Drought events have intensified and increasingly threaten the sustainable development of Kyrgyzstan, harming the country’s agriculture and many other sectors of the economy. High exposure is due to rising temperature peaks, lack of awareness, aging of agricultural and other infrastructure. This comes against a background of shared risks posed by climate change, natural disasters and the persistence of social inequalities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, the development of a drought monitoring and early warning system appears appropriate. Numerous projects by the UN and other international organizations, as well as government measures to ensure food security and environmental sustainability, are bearing fruit, but their effectiveness could be increased through the introduction of high-tech solutions based on the use of space applications. World practice shows that for disaster monitoring purposes it is optimal to use remote sensing products together with data collected on the Earth’s surface. One such solution should be a geographic information system for droughts, which is being developed within the framework of the project “Drought Information System for Central Asia, a pilot project”, which is being implemented by ESCAP with the financial support of the Russian Federation.
The study has two core objectives. Firstly, it aims to review and disseminate the results of a pilot project for the development of competencies of Kyrgyzstan officials and specialists in the field of monitoring drought events achieved in 2018-2022. Secondly, it describes priority areas for further capacity development activities in the field of drought mitigation for 2022-2023 and beyond. The description of priority areas ends with a list of brief recommendations for each topic considered. The recommendations are addressed to all national and international structures interested in reducing the harmful effects of drought on the socio-economic development of Kyrgyzstan. When drawing up recommendations, special attention was paid to their practicability. Open data, including publications of specialized UN agencies, sets of normative documents, quantitative data from statistical portals of Kyrgyzstan and international organizations, was the main source of information for the study. Internal ESCAP research served as an additional source of material, as well as facts and opinions collected at various seminars, conferences, interviews within the UN system and government agencies in the Asia-Pacific region.