Climate Adaptation of Farms in the Arid Lands of the Aral Sea Region: Measurement Paradigm

Georgy Fomenko, Marina Fomenko
Published: Problems of regional ecology.   2020. No. 3. pp. 57-72.
The article reveals the problems of assessment of technical assistance projects aimed to reduce the climate vulnerability of the population of drylands. The research was based on the example of the Aral region, which is actively used by people, despite the increasing droughts and accelerated desertification. The project supports the aspirations to move from the efforts against dryland degradation to the sustainable development of anthropo-natural systems. The basis of such a transition is an increase in the value of human life, an increase in attention to the sociocultural traditions of ensuring the viability of households and local communities. This is even more relevant today, when increasing uncertainties and risks of unsustainability are observed everywhere: the COVID 19 pandemic, climate change, and the erosion of economic and social structures.

The paradigm of resilience of drylands comes from the fact that ecosystems, in accordance with the systemic concept of Life, are a constantly evolving living organism that repeatedly passes the phase transition points before a new stage of dynamic stability, when the system follows a deterministic trajectory. In methodological terms, this approach involves expanding the classical paradigm of rationality and increasing the importance of the category of “responsibility” as the basic prerequisites for reducing uncertainties and risks.

In accordance with the used methodological approach, a system of indicators for assessment of projects has been developed as part of three interconnected sections. The first section contains indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of project activities, that is, the achievement of project results to reduce climate uncertainties, the implementation of protective measures of global importance (hydrometeorological monitoring, dust prevention, etc.). The second section contains indicators for assessing the effectiveness and sustainability of project results in the long term, from the point of view of: (1) benefits for the project beneficiaries from the implementation of transferred technologies for climate adaptation, in terms of economic efficiency and (2) benefits for the local community, in the form of social, environmental as well as economic benefits. The third section contains indicators of a systematic assessment of increasing the sustainability of the pilot territories of the implementation of the transferred adaptation technologies and institutional and organizational support measures.

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