Challenge Week: Join Online

Global Disruptive Tech Challenge 2021: Restoring Landscapes in the Aral Sea Region

Join us for Challenge Week live from 5-9 April 2021! Listen in as 24 teams go head-to-head to present their disruptive solutions to save the disappearing Aral Sea in Central Asia, once the world’s fourth-largest inland water body.

The audience will have a front row seat as an expert jury chooses the winning proposals, the chance to network with fellow participants, connect with world leading environment and development institutions, regional organizations and universities, and make their mark on the global landscape restoration community. 

Register below to receive the latest updates on Challenge Week, including speakers, agenda and networking opportunities, as well as reminders when the event goes live!

Meet the 24 selected proposals

Sustainable Forestry

Live on: Monday 5 April 2021, 15:00 GMT+6

Project Title:

Aral Honey Gardens

Team member:

Natalya Akinshina; Azamat Azizov

Country:

Uzbekistan
Project Title:

Recycling and Forestry as the solutions against desertification and destruction

Team member:

Anvarjon Rahmetov; Pavel Li; Ruslan Lyu

Country:

Uzbekistan
Project Title:

A sea within a seed: Regenerative agroforestry solutions for landscape restoration

Team member:

Nigora Isamiddinova; Neal Spackman; Mehemed Bougsea

Country:

Uzbekistan
Project Title:

The melt water to irrigate crops forest

Team member:

Knyazev Ilya; Sonina Natalia

Country:

Russia
Project Title:

Encapsulated seeds and Biodegradable net-rolls have no analogues in the world and are considered new innovative methods of phytomelioration of deserts and mountainous areas

Team member:

Alim Asamatdinov

Country:

Uzbekistan
Project Title:

Afforestation by growing Elaeagnus angustifolia and almond gardens for development of the Aral Sea basin

Team member:

Maral Annanurova; Akmyrat Atamyradov; Dildar Babajanova; Nuryagdy Halmedov

Country:

Turkmenistan

Agriculture and Land Management

Live on: Monday 5 April 2021, 16:30 GMT+6

Project Title:

Transforming salty lands into rich agricultural landscapes by NETICS patented GEOWALL® land cultivating technology

Team member:

Ewoud Volbeda; Hugo Ekkelenkamp; Michel Zuijderwijk; Herman Mondeel

Country:

Netherlands
Project Title:

Nutritive Hydrogel for water preservation & Land, soil aeration

Team member:

Zharkyn Imanakunova; Yann Le Coz; Jordan Obri

Country:

Kyrgyzstan
Project Title:

Sustainable Farming - Improving Farmer Livelihoods and Promoting Sustainable Agriculture providing advisories using a digital platform

Team member:

Silas Joseph; Kunal Prasad; Krishna Kumar; Praveen Pankajakshan

Country:

India
Project Title:

Restoration of degraded and saline lands of the bottom of the dried Aral Sea by treating with Biomeliorant for neutralizing salts and fertilizing.

Team member:

Daulet Yegemberdiyev; Akmaral Dyisenova

Country:

Kazakhstan
Project Title:

Greywater Nexus Greenhouse, Moving Beyond 100% Efficiency in Carbon Cycle

Team member:

Mona Poorzady

Country:

Iran
Project Title:

BraveHawk Artificial Intelligent Pest Management Technology

Team member:

Shahnaz Shaikh; Khalil Shaikh

Country:

India

Socio-economic Development

Live on: Tuesday 6 April 2021, 19:00 GMT+6

Project Title:

“Isla O.” Closed Loop Eco Island for Landscape Restoration + Carbon sequestration + Circular Economy

Team member:

Trina Listanco; Endre Balogh

Country:

Canada
Project Title:

Aral basin news on the YouTube channel “Land and Water CA”

Team member:

Andrey V. Mitusov; Beknazar Ziyabidin; Mehrojiddin Rajabov; Zhaniya Khaibullina

Country:

Germany
Project Title:

Let's fill Aral Sea with ocean of sounds

Team member:

Otabek Suleimanov; Sanjar Rakhmatullaev; Jurabek Abdurahmanov; Valentina, Indira and team of volunteers

Country:

Uzbekistan
Project Title:

Capacity-building of women on rationale and effective water and land management on the base of Women Water Forum

Team member:

Rasulova Khairiniso; Bobokhanova Muyasara; Tulieva Shohida; Makhmudova Farzona

Country:

Tajikistan
Project Title:

Sustainable Socio-Economic Agro (SSEA) business for Aral Sea region people in harmony with flora and fauna

Team member:

Aiman Absattarova; Janay Sagin; Zhanuzak Baimanov

Country:

Kazakhstan
Project Title:

From landlocked to leader. Centrals Asia’s youth want to trade up sovereignty for competitive advantage

Team member:

Michel Oosterhof; Socrates Raymond

Country:

Netherlands

Information and Knowledge

Live on: Wednesday 7 April 2021, 19:00 GMT+6

Project Title:

Sentinels for Sustainable Pasture management: Application in the Aral Sea region and Central Asia (SenSPaApp)

Team member:

Emmanouel Tsiros; Apostolos Karteris; Dimitra Rapti; Ioannis Kapanidis

Country:

Greece
Project Title:

Using Big Data Sentiment Analysis Technology to Improve Landscape Restoration Efforts

