Unlike most other mountain regions, the mountains of Central Asia comprise several ranges, including most prominently the Pamir (Tajikistan, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan) and Tien Shan (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan). Accordingly, mountain governance initiatives are fragmented and do not specifically address mountains. For example, the Framework Convention on Environmental Protection for Sustainable Development, signed in 2006 by Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, addresses mountain ecosystem degradation as one of five priority areas. As in the case of the Hindu Kush and Himalaya (HKH) region, the One Belt One Road (or Belt and Road) Initiative is increasingly active in Central Asia.

Key governance dimensions

Civil society participation

A number of community-based transboundary initiatives have emerged with the support of donors such as the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

These initiatives include the Central Asian Mountain Partnership CAMP (present in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan), which was instrumental in the creation of the Alliance of Central Asian Mountain Communities, and the Pamir-Alai Land Management project (Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan). While the Swiss-funded CAMP programme ended in 2009, successor organizations emerged to continue supporting sustainable development in the mountain regions of Central Asia. The most important one of these is CAMP Alatoo, founded in Kyrgyzstan in 200. Together with partner organizations in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, CAMP Alatoo forms the CAMP Network.

Science-policy interface

The University of Central Asia, founded in 2000 as a private, not for profit, secular university through a treaty between the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan, and His Highness the Aga Khan, is a focal point for knowledge generation.

Time line


Following on a proposition from Kyrgyzstan, UN General Assembly approves the International Year of Mountains for 2002.


Central Asian Mountain Partnership (CAMP) aims to promote sustainable mountain development by encouraging a more economically, ecologically and socially sustainable use of mountain resources. It is active in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, mainly through local development projects. Funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) until 2008, the organization continues as three independent national NGOs since then.

The University of Central Asia (UCA) is established as a secular and private university by an international treaty and charter signed by the Presidents of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan, and His Highness the Aga Khan, ratified by the respective parliaments, and registered with the United Nations.


The Bishkek Global Mountain Summit is held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, as the main event of the International Year of Mountains.

Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan sign the Central Asia Mountain Charter, an international agreement aiming to promoting sustainable mountain development in the region.


Establishment of the Alliance of Central Asian Mountain Communities (AGOCA) as a community network in the field of sustainable development in mountain communities and knowledge-sharing at the community level. With a programme of mutual visits, excursions and information sharing, the organisation becomes a platform for good practice and successful projects. The alpine network “Alliance in the Alps” served as a model.


The Regional Mountain Centre for Central Asia (RMCCA) is created by the Decision of the Inter-State Sustainable Development Commission of the Central Asian States (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). According to its Charter, the goal of the RMCCA is to foster cooperation of the states of Central Asia on conservation of the mountain ecosystems, sustainable use of their natural resources and improving social and economic conditions of the population living in mountain regions including provision of scientific and informational support and training of specialists.

The PALM project (“Sustainable Land Management in the High Pamir and Pamir-Alai Mountains”) is launched as a transboundary initiative of the governments of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It aims to restore, sustain, and enhance the productive and protective functions of the trans-boundary ecosystems of the High Pamir and Pamir-Alai Mountains. The PALM project ended in 2012


Establishment of the Mountain Societies Research Institute at the University of Central Asia.


The Mountain Partnership Central Asia Hub, in collaboration with the State Committee of Environmental Protection, Government of Tajikistan, organizes the Dushanbe Forum of Mountain Countries. The Forum brought together government representatives at various levels, civil society groups, development agencies and researchers to explore the links between mountains and water and the contextual issues for sustainable mountain development including: climate change and its impacts on mountain agriculture, nutrition and health, the role of women in mountain ecosystem stewardship, integrated watershed management and disaster risk mitigation.


At the initiative of the Kyrgyzstan, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopts a resolution on declaring 2022 as the “International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development”, co-sponsored by 93 states.

Additional resources

  • University of Central Asia (-> link)
  • CAMP Alatoo (-> link)
  • Enhancing People’s Livelihoods in High Mountainous Regions of Central Asia through Adaptation to Climate Change (-> link)
  • Mountain Adaptation Outlook Series: Outlook on Climate Change Adaptation in the Central Asian Mountains (-> link)

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