Welcome to the Environmental Sustainability and Climate Science (ESCS) specialization
American University of Central Asia
7/6 Aaly Tokombaev Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 720060
Tel.: +996 (312) 915000 + Еxt. 429
Fax: +996 (312) 915 028
The ESCS Program Coordinator and Staff members offices are located in room 415.
The core work is done on the campus but the ESCS professors organize throughout the year outdoor practices, activities and courses particularly in the Bishkek EcoPark: 41 hectares of urban forest protected and developed in an ecological way by the American University of Central Asia and the French Kyrgyz Association of Ecotourism.
Environmental Sustainability Officer
Phone: +996 (312) 915 000 Ext: 429
Why at AUCA?
The American University of Central Asia’s ESCS faculty members are award-winning researchers and teachers who encourage students to become involved in basic inquiry and critical thinking, cross-disciplinary cooperation, and the application of concepts to real-life problems so that they develop the environmental problem-solving skills required for the most dynamic areas of today’s job market.
While a number of environmental initiatives exist on AUCA’s current campus, more are being developed on the new campus and in the Bishkek EcoPark: eco-friendly roofs, a solar power installation, biking initiatives, beekeeping, composting and a groundbreaking geothermal heating and cooling system that will reduce energy needs by an estimated 87%.
The EcoPark Project
EcoPark, Bishkek city, Kyrgyzstan: The Eco Park is a joint project of the French-Kyrgyz Ecotourism Association (Association Franco-Kirghize d’Ecotourisme or AFKE), the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) and the Town Hall of Bishkek and aimed at the rehabilitation of 41,1 hectares of the Elm Grove of Bishkek. The Elm Grove of Bishkek is a unique, biggest and oldest urban forest in Central Asia. It was planted back in 1881 by the horticulturist Alexei Fetisov and the first students of the Agrarian Institute and became the biggest urban green area in Central Asia. Its contribution to the air purification of the city is outstanding as it serves as a biotic pump developing a microclimate in Bishkek. Due to illegal cutting, settlements, grazing and car circulation in the grove since the access of Kyrgyzstan to independence in 1991, the area of the grove has significantly decreased from the original 215 hectares to current 123 hectares. In order to prevent the total destruction of the grove and create conditions for its regeneration as urban forest, AFKE and AUCA initiated the “Eco Park” civic engagement project. In 2015 this initiative received a label from the French Ministry of the Environment as a project of the UN Conference against the climate change (COP21). The area is protected 24 hours on 24 hours by the staff and workers of the French Kyrgyz Association of Ecotourism and our students can participate or develop environmental project there. Several activities and classes are organized there during the year.
Photos of the EcoPark in different seasons
For further information about this project feel free to contact our Program Director Philippe Boizeau (firstname.lastname@example.org) or our Office Manager Nurzada Tengdik kyzy.
The creation of the ESCS program was prompted by Central Asia’s need for environmental experts and AUCA’s mission to support the region’s transition to a development path that balances social, economic and environmental interests. This program perfectly fits the university’s mission of training enlightened and impassioned leaders, who think globally and act this out locally in the specific conditions of Central Asia.
The aim is to train responsible managers who master the tools of sustainable development and who also have a thorough understanding of environmental issues such as climate change, disappearing glaciers, water scarcity, and reductions in the predictability of rain and crops, and the loss of wildlife. This program focuses on developing country issues, and applicable to environmental studies worldwide, and draws on natural resource institutes such as USA and developed country universities and other leading global organizations’ unrivalled pool of expertise in issues of sustainable development, climate and other environmental change, environmental management, environmental data collection and analysis.
Goal 1: To prepare communicative and responsible citizens of the world who are able to work in their chosen field of activity, possess universal competencies contributing to their social mobility and sustainability in the labor market, who are willing to work in a team and adapt to different working conditions for the benefit of environmental objectives.
