnerable biological communities and ensure conservation of globally important biodiversity in the Western Tien Shan territory; (b) assist the three countries to strengthen and coordinate national policies, legislative frameworks, and institutional arrangements for biodiversity protection; (c) identify alternative income-generating activities for local communities to reduce pressure on protected nature reserves; and (d) establish a regional coordination/cooperation system for biodiversity conservation to prevent fragmentation of habitat corridors. The project achieved most of its major objectives by the time it was completed. It was successful in expanding the territory under nature reserves and national parks, and significantly improving the management of protected areas. As a result, the population of several animal and plant species either increased or was restored to target levels. But the outcome of conservation efforts in areas adjacent to protected areas has yet to become fully evident. The project was also not fully successful in establishing a trans-boundary biosphere reserve and it took two years longer to implement than originally planned due to a slow start.