Information about Institute of Geography Kazakhstan
- History: Comprehensive geographical researches in Kazakhstan were started in the Sector of Geography of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR founded in 1938 by the Decision of the Academy of Sciences of USSR. In 1983 the Sector of Geography was reformed into the Institute of Geography in the structure of Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR by the Decision of the Council of Ministers of the Kazakh SSR.
- Structure. There are 2 research divisions in the Institute: Division of Water Problems and Division of Geography and Geoecology. They include 9 specialized departments: Departments of Glaciology, Landscape Study and Nature Management, Geomorphology and GIS cartography, Geography of Tourism and Recreation, Water Resources, Sufficiency of Water Supply of Natural-Economic Systems, Hydrochemistry and Ecological Toxicology, Natural Hazards, Geographic Informational Systems. There are 6 research stations in the mountains of North Tien-Shan, Priaralie, Pricaspiy and Pribalkhashie
- Stuff. The Institute of Geography is one of the oldest research centers of academic specialization in Kazakhstan and the only Scientific Research Institute of geographical specialization in the Central Asian region. At the present moment in the Institute of geography there are 156 employees including, 2 Academicians of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 12 Doctors of Sciences и 30 Candidates of Sciences, 1 PhD, 11 PhD students, 9 Masters of Sciences.
- The average age of employees is 53 years;
- The average age of the head of departments is 50 years;
- 3 % of employees are young specialists who knows the methods of modern scientific researches.
- Equipment. The laboratories of the Institute are equipped with modern instruments and machinery, office equipment, field and stationary chemical and analytical laboratories. There are a fleet of 11 vehicles for the expeditions.
All of them are purchased at their own expense.
- Necessity of geographical research. The nature of our planet is currently experiencing huge anthropogenic pressure due to human activity. This leads to an aggravation and actualization of the problem of interaction between environment and society, which is the main study object of geographical science.
Geography - the only scientific discipline that combines the socio-humanitarian (economic, social, political geography, geography of population, human resources and tourism, problems of demography, etc.) and natural (climate change, hydrology and surface water resources, glaciology and geocryology, geomorphology, landscape studies, geo-ecology problems) components in their interaction as the basis for the environmentally sound management and sustainable development of natural resources at the sectoral, national and regional levels. Geography does not belong to the category of technical sciences.
- Main research areas. During 76 years of its activities, the Institute has developed the following main areas of geographical science in Kazakhstan. During independence the research of Institute of geography got a new boost because geographical studies were needed in Kazakhstan as well as in the whole world. That is the problem of climate change, food security, fresh water deficiency, glaciers degradation, natural hazards (floods, mudflows, landslides, avalanches and weather risks), etc.
These areas of research of the Institute are classified as strategic and are grouped into four main blocks:
- Assessment and forecast of resources and regime of surface waters of the Republic of Kazakhstan taking into account climate changes and economic activities, the development of geographic bases for ensuring water security in the country as a basis for sustainable development.
- Identification of patterns of formation and distribution of hazardous natural phenomena, natural disasters and ecologically dangerous changes in natural environment with the assessment of their social and economic consequences.
- Assessment of natural and resource potential of the country, development of information and analytical base of national and regional programmes of sustainable nature management, environmental protection, reconstruction of the ecologically destabilized natural and economic systems.
- Atlas mapping of the geographic systems of national, regional and sectoral levels using modern geo-informational technology.
In the context of these areas only over the past 10 years the large and very important for the country studies have been performed, including the next issues:
а) Ensuring of water security in Kazakhstan. Water security issue is one of the main research areas of the Institute of Geography and certainly is presented in its studies for the last decades. Let me specify some of them.
Substantiation of designing and possibility of building of the Koksaray reservoir in South Kazakhstan Region was assigned to the Institute of Geography as a scientific-expert organization by the executive order of the Government of RK. The results of Institute of Geography researches become bases for the project and realization of this project significantly decreased the amount of annual winter floods with flooding of residential communities in the lower reach of Syrdariya River and became the main problem-solving for sustainable productivity of agriculture in Kyzylorda Region. The project was performed under the Decree of the president of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Nursultan Nazarbayev.
