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Herders coping with hazards in Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia

Abgeschlossenes Projekt


Kati Krähnert


1. Mai 2015 - 1. Mai 2018


Volkswagen Stiftung


University of Münster (UOM), Kyrgyz State University of Construction, Transport and Architecture (KSUCTA), National University of Mongolia (NUM)

Aim of the project

With climate change, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia are increasingly experiencing natural hazards. The livelihoods of herders are particularly affected by natural hazards, which render them vulnerable to poverty. The proposed project has two objectives: (1) to extend the available knowledge on how herders in Central Asia cope with natural hazards and (2) to improve the research capacity (concerning both methodology and data) within the Central Asian region.


This project will collect and analyze a new database, bridging the disciplines of geoinformatics, development economics, spatial statistics, and geography. Using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, the project will track the movements of semi-nomadic herders in Kyrgyzstan and of nomadic herders in Mongolia. Moreover, we will collect a socio-economic survey from the same herding households that particularly captures households’ exposure to natural hazards and the coping strategies applied by households.

The novelty of our approach lies in combining geographic location data of (semi-) nomadic households with socio-economic survey data and assessing the data jointly. The project will investigate to what degree mobility, land use patterns, the geographic environment at a household’s location, and access to markets mitigate the effects of natural hazards. Our analyses will be comparative, combining insights and methods in Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia, thereby fostering trans-boundary cooperation in research.

Capacity building

Capacity building activities represent an integral aspect of the project. These activities are targeting researchers in the early stages of their careers: doctoral students and postdoc researchers from Central Asia who are committed to staying in the region as their career progresses. The project will train those researchers in designing and implementing household surveys as well as in collecting geodata. The project will enhance the methodological expertise of these researchers in the fields of micro-econometrics and geospatial analysis as well as the application of analytical software. We will build capacity by offering summer school programs in Bishkek and Ulan Bator, bringing the Central Asian project staff to summer schools in Europe, facilitating long-term research visits at the German partner institutions, yearly project workshops, training doctoral students, and making the collected household survey data available to the research community.

The project will be implemented through a symmetric cooperation between four academic institutions in Central Asia and Germany: the Kyrgyz State University of Construction, Transportation and Architecture (KSUCTA), the National University of Mongolia (NUM), University of Münster, and the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). The overall leadership of the project will be at DIW Berlin.

KKraehnert.jpgKati Krähnert (project leader)
studied Social Anthropology and Economics at Free University Berlin and Wake Forest University and obtained her PhD in Agricultural Economics from Humboldt University in 2010. Her research interests include development economics, the economics of climate change, and household behavior in risky environments.


    Kerstin Ferguson (Project Coordinator)
    joined DIW Berlin in October 2010. Prior to working for DIW Berlin, she worked for the Deutsche Post in Bonn, the Amerika Haus in Cologne and the American Academy in Berlin. Kerstin received her Magister in North American Studies and English Philology from Freie Universität Berlin. During her studies, she spent one year as an exchange student in the USA.


      Melinda Vigh

       akylbek.jpg Akylbek Chymyrov (KSUCTA)
      is Head of the Department “Geodesy and Geoinformatics” at Kyrgyz State University of Construction, Transport and Architecture. His academic and research interests are Applied Geodesy, GNSS, GIS, Civil Engineering and Disaster risk assessment. Akylbek participated in a number of international projects by EC TEMPUS, Erasmus Mundus, CRDF, DAAD and ISDR programs.


      Akylbek Chymyrov (KSUCTA)
      Ulanbek Shekerbekov (KSUCTA)
      works as postdoc and lecturer at the department “Railway” at Kyrgyz State University of Construction, Transport and Architecture. His academic and research interests are Applied Geodesy, GNSS, GIS, Civil Engineering and Disaster risk assessment. Ulanbek participated in a number of international projects, for example by EC TEMPUS.

       adilet.jpgAdilet Bekturov (project leader)Adilet Bekturov (KSUCTA)
      is currently finishing the Geoinformatics Master Program at Kyrgyz State University of Construction, Transport and Architecture, where he will enter the PhD program in 2015. Adilet studied at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) in Spain during the academic year 2013-2014 and now works as Assistant Teacher at the Department Geodesy and Geoinformatic, KSUCTA. His research interests are focused on Geodesy, GIS, GNSS, and Spatial Analysis.

      Shamsia Ibragimova (Sotseconic)

      Myagmartseren Purevtseren
      works as Assistant Professor at the Urban Planning and Land Administration Department, National University of Mongolia and as Consulting Engineer of Land Use Planning and Management. He holds a BSc in Pasture Management, an MSc in Agriculture Sciences, an MSc in Geo-information sciences and a PhD in Geography (National University of Mongolia). His research interests focus on land use planning, land use studies in geo-spatial contexts, as well as issues concerning geo-political decision-making processes.

        Munkhnaran Sugar
        is a PhD student at the National University of Mongolia and holds an MSc degree in Land Tenure and Land Management from Technical University Munich as well as an MsC degree in Land Management from the National University of Mongolia.
        She works as lecturer at NUM and her research interests are land use planning, sustainable land use, and urban planning.

        Chinbat Badamdorj (National University of Mongolia)

          In the media:

          Crossing Borders 2016. Das englischsprachige Magazin der VolkswagenStiftung