Central Asia


Zoï Books are produced for the United Nations, the European Union, regions, countries and a growing community of readers world-wide. We closely cooperate with GRID-Arendal in providing environmental information for decision-making.

Our digital library is available here.

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Mountains of Central Asia: Ecosystem profile, 2017

Zoï is leading the Ecosystem Profile process for the Mountains of Central Asia, funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). The Ecosystem Profile, launched in summer 2017, is the base for future grant-making to civil society groups working in the region.

A description of the project and all the corresponding publications are available here.



Visual summary:

pdf English     pdf Russian     ebook English     ebook Russian

Cartoon summary:

pdf English     pdf Russian     ebook English     ebook Russian

Metromaps: Water Connects, 2017

Maps of Central Asia and Switzerland-Europe produced for the high-level conference “Blue Peace Central Asia: Dialogue for 2030 - Water Security and Inclusive Growth” organized by Switzerland in Astana on June 19, 2017.

Event link


River System in Central Asia (English / Russian)

Switzerland and the European River System (English / Russian)

Climate Policy: Central Asia, Eastern Europe and South Caucasus, 2017

In a project implemented for EU DG Clima, Zoï has analysed climate policies in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and South Caucasus, summarised in a series of climate scorecards per each country.


Sample deliverables:     pdf     ebook


Armenia scorecard: ENG   pdf     ebook
  RUS   pdf     ebook
Azerbaijan scorecard:   ENG   pdf     ebook
  RUS   pdf     ebook
Belarus scorecard: ENG   pdf     ebook
  RUS   pdf     ebook
Georgia scorecard: ENG   pdf     ebook
  RUS   pdf     ebook
Kazakhstan scorecard: ENG   pdf     ebook
  RUS   pdf     ebook
Kyrgyzstan scorecard:  ENG   pdf     ebook
  RUS   pdf     ebook
Moldova scorecard: ENG   pdf     ebook
  RUS   pdf     ebook
Russia scorecard:  ENG   pdf     ebook
  RUS   pdf     ebook
Tajikistan scorecard:  ENG   pdf     ebook
  RUS   pdf     ebook
Turkmenistan scorecard:  ENG   pdf     ebook
  RUS   pdf     ebook
Ukraine scorecard:     ENG   pdf     ebook
  RUS   pdf     ebook
Uzbekistan scorecard:  ENG   pdf     ebook
  RUS   pdf     ebook


Reconciling resource uses in transboundary basins: assessment of the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus in the Syr Darya River Basin, 2017

Coordination between the water, energy, food and environment sectors is fraught with difficulties at the national level and the complexity increases substantially in transboundary basins. The “nexus approach” to managing interlinked resources has emerged as a way to enhance water, energy and food security by increasing efficiency, reducing trade-offs, building synergies and improving governance, while protecting ecosystems.

This publication contains the results of nexus assessment of the Syr Darya River Basin, shared by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, that has been carried out in the framework of the UNECE Water Convention’s programme of work for 2013–2015.



Protection of the environment in Tajikistan and Afghanistan: visual advocacy storyboards, 2016

Zoï has created three beautiful visual advocacy storyboards for community action in environmental protection (Water, Waste, Nature) in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.


Water for Life

  PDF:     English     Dari     Russian     Tajik

  Ebook:     English     Dari     Russian     Tajik



Wild Nature

  PDF:     English     Dari     Russian     Tajik

  Ebook:     English     Dari     Russian     Tajik


Pollution and Waste

  PDF:     English     Dari     Russian     Tajik

  Ebook:     English     Dari     Russian     Tajik

Addressing climate change: EU and Central Asia - A cartoon summary, 2016

A collection of cartoons on climate change, focussing on EU policies and agreements, as well as the situation in Central Asia countries.


CEPF and the Mountains of Central Asia flyer, 2016

The flyer describes the preparation of an Ecosystem Profile (led by Zoï) for the mountains of Central Asia - an investment strategy to guide future grant-making to civil society groups working in the region.






PDF:     English     Russian     Chinese     Dari

Ebook:     Russian     Chinese     Dari

The State of the Environment in Central Asia, 2015

Zoï, in close collaboration with the Regional Environmental Centre of Central Asia, is pleased to release a visual atlas of selected environmental indicators and priorities in Central Asia. The report was developed within the EU-funded FLERMONECA project, and covers air and water quality, biodiversity, mountains and deserts. We are proud that it was produced in the region mainly with locally available data, skills and expertise.



Strengthening cooperation in adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins of the Chu and Talas rivers, 2014

Surface water in Central Asia is a vital resource, and is particularly sensitive to climate change. The Chu River (in Kazakhstan it is called the Shu) and the Talas River flow through Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. These rivers support the livelihoods of more than 3 million people, and are the major sources of water used in agriculture. The interests of the two countries in the sharing of these rivers calls for cooperation – a common approach to management, a rational use of water resources and in the face of future climate change, the development of joint actions on adaptation.

