Assessing the Vulnerability of Nomadic Pastoralists’ Livelihoods to Climate Change in the Zhetysu Region of Kazakhstan

Anar Baytelieva, Woo Kyun Lee, Sonam Wangyel Wang, Aliya Iskakova, Gulnar Ziyayeva, Kenzhegali Shilibek, Nurakhmet Azatov, Nurzhan Zholamanov, Zhamalkhan Minarbekov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kazakhstan is historically a livestock-producing country. For the first time in this study, we attempted to assess the vulnerability of nomadic pastoralists in Kazakhstan to climate change using the Livelihood Vulnerability Index (LVI). To collect data, a survey of 100 household heads was conducted on fourteen main components and fifty-six sub-components. The study was conducted in the period from May to July 2022 in the Panfilov (PD) and Kerbulak (KD) districts of the Zhetysu region, where the Altyn-Emel State National Nature Park is located. The results of the study were combined using a composite index method and comparing different vulnerability indicators. Natural disasters, which manifest as the effects of drought, temperature fluctuations, and precipitation, contribute most to the vulnerability of nomads living in remote mountain areas with a complex infrastructure. According to the results of the study, nomads of both regions have high vulnerability in such components as natural resources, human–wildlife conflict, housing type, agriculture and food security, and social networks. High vulnerability in the “Finances and incomes” component was found only in the pastoralists of the PD. Identifying the levels of vulnerability of nomadic households to climate change, as well as understanding their adaptation strategies, will enable pastoralists to gain access to new ways of reducing the vulnerability of their livelihoods. Currently, the country practices a strategy to reduce the vulnerability of pastoral nomads’ livelihoods by insuring livestock against natural or natural hazards and other risks; involving the population in environmental-protection activities and helping them to obtain sustainable financial resources when they refuse to hunt endangered animals; non-agricultural diversification of high-altitude ecotourism in rural areas in their area of residence; and improving financial literacy by providing training and providing information on low-interest loans under state projects and livestock subsidy mechanisms, as well as training in organizing cooperatives within the framework of legal status, which will ensure them stable sales of products and income growth. The results of software research serve as a basis for taking measures within the framework of the development and implementation of state programs for climate change adaptation of the Environmental Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, where agriculture is one of the priority areas of management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2038
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Nov

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • adaptive ability
  • climate change
  • environmental code of Kazakhstan Republic
  • livelihood vulnerability index
  • nomads
  • sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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