Goal 2: To train practitioners in environmental management who have the technical and scientific concepts and tools related to the operational management of sustainable development.
Goal 3: Training of environmental experts capable of supporting the Central Asian region's transition to a development path that balances social, economic and environmental interests.
Learning outcome 1: To possess communication skills in foreign languages at the level of business communication that allows working with international projects;
Learning outcome 2: To be able to apply theoretical and practical knowledge to solve environmental problems;
Learning outcome 3: To apply the necessary modern IT technologies to solve problems in practice;
Learning outcome 4: To conduct research, collect and interpret data, and draw conclusions;
Learning outcome 5: To be able to work effectively individually, as a member of a team on interdisciplinary topics, as well as to lead a team.
Beliefs about learning
Learning is a continuous, life-long process of self-discovery, knowledge development, evaluation, and growth. It is individualistic and proceeds in a simple to complex manner from the level of development, interests, and motivations of the learner. The teaching learning process is reciprocal and interactive with faculty and students sharing the cooperative enterprise of learning, inquiry, teaching, and evaluation. The learner is an active participant who assumes responsibility for his/her own learning, and independent learning is fostered by encouragement and support of the learner’s self-directed inquiry. The role of the faculty is to support critical thinking, facilitate the learning process, and provide and foster opportunities for life-long learning.
GPA: A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher (on a 4-point scale) is required for admission.
In order to graduate from AUCA, a student must:
A student who has successfully completed all General Education and degree requirements may take the final state exams. In order to graduate, the students are required to:
pass the History of Kyrgyzstan State Exam (taken at the end of each semester);
successfully complete and defend of Senior Thesis/Project; and,
earn passing scores on two or more final state exams as required by their major(s) and minor (if applicable).
State Exam grades are included in the transcript. The evaluation and grading criteria for the final State Attestation (state exams, qualification papers, and thesis) are defined by the Program Coordinator, approved by the AUCA Academic Senate and made available to students planning to graduate.
Details about taking attestation exams are made available to students at least four months in advance. The final State Attestation is conducted in accordance with the Academic Calendar.
The criteria for a Kyrgyz State Bachelor’s diploma with honors are as follows. Students who excel in their academic program (achieving “A”, “A-” grades for 75% or more of their courses and grades of “B+”, “B”, “B-” grades in the remaining courses) and pass all State Exams with “A” and “A-”grades receive a Kyrgyz State Diploma with Honors.
Course descriptions : Core Courses
Introduction to Environmental Management and Sustainable Development
This course is an introduction to ecological, economic, political, and sociocultural perspectives on relationships between humans and the rest of the natural world. Environmental Management is concerned not only with the impact of humankind on the planet but also with the patterns of human behavior necessary to preserve and manage the environment in a self-sustaining way. Study is linked to the areas of new thinking in environmental management, environmental economics and the quest for alternative technologies. It provides students an interdisciplinary survey of the broad range of contemporary environmental issues and concepts. In the course, students will examine options for developing more sustainable communities and lifestyles in the face of local and global change.
Applied Ecology: Interactions, Relationships, and Conservation
Ecology and the environment are hot topics in today’s world. All across the world top brands market themselves as “fair trade”, governments develop new “sustainability policies”, and people go “organic” in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. But what does all this have to do with our actual environment? This course will provide you with a foundational understanding of ecology: the interactions that govern our environment. We’ll learn about living and nonliving aspects of the environment, discover the relationships between organisms, explore local environments around Bishkek, investigate conservation methods and techniques available for ecological research, and uncover practical ways we can have a positive impact on our environment. Are you ready to get your feet wet, your hands dirty, and your interest in nature peaked?
General Chemistry is a standards-based university preparatory lab science course. It fulfills one semester of the science required at AUCA. Chemistry in the community is a major attempt to enhance science literacy through university curriculum that emphasizes the impact of chemistry on society. Each unit centers on chemistry-related technological issues now confronting our world.