Team member:

Sharanya Rajiv; Tiffany Chan; Matt Trevithick; Xi Hu

Country:

USA
Project Title:

PRO-access: provide open-access information services for better land and water management

Team member:

Annemarie Klaasse; Mechteld Andriessen

Country:

Netherlands
Project Title:

Remote sensing of degraded lands using drones will make it possible to assess the germination of crops and monitor the quality of the crop

Team member:

Maksat Tuganbekov; Tamenov Timur

Country:

Kazakhstan
Project Title:

Irokko: Artificial intelligence and protection of the Aral Sea

Team member:

Saliou Diallo; Julien Maîtrehenry; Lukas kokot; Victoria Cantillo

Country:

Canada
Project Title:

ROMPS for sustainable climate data collection from Aral Sea disaster area

Team member:

Almas Kitapbayev; Tilo Shoene; Cornelia Zech; Bolat Bekniyaz

Country:

Kazakhstan

Youth And Innovative Eco-startups

Live on: 8 April 2021, 14:00–15:50 GMT+6
Join the workshop, learn about grant opportunities for green start-ups and business incubators in Kazakhstan, Central Asia, and get to know how to start your own business!

Full program in [Russian | English]

Networking Session

8 April 2021, 15:50-17:00 GMT+6
Join the networking session, meet fellow participants, and share your experience on disruptive technologies and the Aral Sea region! Please register in order to join the session.
You will receive joining information via email prior the event.

Visit, Publish and Teach About the Aral

Live on: 8 April 2021, 18:00–20:00 GMT+6
Are you interested in visiting, studying, and writing about the Aral Sea region? Join this side event and get to know about opportunities to share your experience!

Full program in [Russian | English]

ALL WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED AT THE GRAND FINALE
9 APRIL 19:30 (GMT+6)

Join the Grand Finale of the Challenge, connect with world-leading environment and development institutions, regional organizations and universities, and get to know the winners of the Challenge!

PROGRAM

Opening Remarks

  • Khusniddin Sharofiddinov, Deputy Chairman, Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea
  • Kainarbekov Askhat, Chairman of the Forestry and Wildlife Committee of the Ministry of ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • Olim Khakimov First Deputy Chairman of the Forestry Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan
  • Steven Schonberger, Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, World Bank
  • Challenge Retrospective – Lilia Burunciuc, Central Asia Regional Director, World Bank

Roundtable

  • Barbara Janusz-Pawletta, Vice-rector for International Cooperation, Kazakh-German University
  • Cora van Oosten, Content and learning advisor, Global Landscapes Forum, CIFOR-ICRAF
  • Mike Zayonc, Vice President Plug & Play

Rising Star Awards

  • Paola Agostini, Lead Natural Resources Management Specialist

Challenge winners’ announcement per category

  • Kseniya Lvovsky, Environment & Natural Resources Practice Manager
  • Sascha Djumena, Country Program Coordinator

Presentation by the winning team, Agriculture and land management

Presentation by the winning team, Sustainable forestry

Presentation by the winning team, Socio-Economic Development

Presentation by the winning team, Information and Knowledge

Closing Remarks

  • Manon Cassara, Environment Specialist

What is the Global Disruptive Tech Challenge 2021?

The Global Disruptive Tech Challenge 2021 aims to identify and support disruptive technologies and innovative approaches to landscape restoration in the Aral Sea region and Central Asia. The Challenge will select innovators (individuals or entities) from around the world to change the lives of millions of people in the Aral Sea region. Proposals obtaining the best scores will obtain recognition and awards, including a monetary award of up to US $4,000 and an invitation to participate in a 4-month Mentorship Program.

This is your opportunity to help change millions of lives, while showcasing your innovative idea before a global audience. Join the Challenge, get recognition from experts and international organizations, and become part of a restoration community

Why The Aral Sea Region?

The Aral Sea in Central Asia, once the world’s fourth-largest inland water body, has almost disappeared due to more than 30 years of overuse of its resources to grow water-intensive crops, such as cotton and rice. This dramatic change has led to a steep decline in the environmental, social, and economic well-being of the region.

The situation has been further impacted by global climate change, which is already affecting the livelihoods of more than four million people who live in the disaster zone. That covers a significant part of Uzbekistan and the southern part of Kazakhstan; in total, 40 million people live in the Aral Sea basin and might be affected further by the disaster there.

Moreover, salt from the Aral Sea is found far beyond this region, including in Scandinavia and Antarctica. Every year, winds carry some 150 million tons of salt – often toxic due to pesticides and fertilizers used in intensive farming – from the Aral Sea over hundreds of thousands kilometers.

Why Disruptive Technologies?

Innovative technologies and approaches have the power to substantially “disrupt” the status quo of development paradigms. Disruptive technologies can help alleviate the negative impacts on landscapes from natural and human induced factors, while also addressing the needs of economic growth and sustainable development.

Innovators are invited to propose their disruptive and innovative solutions to landscape restoration issues in the Aral Sea region with the potential to scale-up in the entire Central Asia (from the mountains to the steppes).

Browse our curated selection of knowledge products to learn more about the challenges of degradation in Central Asia, and why landscape restoration is a key part of the solution.

Hosted by:

See the full list of the project partners here