Clima East Pilot Project "Ecosystem-based approaches to climate change"

Photo Credits: UNDP Azerbaijan

Project Summary

Climate change is the overarching factor exacerbating the human-caused degradation of pastures in the Greater Caucasus. Climate change will impact and is thought to already be impacting the composition, extent and distribution of pastures in the Greater Caucasus. Despite the fact that climate change will be quite favorable for summer pastures, their area will not expand, and might even diminish. This will be mainly caused by soil erosion and an increasing use of lands for crops as well as increased evaporative demands.

The project will be co-funded by the European Union and UNDP. Clima East is a 4 year project funded by the EU supporting ENP East countries and Russia to equip for greenhouse gas emission reduction and prepare them to cope with climate change impacts.

Project Objectives

The purpose of the project is to support the design and application of sustainable pasture management practices in the country with the overall objective of improving pasture/soil condition in the selected target zones (Ismayilli region) that would ultimately result in improved soil condition and land management practices which leads to enhanced CO2 sequestration and absorption by the grasslands.

The project will facilitate the carbon stock measurements and pasture monitoring on restored areas. Pasture monitoring manuals of GIZ will be used to conduct the monitoring of soil and vegetation conditions in the target zones. Trainings and study tours will be organized to ensure the sustainability of the effective pasture management.

Providing pasture restoration treatments designed to enhance carbon is critical as soil carbon of these mountain pastures has decreased. The purpose of increasing carbon stocks is not only important from a climate change perspective, but is critical on these sites to increase ecological resilience

Project Accomplishments

2013 2014
  • Pasture inventory area is identified and agreed with stakeholders;
  • Pasture inventory team comprised of international and local experts is formed;
  • Pilot area is available at digital level with location of farm camps (including GPS points, GIS based climatic zone map, forest cover, soil/vegetation cover);
  • Project management team recruited.
  • Detailed project work plan developed and approved.
  • Draft pasture inventory methodology is prepared and will be improved by March 2014;
  • Baseline carbon calculated for the region based on IPCC 2006 tier 2 methodologies with taking of soil samplings and satellite data based on remote sensing;
  • Starting from 2014 October several farm areas were visited and restoration activities got started;
  • Pasture inventory team comprised of international and local experts is formed last year and inventory for the 3000 ha implemented with taking into account all aspects indicated in the project document; Inventory comprises two steps: 
  •          1. Socio economic research with individual farmers and basic data for ecological condition assessment, identification of pasture borders, identification of management units based on our and herders’s knowledge 
  •           2. Detailed ecological assessment of each management units and deriving of management recommendations
2015 2016
  • 16 pastures have been visited with the local team with participation of local government and other interested parties;
  • International experts on pasture management visited the pilot area to communicate with the farmers to instruct the local expert to avoid missing information;
  • All farms are evaluated from the socio economic aspects and report on incentives to support the farmers during the application of management plans has been prepared;
  • Regular meetings with the ministry of Ecology and local stakeholders and coordination meetings with GIZ SMBP, UNDP SLFM, IEC projects conducted to inform about upcoming activities and coordinate them to avoid duplication;
  • Training on pasture management together with the UNDP SLFM project has been conducted based on the methodology prepared by EC Clima East Pilot Azerbaijan;
  • Regional meeting in Moldova, presentation of constrains and results achieved;
  • Meeting with the new appointed EU Delegation programme officer, Ulviyya Abdullayeva and reporting about the project and submission of the materials and visibility links;
  • Cooperation with Greifswald University and sharing of “EC Clima East Pasture assessment tool” to be used under other projects to be implemented in Azerbaijan and Georgia;
  • Continuation of pasture restoration activities together with the local restoration and agronomist experts. Fencing of highly eroded areas, tree planting and sowing of esparset mixed with the local traditional seeds collected around during the season;
  • Professional video shootings to prepare film about the activities of EC Clima East Project in COP21 UNDP Azerbaijan communication officer is responsible to manage presentation of the film in COP21. The film will be finalised by 15th of November.
  • Deep socio economic analysis carried out for the identification of needs for the farmers to ensure implementation of the pasture management plans;
  • Pasture management plans have been prepared for the ~ 3000 ha of pastures;
  • In cooperation with GEF and UNDP funded SLFM project, pasture curricula and teaching modules prepared and approved by the Minister of the Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
  • Several local and international experts recruited to prepare ecosystem based approaches (integrated local and international practices) for the local farmers and governmental bodies for better management of the natural resources (pasture resources);
  • Demonstration plots with different approaches ( with fertilizers nad wise versa, with seeding and without, tree plantings near to cliffs with potential soil erosion spots and etc,) established to show the results of the recovery and rehabilitation of pastures;
  • 7 trainings provided to the local stakeholders based on pasture curricula modules for VET schools supported by the Ministry of Education;
  • The Strategic Road Map document approved by the President of the republic of Azerbaijan;
  • Several visibility activities have been carried together with local NGO, EcoSfera on sustainable use of forest and pasture resources for the rural population of the high mountain villages. The activity has been carried out in a cooperation with GEF and UNDP funded SLFM project;
  • The project, based on EU initiatives participated in the visibility programme for the 25th year anniversary of EU in Azerbaijan and cooperated with all environmental projects funded by the EU in Azerbaijan. As a result, the joint brochure, film and fair organised by the project to present the projects;
  • Due to the 25th anniversary of EU in Azerbaijan, trip to the pilot region with participation of local and international journalists organized. As a result, the film on ClimaEast Pilot Azerbaijan and article on local newspapers were produced and published;
  • Photo essay, the best photo on Environmental Protection has been conducted jointly with EU funded projects with participation of EU Ambassador in Azerbaijan, Malena Mard.