Prerequisites of the course: None
ECh-100 Environmental Chemistry
In this course students will use the fundamental principles of chemistry to gain an understanding of the source, fate, and reactivity of compounds in natural and polluted environments. Emphasis will be placed on the environmental implications of energy utilization and on the chemistry of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. Environmental issues that will be discussed include climate change, air pollution, stratospheric ozone depletion, pollution and treatment of water sources, and the utilization of insecticides and herbicides. Course Goals: The overall goal of this course is to gain an understanding of the fundamental chemical processes that are central to a range of important environmental problems and to utilize this knowledge in making critical evaluations of these problems.
Prerequisite of the course: General Chemistry
Eco-tourism and Environmental Conservation
After outlining the definitions and basic principles of ecotourism, we will see how, under certain conditions, ecotourism can generate income while contributing to the protection of the environment.
Part of the course will be devoted to the creation of surveys and the use of statistical tools for addressing environmental problems.
The knowledge acquired during the first classes will then be put into practice. Students will have the chance to participate in the reintroduction of an endangered or rare species in Kyrgyzstan. This reintroduction will be done in Bishkek in Elm Grove Park. Indeed, the park and its forest are targeted for protection by the French Kyrgyz Ecotourism Association (AFKE) in partnership with the American University of Central Asia (AUCA). This project was certified COP21 on the occasion of the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015. In this context, the AFKE responded to a call for projects, which enabled the Elm Grove Forest Project in Bishkek to become a beneficiary of the PARIS2015 / COP21 label. This involved for the AFKE the signature of a charter materializing the institutional support of the COP21 Ministerial Steering Committee.
This course provides a solid understanding of ecotourism and statistics applied to the environment. In addition, students will be able to apply what they have learned by participating in the Elm Grove Forest Project and help prevent the disappearance of the largest forest in Bishkek.
Students who successfully complete this course will receive a certificate of participation in a project certified COP21.
Environmental and Social Impact Assessment
Environmental impact assessment is a planning process that aims to predict, evaluate and mitigate the impact on the environment of a proposed project, program or policy prior to its commencement, and to approve only environmentally acceptable undertakings. EIA is hence a mechanism for avoiding or mediating some of the potential costs of development. The purpose of this course is to help students develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of the theory and practice of EIA in the world including Central Asia countries. The course examines EIA in general and in specific jurisdictions. It also examines the technical and policy issues involved in the production and the appraisal of environmental impact assessments. Using a broad definition of “environment”, various components of EIA are addressed, with an emphasis on principles, legal and institutional frameworks, stages in the process, and specific analytical techniques. Additionally, the course will focus on the ecology of human societies and the social impact of development on communities and regions. The ecology of human societies is about connections between ecological and human social, cultural, and organizational processes. It is a very broad and general subject that crosses numerous scientific disciplines. Together, readings and lectures will provide you with a "big picture" of what human ecology and social impact are about from an interdisciplinary point of view. This learning process will help us generate a new appreciation for the complex world in which we live.
Introduction to Environmental Management Systems
The history of Environmental Management Systems, Environmental Management Systems as a basis for preventive action; the contents of the Standard EN ISO 14001 and EMAS. The introduction and implementation of ISO 14001. Principle of Environmental Management System of ISO14001. Development and setting of environmental policy, environmental management system planning, implementation and operation, checking, management review including management audit etc. Environmental legislation relevant for Environmental Management Systems. Certification; examples from companies and organizations. Other management systems, e.g., Energy management systems. Literature seminars are aimed at a critical analysis of Environmental Management Systems. Instruction consists of lectures, seminars and exercises.