The project, “Strengthening cooperation on adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins of the Chu and Talas Rivers”, has made an attempt to combine the joint management of transboundary water resources and the development of recommendations on adaptation to climate change.

Environment and Hydrology Cooperation between Afghanistan and Tajikistan: A Summary in Cartoons, 2014

This collection of cartoons illustrates how Afghanistan and Tajikistan cooperate on various environmental issues. Different aspects of this collaboration and the challenges which arise from it are shown in a reader-friendly way through the use of drawings, symbols and explanatory captions.

pdf Dari   pdf Russian   pdf Tajik

ebook Dari   ebook Russian   ebook Tajik


Waste and Chemicals in Central Asia, 2013

This report provides a synthesis of the available information on waste and chemicals in Central Asia, presented primarily in a visual format intended to help educators, students and decision makers in the mining, energy, chemistry, agriculture, municipal, health, environmental and other relevant sectors understand the scale and complexities of the task ahead. It was prepared by experts to communicate selected hotspots, challenges and successes to national, regional and international audiences.


Visual Atlas of Cooperation - Afghanistan and Tajikistan Environment and Hydrology in the Upper Amu Darya Basin, 2013

Zoï has contributed to UNECE water assessments and helped facilitate implementation of UNECE and United Nations conventions in Central Asia. Based on its previous work with Afghanistan, Zoï was invited to assist in the facilitation of the Afghan-Tajik cooperation process. In the development of this atlas, Zoï’s special talents for presenting environmental issues visually have been of particular value.

Economic development and natural resource management are top priorities for cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of Tajikistan. For both countries the adequate knowledge and sharing of information about natural resources and hazards are important.

With 100 photos and 50 maps and graphics based on official sources and original research, this well-illustrated atlas presents information at the river basin – as opposed to the national – level, and portrays challenges from the regional rather than the country perspective. With the objective of supplementing information already available in each of the countries, the atlas is designed to help local policymakers and experts as well as readers outside the region, donors and the international community understand the basin’s natural resources, common needs and priorities. It starts with brief introductions to the countries, illustrates the Amu Darya River basin as a part of the Aral Sea basin and provides details on the Upper Amu Darya.

Mining Toolkit - Prezi, 2012
Comparison of the Mining Laws of Finland and Kyrgyzstan – Main Features, 2012

This briefing paper provides a compact comparison of the mining laws of Finland and the Kyrgyz Republic. The paper has been prepared as part of the research project “Environmental Security, Mining and Good Governance” funded by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The briefing paper contributes to an increased understanding on the part of the project’s parties and stakeholders of the differences in mining legislation in countries like Finland and Kyrgyzstan. The comparison also generally highlights the variety of issues that can be regulated in a legal instrument controlling mining activities.

Mining Regulation in the Kyrgyz Republic – A Review, 2012

This paper has been prepared as part of the research project Environmental security, mining and good governance which is implemented under and funded by the Security and Development research of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Toolkit Companion with Case Studies - Mining, development and environment in Central Asia, 2012

This toolkit companion is an illustrated overview of the trends and challenges in environment, mining and development of the Kyrgyz Republic and Central Asia. It focuses on environmental security in the mining sector and highlights selected causes and ingredients of recent mining-related conflicts, the lessons learned and the opportunities for solutions. The information comes from interviews with key stakeholders during fieldwork and desk studies, from official and scientific sources and from media accounts. The toolkit companion strives to maintain complete and up-to-date information and to take the neutral position in assessing the local mining conflicts and identifying solutions. It provides Kyrgyz and region-specific material in support of the toolkit application.

A Cartoon Summary of the Toolkit Companion, 2012

Mining, development and environment in Central Asia.

Policy Brief: Mining in the Chatkal Valley – Lack of dialogue and poor governance resulting in local resistance, 2012

During the last decade, to boost the national economy, Kyrgyzstan has strived to develop its mining industry through efforts to attract foreign investors. However, at the same time, Kyrgyzstan has had an increasing number of conflicts between mining companies and local communities. Study of the Chatkal Valley case suggests that the local resistance now leading to severe conflicts may have been encouraged by poor governance of the mining industry and lack of cooperation between stakeholders, also contributing are the industry’s and some levels of government’s lack of acknowledgement of social impacts and community interests. We argue that adequate assessment and management of the social impacts of mining are vital to the sustainable development of both the industry and the society in which it operates.

Central Asia Mountains, 2012

It is easy for lowlanders to regard the mountains as magical places, harder, perhaps, for them to understand mountain culture and the spirit of mountain people, and hardest of all to acknowledge, much less pay for, the astonishing array of mountain ecosystem goods and services on which they rely. Working with the University of Central Asia and local partners, Zoï Environment Network reveals and explains the connections between the mountain environment and the people of the lowlands, and communicates the findings in a popular report that demonstrates the necessity of sustainable mountain development and the opportunities for a green economy.