Overall Project Accomplishments (by three areas):

  1. Pasture Inventory for pilot regions is carried out
  • Inventory of the pastures in the pilot regions completed;
  • Package of modifications in land and forest legislation and related regulations, policies, and standards for SLM and SFM at national and local level;
  • Strengthened capacity of institutions across sectors to collaborate and manage the Greater Caucasus landscape;
  • Stakeholders at national and local level have improved access to knowledge and data, strengthened social networks and new social capital to enable more sustainable management of pastureland and forest resources.

2. 3,000 ha of pastures in the pilot zones are restored

  • Pilot rayon-and local-level stakeholder cooperation mechanisms for cooperation on land management established in two rayons;
  • Integrated rayon-level pasture and forest management plans (IPFMP) accommodating SLM and SFM concerns designed and applied by resource users in 2 rayons to meet standards and avoid GHG emissions caused by unsustainable land-use practices;
  • Improved SLM and SFM compatible land-use in pilot communities;
  • Payment for ecosystem services mechanism piloted to reduce over-grazing and restore critical ecosystem services.

3. National capacities strengthened to monitor and track carbon flows in target zones

  • National LULUCF and REDD+ Action Plan developed and adopted and national and sub- national forest sector reference emissions levels set and communicated to UNFCCC;
  • Carbon flow monitoring protocols integrated in the national forest monitoring system based on refined methodological approaches for carbon stock field assessment;
  • Pilot restoration by reducing grazing and wood collecting pressure of 5,000 ha of degraded community forests and 9,000 ha of pastures.



Project start date:

January 2013

Estimated end date:

May 2017

Focus area:

  • accelerate structural transformations
  • Project office:

    UNDP in Azerbaijan

    Implementing partner:

    AZE-Min. of Ecol.& Natural Res

    Full project information  

    Funding Support by

    Donor name

  • United Nations Development Pro
  • European Commission
  • Amount contributed


    Delivery in previous fiscal year

    2018 $2,155

    2017 $98,237

    2016 $385,338

    2015 $442,879

    2014 $393,396

    2013 $177,860

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