GIS Applications in Environmental Management
This course introduces the underlying principles and methods of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). It examines the processes involved in the capture, storage, manipulation, analysis, presentation and output of digital geographical data in a GIS and provides opportunities for the development of practical skills in processing data using a leading Open Source GIS software package, Quantum GIS. The course comprises a series of presentations and computer-based practical sessions using Quantum GIS software. Students will also learn how to collect and source data in addition to some use of example data sets taken from a variety of fields. The main elements of the Quantum user interface are introduced and topics covered include: data management, data visualisation, georeferencing, analysis, data presentation and reporting. GIS is a powerful data visualization and analysis tool. This undergraduate-level seminar investigates how GIS is currently being used to better understand and address environmental problems, as well as manage and protect natural resources. Overall GIS topics include: air pollution, climate change, biodiversity conservation, forest management, cultural heritage protection, soils management and agriculture, natural hazards, water resources, environmental challenges in the urban environment, and alternative energy production. Students will learn and be practicing some of the above-mentioned topics in a computer lab.
Green Spaces in Urban Development
In 2018, the Earth has nearly 4.2 billion city dwellers and according to the latest demographic projections of the United Nations, 2.5 billion more will live in cities by 2050. This significant increase in the urban population raises many issues regarding the use of space and the living conditions of citizens, particularly in terms of environmental conservation. In this context, the easiest « solution » is often to destroy green spaces or to reduce their area in order to make room for housing, shops and roads. But what are the consequences on the living environment, the health and the social life of people living in cities ? Shouldn’t we protect and foster nature in urban areas? If so, shouldn’t we favor long-term – that is, sustainable – solutions that incorporate green spaces into urban development strategies? Would it not be better to rely on these green spaces to develop a green economy in cities?
This course will first define urban green spaces in a broad sense before looking at a variety of relevant concepts such as urban tree, green and blue corridors. We will survey the latest research on trees and examine several examples of green zones in the world in order to provide answers to various questions previously asked. Several practical aspects will be addressed such as: tree planting, tree-tree interactions, tree-insect interactions, and waste management in green spaces.
The main focus of the course will be the project of protection and renaturation of the Karagachevaya Rosha Park in Bishkek, implemented by the French-Kyrgyz Association of Ecotourism in partnership with the American University of Central Asia. Students who successfully complete this course will receive a certificate of participation in a project certified COP21. This Conference of the Parties (COP) was held in Paris, France, from 30 November to 12 December 2015. It negotiated the Paris Agreement, a global agreement on the reduction of climate change, the text of which represented a consensus of the representatives of the 196 attending parties.
300 Level ENV-303
Agro-ecology Integrated Crop Management
This is an advanced 6-credit course for students interested in the ecology of agricultural systems, the environmental impacts of crop production, agro-ecology and sustainable agriculture. An agro-ecological approach, the application of ecological concepts and principles for the improvement of cropping systems, is emphasized. Students will gain a more in‐depth understanding of inputs and outputs in agricultural systems and their relation to primary productivity, nutrient cycling, energy flows, and species interactions on farms. Topics include agricultural intensification, organic farming, forestry, agro-ecosystem structure and function, aspects of technology adoption, soil erosion and conservation, tillage systems, plant pests and diseases, weed ecology and management, nutrient dynamics and management, water quality, crop rotation, cropping system diversification.
Integrated Water Resource Management
The course of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) includes study of key principles and issues of water resources management, considers the process of strategy development, relevant approaches to make decisions in the sphere of water resources management with the aim of providing complex approaches to use natural resources and achieving sustainable development. Resources and data of the course adapt easily to include to other existing courses, for instance, introduction to natural resource management, environmental management etc. The resources and data of the course can be used for giving lectures and also for instructors in Institute of Education Development as well as training enterprise’s managers on water resources management. The objective of the course is to introduce students with methodology and practicing part of integrated water resources management and increase an awareness of effective water use, to educate new generation managers who possess managers’ skills in the sphere of rational use and conservation of water resources.
Prerequisite of the course: ENV-100, MAT-130 and ENV-201
Environmental & Socio-Economic Impacts of Mining
This course aims to provide a comprehensive and practical understanding of both positive and negative impacts that mining may have on the environment, economic and society. Hence, it will focus on the environmental and social impacts of mining, with particular emphasis on mining around the world.