This report is an illustrated overview of the trends and challenges in sustainable mountain development in Central Asia since 1992. It highlights selected achievements and lessons learned, and identifies opportunities for further progress. The cover page and title of this version differs from the official version released for the Rio+20 meeting, though the contents remain the same.

Technical paper: Water Information in Central Asia - A framework for future development, 2012

Reliable information about the environment and in particular water resources is required for the sustainable future of Central Asia. This paper was presented at the UNECE workshop “Managing water information in Central Asia” in December 2011 in Kazakhstan.

Khaidarkan alternatives - Towards a mercury-free future, 2012

This study explores selected options that can replace the mercury mining at the Khaidarkan Mercury Combine (KMC) near the Aidarken settlement in Kyrgyzstan. It considers mining economics, geology and the environmental, health and social effects of the various alternatives.

Vital Caspian Graphics 2 - Opportunities, Aspirations and Challenges, 2012

More than five years ago we published the first edition of Vital Caspian Graphics. This new edition illustrates the rapidly changing environment in the geopolitically sensitive area around the Caspian Sea. These Vital Caspian Graphics 2 present lesser-known aspects of the region while covering the broader picture in an attractive format to reach out to communities beyond environmental professionals. One of the highlights are the photographic essays by Rena Effendi and Mila Teshaieva.


Biodiversity in Central Asia, 2011

Overall, there is much to look forward to when it comes to preserving biodiversity both globally and in Central Asia. As the 2011-2020 UN Decade on Biodiversity unfolds, this volume will undoubtedly make a key contribution to those efforts.

Technical paper: Land Degradation and Desertification in Central Asia, 2012

The purpose of this assessment is to provide information and recommendations for the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and other members of the GEF Constituency group for consideration in the second phase of the CACILM (Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management) partnership. The overall objective is to assess the extent to which the first phase of the partnership has contributed to reduction of combating land degradation and improving rural livelihoods and to identify the emerging trends and opportunities for CACILM promotion as an example of the regional GEF multi-purpose dynamic partnership.

Environment and Security in the Amu Darya River Basin, 2011

The prime aim of this report is to identify the environmental stress points in the Amu Darya basin which have, or may have, security repercussions for the states and population.The report then suggests solutions to the challenges identified during the assessment. All in all, the field missions covered more than 3 000 km. Participants included experts from the region and from international organizations. Almost 100 experts were directly involved or consulted during the process.

UNEP press release

GIS - Central Asia

Maps of Central Asia: Aral Sea basin, Kazakhstan (south part), Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.


Khaidarkan Mercury - Poster, 2011

There is now only one known mercury mine in the world which continues to sell its output abroad: Khaidarkan, in the remote mountains of southern Kyrgyzstan.

Khaidarkan Mercury - Addressing primary mercury mining in Kyrgyzstan, 2009

This book depicts the world’s last known exporting mercury mine – at Khaidarkan in southern Kyrgyzstan. For two years, Zoï assisted the Government of Kyrgyzstan and national and local stakeholders to consider options regarding the future of the mine.

Climate Change in Central Asia, 2009

This booklet provides a synthesis of what climate change may mean for Central Asia. It builds upon the latest series of the official national communications on climate change by the Central Asian states under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This highly visual format seeks to communicate to decision makers and to serve education purposes alike.

Environment and Security in the Eastern Caspian Region, 2008

This report considers the role and impact of environmental factors in securing human safety and sustainable development of the eastern Caspian Sea region, including the parts of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan opening onto the Caspian Sea.

Afghanistan's environment, 2008

This report is the First State of Environment (SOE) Report for Afghanistan and provides readers with an overview of the key environmental issues, factors and drivers of environmental change in Afghanistan, and highlights the latest achievements and prospects ahead. 

Each chapter of the report gives an overview of the context, importance and use of natural resources, what is known about their current conditions, trends and linkages to regional or global factors. The report also reveals how Afghanistan’s natural resources - if managed in an efficient and sustainable manner - could provide the basis for future economic growth and stability.

pdf Dari     ebook Dari

Vital Caspian Graphics, 2007

In recent years the Caspian Sea has been the focus of increased global attention. The world-wide decline in oil and gas reserves and have heightened interest in an area where there is still growth potential in oil and gas exploration.

Environment and Security - Transforming risks into cooperation - The case of Central Asia, 2005

The assesssment has been produced upon request of the countries of the Ferghana Valley - Kyrgzystan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - and has widely benefited from their inputs. it shows how the Environment and Security initiative has helped identify both environmental threats to regional security and opportunities for cross-border dialogue.

Environment and Security: Transforming risks into cooperation - The case of Central Asia and South-Eastern Europe, 2003

This report focuses on the environmental stress affecting security in two case regions, Central Asia and South Eastern Europe. It provides maps with an overview on major environmental risks to human development and security. The maps are derived from information gathered at consultation workshops in Belgrade and Ashgabat, which were attended by local experts, government and non-government representatives.