Finnish geological expertise to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Taking water samples, creating digital maps and performing field measurements – these are examples of the many matters that are included in the cooperation projects between Finnish, Kyrgyz and Tajik geoscience experts. The projects, which are carried out by the Geological Survey of Finland in cooperation with local geo-scientific institutions in 2011–2018, are funded from the Foreign Ministry’s development cooperation funds.

New work processes will be developed and taught during training courses in which the participants learn to digitalise geological materials and improve data management. Geological materials are used, for instance in the management of natural resources, monitoring of the state of the environment and planning of infrastructure.

Kyrgyz and Tajik participants in a training course, studying digitisation of maps for the geospatial data in Rovaniemi in March 2016. Picture: Reijo Lampela/Geological Survey of Finland

A Central Asian Countries Geoportal(Linkki toiselle verkkosivustolle) for the distribution of geo-scientific information has been established in cooperation with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.  Cooperation and exchange of information have been increased within the institutions and between the national agencies and research institutions and international organisations.

The projects focus on improving preparedness for climate change -induced phenomena, such as landslides, by gathering remote sensing and satellite data materials. Additionally, for instance geophysical techniques are used to conduct environmental and groundwater surveys.

Modern equipment and software have been purchased for these surveys and research projects.

Cooperation between the countries’ geology experts has been increased by organising joint training modules. Geophysicists from both countries took part in the most recent field measurement training module in Tajikistan.

Mountains as a research target

The field work section responded to an actual need: A new road will be constructed across a terrain full of steep mountains between Obigarm and Nurobod. It will have tunnels and leave the old road under the biggest dam in Central Asia.  The geological composition of the mountain was analysed using various geophysical measurement methods.

Groundwater measurements in Cholpon-Ata, near Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan in 2016. Picture: Jaana Lohva/Geological Survey of Finland

The impacts of the cooperation are already visible in the everyday work at the research institutes, as should be expected of successful projects. The results of the projects in both Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan include active digitisation and quantitative measurement processes.

Local geophysicists’ expertise has improved. They have received external orders in which they have been able to use the geophysical equipment acquired in connection with the project, for instance to perform various analyses.

Special equipment has been acquired for groundwater studies, which can be used to monitor changes in groundwater quality. This has reduced the costs arising from laboratory analyses. As a whole, the participating countries have been satisfied with the improvements in the management of geoinformatics.

Finland’s support in 2014-2018 to the projects strengthening the management of natural resources in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan totals EUR 3.2 million.

Jaana Lohva

The author of this article works at Geological Survey of Finland and is Project Manager of the projects in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.