We are all touched by mining, whether through the commodities we consume, the investments we make, the environmental and social impacts we experience, and/or the benefits we inherit. Therefore, the mining and mineral extraction have significant contribution to the advancement of human civilization and national economies. However, these activities also have the potential for serious environmental and social impacts.
On completion of this course, students should be able to identify and analyze the major issues and management strategies associated with environmental, social and economic impacts of mining.
Prerequisite of the course: EMSD course
International Environmental Law and Policy ENV/NTR/LAS/BUS-305
International Environmental regulation has expanded from a domestic phenomenon to one that has
both global participants and global impacts. In this course, students will get a survey of environmental issues in international law and policy. In addition to discussing the current state of international environmental law, students will also spend time addressing how that state of affairs came to be, what stakeholders are involved, and what other policy options exist for handling these concerns. The last part of the semester will address international law in other fields that impact the environment, as well as a few issues on which international cooperation has not yet emerged.
Natural Disasters and Climate Change ENV 306
The societies we live in are regularly subjected to different types of natural and environmental disasters, both man-made and natural. Disasters seem to be increasing in both severity and frequency as human settlements expand into new regions, we begin to exploit more resources, and our climate changes around us. The impact of climate change on our world and way of life is not to be underestimated, and the consequences of not adapting to our new reality could be disastrous. This course aims to introduce students to the concepts involved in disaster and emergency management as they relate to the natural environment and the impacts of climate change. The course will cover an introduction to the types, causes and impacts of natural and environmental disasters; an introduction to climate science and modelling; an explanation of the connections between climate change and the frequency and severity of natural disaster occurrences; an overview of risk analysis, and disaster and emergency management strategies that can be employed to mitigate the impacts of such occurrences; and the importance of not just preparing for and mitigating disasters, but adapting our societies to the new realities we face under climate change for our continued survival.
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to research proposal writing, research methodologies, and foundational research theories and protocols. Students in the course learn about the cyclical nature of applied research and the iterative process of research writing. The course teaches students how to write a proposal, engage in independent studies, and work collaboratively with a mentor- mentee relationship with EUS faculty advisor. The curriculum is sequential, helping students to identify a study topic, formulate inquiry questions, organize a literature review, and select appropriate research designs and methodologies. Students use the proposal they develop to establish the foundation of a summer project and the basis of a final research paper that will be submitted at the end of the summer once the study is completed. By the end of the course, students will complete a proposal that includes an introduction, problem statement (significance of study), literature review, methods section, references, and a project timeline. At the end of the summer students will convert this proposal into a full research that will include the following sections: findings, discussion, conclusions, and references.
The course enrolls students majoring in the social sciences (environmental management, social impact assessment), natural and physical sciences, engineering, and professional fields. Throughout the course, students will learn how research projects can emanate from specific intellectual interests, recognized knowledge gaps in existing scholarship, or from personal experiences or community-related matters that have broad societal implications. In summary, the course helps EUS Program undergraduate students become novice researchers, and it encourages them to continue looking for opportunities after the spring semester to further develop their research skills. This course, which is in modeled after a graduate-level introductory research methods seminar series, prepares undergraduates for future research experiences, particularly at the graduate-level. Accordingly, students will also receive advising related to and opportunities to explore postgraduate programs.
Senior Thesis Seminar 1, 2
Environmental Studies Senior Seminar brings together majors with different course backgrounds to analyze environmental problems using an interdisciplinary approach. The seminar will guide students through key issues in research design, from choosing a topic, through selecting approaches to researching it, to conducting research, drawing conclusions and summarizing the results in written form. While the students will be able to draw on a textbook to aid them in understanding the research process in ecological science, emphasis will be placed on how such research is actually conducted. To this end, the students will review and discuss empirical articles published in a variety of social science journals. At the end of semester, students will focus mostly on completing their research and writing of the thesis. Each student will be required to present the results of their research to their colleagues at the end of the course.
