Request for UNDP - 1998




To UNDP Offices in Kyzylorda/Aralsk, att. Nailya Okda

To UNDP Almaty, att. Knud Ostby

New York, att. Henrik Kolstrup

Copenhagen, att. Peter Iversen, Lotte Jørgensen


Concerning: How can UNDP support the fish trade, the fishermen and their families in connection with a Danish/Kazakish Fishery project by the Aral Sea, Kasakstan?


For more than 4 years the Danish grassroots society Landsforeningen Levende Hav (The Danish Society for a Living Sea) cooperated with fishermen and others by the Aral Sea in Kasakstan. We have worked with a fishery, environmental and developmental project around the Northern part of the Aral Sea – called Little Aral. The project is called ”From Kattegat to Aral Sea – a Fishery project” – and through the years it has received a support of app. $ 420,000 from The Danish Foreign Ministry and private funds. From the received amount, $ 240,000 has been spend in the Aralsk Region, and the rest has been spend on wages, travelling expenses, administration and exhibitions in Denmark.

The project must be considered the largest concrete grassroots project around the Aral Sea. In the 4 years the project has been working, 35 people from the Aralsk region have attended courses in Denmark. New fishing equipment of a value of app. $ 120,000 has been transported from Denmark to Aralsk. The Danish biologist of the project has cooperated with a Kasakish research institute in conducting the first biological investigation of a larger scale in Big Aral since 1991. The project has had 12 different Danish delegates for shorter and longer periods, among these five have been professional fishermen. The project has facilitated the establishment of app. 22 independent fishermen cooperatives, of which at least half to day can be said to be moving in the ’right’ direction. In the autumn, 1998 the project spend app. $ 40,000 on supporting the cooperatives, buying motors and trading fish. And as the latest activity, a sister society to The Danish Society of a Living Sea has been established in Aralsk – a society that is expected to attract 3-400 members.

By now, the project has accomplished its goals in what we called phase 1, and it is halfway in its phase 2. Now we are moving to phase 3 – and expect that it will begin in July, 1999 and last for two years.


The over all objective of the project is to support the fishermen and their families around Little Aral in Kasakstan. In the area there are app. 700 fishermen, living in villages, in Aralsk and in two fishing communes. By supporting the fishermen, the project aims at establishing a sustainable flounder fishery in the Aral Sea. The Aral Sea flounder was introduced from the Azavo Sea, when the Aral Sea gradually became more salt and the fresh water fish disappeared. Today the flounder population is so big, that the fishermen can catch app. 4,500 ton/year – without threatening the biological sustainability of the population.


The Danish Society for a Living Sea works with an environmental policy objective, and this is fulfilled in this work, because focus is put on the environment in and around the Aral Sea. The Aral Sea is a key example of what man must not do to nature. But still, we believe that the Aral Sea has a future as a Sea, the limiting factor is primarily money.

The Society’s objectives are achieved by concrete projects. The basic assumption of the Society is that environmental questions must be answered by concrete activities, and knowledge about the factual conditions of the possible answer. The activities led to knowledge, and thus new plans and investments are based on a sustainable fundament.

The main part of the many descriptions of the Aral Sea problems have been made after a short visit with a camera, and thereafter the writing of a report. These descriptions do not led to a sensible utilization of the funds of the World Society. Funds that we are obliged to offer for the solution of the social and environmental problem in and around the Aral Sea.

Request for UNDP:

UNDP has been present in the Aralsk Region since 1994. Since 1994, we have tried to create an interest in the UNDP to support the fishery – without success. We came close in the autumn 1998, but in the end we did not succeed in convincing UNDP that they ought to support the fishery with an amount of $ 20,000 – mainly for smaller credits for the fishermen.

Therefore we now circulate this request in the UNDP system. We wish that the UNDP will find the necessary funds to support and give credits to the fishery cooperatives and the fish treatment industries in Aralsk region. We hope to find support in the Danish Foreign Ministry for a two year period of app. $ 250,000. Apart from this we hope to find additional support of $ 50,000.

The money will be spend as follows: on Fishery equipment and transport, on repairing boats and building new ones, on a pontoon bridge, on a work shop on net fabrication, on support for the cooperatives, on the Aral Sea Society in Aralsk, and on wages and administration in Denmark.

From the Danish Foreign Ministry we learn that Denmark does not ear mark its fundings for the UNDP. Is there another country that could possible do this? And/or is it possible that the UN offices in the receptive countries can apply for funding for this purpose in the UNDP or e.g. in UNOSP?

The over all argument in favour of supporting the Aral Sea fishermen is, that with a biologically and economically sustainable fishery in the Aral Sea the work to have the Aral Sea regenerated, e.g. leading more water to the Sea, and minimising the desertification.

We are available with any necessary information. We published a report in 1998, it will be revised to include the project’s results from 1998/99.

Yours sincerely

Kurt Bertelsen Christensen

This request has been send by fax and email to:                                                                                                                                            

UNDP Kzylorda

Att. Nailya Okda

007 3242 261125

007 3242 261126


UNDP Almaty

Att. Knud Ostby

007 3272 642618

007 3272 642608


UNDP New York

Att. Henrik Kolstrup


DANIDA/UNDP Copenhagen

Att. Peter Ivertsen S4

+ 45 33920000


UNDP Copenhagen

Att. Lotte Jørgensen

+ 45 35467163


The project coordinator i Kazakstan: Aralsk

The Society ARAL TINIZE : Zhannat Makhambetova phone/fax 0073243 322256


Makhambet Tairov. 0073272 485510 e-mail