According to his direct orders extensive research on the issue of water security in Kazakhstan was carried out. The results were presented and approved at the session of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan. This extensive work was performed for the first time in the history of the republic and results were published in 30-volume monograph «Water resources of Kazakhstan: estimation, prediction, management». At present the Institute is developing two programs: the creation of problem-oriented geospatial information system "Water Resources of Kazakhstan and their use" and a scientific substantiation of "Water security Strategy of the Republic of Kazakhstan" with the mechanisms of achievement the major objectives of the "Strategy - 2050".
- b) Natural hazards. The evaluation and spatial prediction of natural hazards (mudflows, avalanches, landslides, floods, etc.) were carried out. Based on the material of the researches the National Atlas of natural and technological hazards and risks of emergency situations was made. The complex of measures on developing the program of preventive action on mudslides and avalanches were validated.
- c) Atlas mapping and GIS. Geographical bases of food security and demographic processes in the Republic, geographic information systems for environmental management, environment protection and rehabilitation of ecologically destabilized natural and economic systems were developed. The research results have been applied in a series of inventory, evaluation and prediction maps that are included in the National Atlas of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Atlases of Atyrau and Mangistau regions, the National Atlas of natural and technological hazards and risks of emergency situations were created and published.
- d) Ecological and geographical researches. Large study on desertification in Kazakhstan was submitted, an important social project on the sand-detention in a number of settlements of Mangistau region was implemented, ecological and demographic evaluation of depressed rural areas of Kazakhstan was held, "State Catalogue of Geographical Names of all the regions of Kazakhstan" with the publication of 36 volumes books were compiled and published.
- e) International contacts. The Institute works closely with the world's centers of geographical science, participates in the development of more than 20 international projects with scientists from Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Japan, China, and rightly perceived by the world scientific community as an important center of modern geographical science. The Institute is currently involved in the carrying out of four international projects. Two of them are carried out in the program Newton-Al Farabi on the area of Water and Food Security issues (partners: University of Reading and Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom); the third project is held jointly with the University of Colorado, USA; the fourth is UNESCO project «GGRETA" on the assessment and use of water resources of transboundary The Pretashkent Aquifer. That is not a coincidence that in accordance with the agreement, signed between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and UNESCO, on the basis of the Institute of Geography the Central-Asia Regional Glaciological Centre as a Category 2 Centre Under the auspices of UNESCO is being created and negotiations on the establishment of "International Water Assessment Centre" (IWAC) as a regional OSCE structures on the basis of the Institute is initiated.
Institute of Geography actively cooperates with the government on a state and regional levels. On their order the Institute carried out a number of large applied research projects.
The Institute is actively involved in organizing prestige scientific forums. Institute of Geography together with the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan, Ministry of Education and Science of RK and UNESCO organized and successfully carried out a big scientific-practical conference "Water Resources of Central Asia and their use" on September 22-23 this year. The conference was attended by leaders of the water sector of the economy of the five Central Asian countries, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, international organizations (UNESCO, the OSCE, UNECE, World Bank, etc.) and leading scientists of the countries of near and far abroad.
In connection with the above mentioned the next remarks become reasonable and warranted:
- Elaboration of the question "The establishment of the International Water Assessment Centre within the framework of the UNECE Helsinki Convention" on the base of Institute of Geography.
- Realization of the agreement between Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and UNESCO about the establishing the Central-Asia Regional Glaciological Centre as a Category 2 Centre Under the auspices of UNESCO.
In accordance with regulations of UNESCO and OSCE both organizations must be established at government research structures of relevant profile as an independent legal entity. Institute of Geography is the only organization which meets these requirements and has a well-functioning branch in Astana.
Today the Institute of Geography is highly demanded, self-sufficient and successful scientific organization in the area of natural and social sciences. The Institute has the status of an independent research institution. This status must be retained since the activities of the Institute of Geography are aimed at solving of strategic problems which become very important for Kazakhstan. There is no doubt that the demand for the research results of Institute of Geography will increase in the future.