An internship experience provides the student with an opportunity to explore career interests while applying knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in a work setting. The experience also helps students gain a clearer sense of what they still need to learn and provides an opportunity to build professional networks.
The internship will provide students with the opportunity to:
Class Attendance Policy
Attendance is essential. The student is expected to attend all classes and to willingly participate in class discussions. Attendance for each class will be taken and missing classes may be reflected in your grade. The lecture objectives for each week shall be reviewed and the assigned readings completed prior to the lecture for that material.
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/AUCALibrary/?ref=settings
For reference and research help:
Tolgonai (0702) 163-472; email@example.com
Zhuzumkan (0999) 107-303; firstname.lastname@example.org
Aman (0555) 424-152; email@example.com
Job or internship opportunity
Governmental Ministries, Agencies and Departments
State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.
State Agency on Natural Resources and Minerals
Academics, Universities such as:
KNU - Kyrgyz National University
KRSU - Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University
OSH ST - Osh State University
BHU - Bishkek Humanities University
KUMTOR - Kumtor Gold Company
UNDP - United Nations Development Program
ADB - Asian Development Bank
WB - World Bank
GEF - Global Environment Facility
SDC - Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
JICA - Japan International Cooperation Agency
GTZ - German Technical Cooperation DEFRA - Britain’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
USAID – US Agency for International Development
TACIS - Technical Assistance to CIS countries
SIDA – Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Helvetas – Swiss Association for International Cooperation Aga Khan Foundation
ECO - Economic Cooperation Organization
UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
OSCEO - Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
CGIAR – Consultative Group on Agriculture Research
FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization
IFAD - International Fund for Agricultural Development
DFID - Department for International Development
ICARDA – International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area
The French Kyrgyz Association of Ecotourism (AFKE) is a non-profit association (association law 1901) which was created in 2007 to bring France and Kyrgyzstan closer together in terms of tourism and to help the development of ecological tourism in Kyrgyzstan. More generally, we participate in the protection of the environment of Kyrgyzstan. Our association brings together people concerned with promoting sustainable tourism and creating economically viable tourism projects while preserving the environment as well as possible. AUCA and AFKE are partners in protecting and developing the Karagachevaya Rosha Park, the largest green space in the city of Bishkek. This project was launched in 2018. Several bachelor's theses of the EMSD program have a topic linked to this project. Former students have also worked on this project or completed an internship. A photo album is available at the office or online on request.
Where exchange students and graduates study:
The faculty and staff of EMSD Programme value and are committed to fostering diversity in the classroom and in the University. By respecting differences in culture, age, gender, gender expression, race, ethnicity, national origin, differing abilities, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation, we enrich the learning environment, enhance personal creativity and self-development of all.
The Sustainability Board is the advisory body of the AUCA Environmental Sustainability program. The representatives come from business, government, and academia with the goal of forming a curriculum and study experience that prepares students for the environmental challenges that face Central Asia today, and will have consequences for the entire world in the future.
According to AUCA regulations, all visitors to campus (including staff, students, and faculty) must show their valid AUCA ID card before entering the premises. This policy is in place to ensure the security of the university, but if you find yourself in an Emergency situation on campus please contact the following departments as quickly as possible.
Senior Specialist of AUCA Security Service
Tel: +996 (312) 66 11 18, Ext. 221 (also 278, 220)
AUCA Medical Services
AUCA Main Building Room 219
Tel: + 996 (312) 66 15 13 Ext.: 219
Working Hours: Monday-Friday 8.30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/742682835817745/
Environmental Sustainability Officer
Phone: +996 (312) 915 000 Ext: 429
AUCA, Room 415
AUCA, Room 415
TENGDIK KYZY NURZADA
AUCA, Room 415
+996 (312) 915 000 Ext: 429