Exploring Environmental Challenges: Insights from OSUN's GeoHub Event at Central European University


Exploring Environmental Challenges: Insights from OSUN's GeoHub Event at Central European University

February 29, 2024


Within OSUN's GeoHub project, we held the next event at Central European University in Vienna, Austria. On February 23rd, Daniyar Karabaev from the LAS department AUCA, Kanat Sultanaliev and Otabek Nigmatov from the Tian-Shan Policy Center AUCA, gave a talk for CEU students in the Environmental Studies department.

Daniyar Karabaev spoke about "Sustainable Nomad Lifestyle: Perspectives on the Sarykol Kyrgyz of the Eastern Pamir." The topic was particularly engaging, especially considering Daniyar's background; he was born in the Pamir region and did his PhD studying yaks in the Pamir. The talk described how pasture management in Sarykol, in particular the method of collecting livestock, contributes to their sustainable way of life. It was also interesting to look at life in the region in two distinct time periods: Soviet and post-Soviet, and what kind of changes took place. In addition, the speaker provided a comparative analysis covering history, environment, energy and other challenges faced by the Pamir region.

Since, the participants were from Environmental Studies department they initiated a productive discussion on how the use of geospatial technology can contribute to this research, specifically for mapping land degradation level and outlining used and unused lands in the region.

The next presentation done by Kanat Sultanaliev was describing Air contamination and Smog in Bishkek. He remarked how various researchers and non-governmental organizations are contributing by highlighting the changing situation of air pollution in Bishkek city and its economic costs. The talk included statements such as:

  • Analysis of extreme pollution events in Bishkek revealed the most important connection with climatic conditions.
  • All 49 recorded cases of high PM2.5 levels were preceded by temperature inversions.
  • Winter smog in Bishkek is formed as a result of pollution accumulation during cold cloudy weather.
  • Snow, rain or fog often precede extreme pollution events.
  • International cooperation is needed to improve pollution assessment methodologies.
  • Understanding climatic factors is vital for developing effective strategies to reduce pollution in Bishkek.

The students were very familiar with the topic and had a very productive question and answer session.

In the last part of the presentation, Otabek Nigmatov discussed the prospects of GIS in project implementation, emphasizing the key role of geographic information systems (GIS) in analysis. Focusing on Tian-Shan Policy Center's active projects, Nigmatov demonstrated how GIS serves as a fundamental component, especially in environmental studies and project implementation. Since the lecture was given to students in an Earth observation class, speaking the language of the various maps was very common.

At the end of the visit, various collaboration mechanisms were discussed to facilitate interaction between CEU and AUCA students for project work.

GeoHub is an open platform project aimed at developing the capacity of OSUN (Open Society University Network) members to use the latest geospatial methods and technologies in research and teaching disciplines. The project is in partnership with Central European University, American University of Central Asia, and Bard College.

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