On November 20, 2020, UNDP conducted an expert presentation of new technology it has been funding, which will be used to enhance natural resource protection in Uzbekistan. Michiel Hotte, a conservationist and international expert on wildlife safeguarding from the Netherlands, introduced the SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) system to UNDP project personnel and project partners at the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Ecology and Environmental Protection (Goskomekologiya).
SMART will form the security backbone of UNDP and Goskomekologiya’s efforts, launched in 2017, to ensure the ‘Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Forest Management in Key Mountain Regions Important for Globally Significant Biodiversity’. This project is funded by the Global Environment Facility, which was first launched alongside the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, and is administered by the World Bank.
The SMART patrol system currently covers more than 700 protected areas in over 60 countries and has been adopted at a state level in 12 countries. Based on GIS technology, SMART allows its users to evaluate and analyse data obtained during patrolling activities, review the quality of inspections, and increase the overall efficiencies of environmental protection. UNDP and Goskomekologiya will be trialling SMART at the Chatkal State Biosphere and the Gissar State Reserves, before expanding it nationwide.
It is intended that Mr Hotte’s presentation will form the basis of ongoing engagement with conservation practitioners and end-users at Uzbekistan’s protected natural areas. To become acquainted with the system, a group of employees from Goskomekologiya, the State Committee for Forestry and the ‘Uzbekistan Temir Yullari’ JSC have participated in trainings organized by the international Wildlife Conservation Society in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and have taken part in a study tour to the Kingdom of Bhutan.
The project has also held trainings on using the SMART system and related interfaces for over 55 employees of Goskomekologiya, the Chatkal State Biosphere and the Gissar State Reserve. Necessary digital equipment has been purchased (including smartphones, computer hardware and portable solar batteries for smartphone charging), as well as furniture to equip two SMART patrol centres in national reserves, and to create a control centre within Goskomekologiya.
SMART will help protect Uzbekistan’s unique population of snow leopards, as part of UNDP’s broader work to ensure the survival and resilience of the country’s diverse mountain ecosystems.
Information Service of the State committee
of the Republic of Uzbekistan on ecology
and environmental protection