Central Asia & Caucasus

Horses on grassland

Wild horses return to Kazakhstan steppes after two-century absence

The seven horses, four mares from Berlin and a stallion and two other mares from Prague, were flown to the central Asian country on a Czech air force transport plane. The wild horses, known as Przewalski’s horses, once roamed the vast steppe grasslands of central Asia, where horses are believed to have been first domesticated about 5,500 years ago.

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Aral Sea time lapse 1989 2014

Uzbekistan plants millions of acres of forest where the Aral Sea once lay

Instead of trying to restore what used to be the world’s third largest lake, officials from the Uzbekistan Forestry Agency and locals are trying to plant a new forest where it once rested. The main purpose of the afforestation project it to curb the harmful sandstorms and improve the ecosystem by planting desert-tolerant plants. The initiative has so far planted 4.2 million acres of forest, with up to 494,000 acres of new forest planned for 2024.

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African girl sleeping on mother's shoulder

‘Historic milestone’ as global child mortality hits record low of 4.9 million in 2022

Figures newly released by the U.N. Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) reveal the global under-five mortality rate has declined by 51% since 2000 reaching an all-time low. Some countries such as Cambodia, Malawi, Mongolia, and Rwanda reduced under-five mortality rate by over 75% over the time period. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell praised the dedicated efforts of midwives, health workers and community health workers, whose commitment has contributed to the remarkable decline.

‘Historic milestone’ as global child mortality hits record low of 4.9 million in 2022 Read more

Vast solar farm

Utility solar dethrones coal as the cheapest power source in Asia

According a new analysis from Wood Mackenzie on the levelized cost of electricity for the Asia Pacific region, the cost of renewables reached a historic low in 2023. Renewable energy costs in Asia last year were 13% cheaper than coal and are expected to be 32% cheaper by 2030. Utility solar is now the cheapest power source in 11 out of 15 APAC countries. New-build solar project costs are expected to fall by another 20% by 2030.

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Wild Saiga antelopes in steppe near watering pond

Saiga no longer endangered with 1.9 million roaming Central Asian Steppe

The IUCN Red List status of this timeless talisman of the Central Asian steppes has been changed from Critically Endangered to Near Threatened. The dramatic downlisting reflects a remarkable rebound in saiga numbers, particularly its Kazakhstan stronghold, where populations have bounced back from a perilously low 48,000 individuals in 2005 to a new high of over 1.9 million.

Saiga no longer endangered with 1.9 million roaming Central Asian Steppe Read more