Kazakhstan - Country Commercial Guide
Environmental Technologies
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The potential of Kazakhstan’s environmental technologies market is closely related to the continuing dependency of the economy on the export of natural resources, expanding scale of mining, energy activities and their negative impact on the environment, as well as inevitable climate change consequences and commitments related to the Paris Climate Accord.    Besides the obvious and pressing environmental challenges, there is also a growing political commitment to support “green” developments by tightening legislation and ensuring its strict enforcement. The volume of environmental protection expenditures in Kazakhstan reached $855 million in 2021, 8.6 percent more compared to 2020 and 0.8 percent less than the record level in 2019.

It is important to note that environmental technologies chapter is distinct from others as this sector is in development stage and there is not yet a clear definition of environmental technology industry and general statistics in Kazakhstan. The market potential is presented through opportunities in (1) commodity-related subsectors (air, water and waste) and (2) environmental regulation as the demand for technologies is not driven by environmental needs, but rather functional rules of enforcement.

Air Pollution

Kazakhstan is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in Central Asia and the 14th in the world. The carbon intensity of Kazakhstan’s GDP is twice that of the world average and three times that of the European Union. Large-scale mining, oil and gas exploration, electricity and heating generation, and industrial activities, economic growth in the last decade, and increased traffic flows - all require urgent and serious air pollution control.

In 2020, emissions of pollutants into the air from stationary sources amounted to 2,441,000 tons. The main pollutants are solids (dust and ash), sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides (NO2), carbon oxides, VOCs, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide.

Emissions of pollutants into the atmospheric air from stationary sources for 2014-2020, thousand tons

Table: Emissions of pollutants into the atmospheric air from stationary sources for 2014-2020, thousand tons









Solid substances








Sulphur dioxide








Oxide carbon








Nitrogen oxides
























Hydrogen sulfide








Source: Bureau of National Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Top three drivers of Greenhouse Gas Emissions are energy industry, accounting for 40 percent of annual emissions; transportation (9.1 percent) and manufacturing sources (8.8 percent).

Kazakhstan sets the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 and fulfilling the commitments made under the Paris Agreement. The country has created a legislative and institutional framework for facilitating Kazakhstan’s transition to a “green” economy. In 2021, the new Environmental Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan came into force, one of the innovations of which was the implementation of the “polluter pays and corrects” principle. Kazakhstan is also the initiator of the Green Bridge Partnership Program (GBPP), approved by the UN and countries of the world as a platform for exchange of knowledge, experience, technology transfer, and facilitating green finance.

The Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources along with the Ministry of Energy are responsible for permits and law enforcement. State enterprise “Kazhydromet” is responsible for monitoring the state of the environment. Other ministries that are important stakeholders in air pollution issues include the Ministry of Health (its sanitary and epidemiological authorities also control air emissions and quality indoor air) and the Ministry of Investment and Development (Transport Committee) in part of the emissions from the transport.

In March 2022, Kazakhstan organized an International Scientific and Practical Conference: “Promoting Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Technology within the Framework of the Green Bridge Partnership Program” to create an effective communication platform to discuss development and implementation of CCS technologies; to familiarize authorized bodies and private enterprises with the CCS technology portfolio and their advantages; discuss possible funding sources to reduce carbon emissions. Kazakhstan depends on fossil fuels, providing ideal conditions for large-scale CCS deployment to diversify and decarbonize its energy production.

Opportunities in Air Pollution

Potential market opportunities for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), Air Control Pollution Control technologies and Hydrogen are listed below:

  • Chevron joined forces with JSC National Oil& Gas Company KazMunayGas to collaborate on evaluating, investigating, and pursuing lower carbon opportunities.
  • Honeywell is planning to implement large-scale carbon capture project in Kazakhstan.
  • EBRD will finance a $200 million pilot project on Carbon Capture and Storage technology deployment at Kazakh industrial enterprises.
  • EBRD will provide a loan of up to EUR 252 million to JSC “Almaty Power Plants” for comprehensive modernization of the existing Combined Heat and Power Plant 2 (“CHP-2”), with full replacement of coal by natural gas as a primary fuel in order to reduce CO2 emissions and improve air quality in Almaty.
  • Kazakhstan invited ACWA Power, a Saudi Arabia-based developer and investor, to implement joint projects for the production of green hydrogen in Kazakhstan.
  • Industrial enterprises of East Kazakhstan region plan to purchase technologies for automatic monitoring of emissions in 2022-2024. Kazakhstani mining enterprises need technologies to utilize sulfur dioxide, increase the efficiency of sulfuric acid plants. JSC “Aluminum of Kazakhstan” plans a modernization of four ash-collection installations at a combined heat and power plant, scheduled to be completed in until 2030.

Water Management

The annual volume of surface water resources in Kazakhstan is 100.9 km3, of which 54.5 km3 are formed locally and the rest 46.4 km3 from transboundary rivers in China, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan.

The main share of water use in Kazakhstan falls on agricultural production, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the total water consumption in the country. Then follows  industry - more than 20 percent and about 5 percent for household needs. Losses during water transportation are on average about 60 percent for agricultural consumers, about 40 percent for industrial and 50 percent for utilities.

Kazakhstan ranks eighth in terms of water scarcity among Asian countries, behind Bangladesh, India and China among others. A lack of internal water resources, dependency on cross-border river basins, huge volumes of water used for irrigation, the predominance of state-owned enterprises, and persistent underfunding will result in quality drinking water shortages in the near future. Providing urban and rural populations with access to safe drinking water is a priority. An acute shortage of water resources exists in Atyrau, Kyzylorda, and especially in the Mangystau, regions.  In Mangystau region there are practically no natural sources of fresh water for a population of almost 2 million people.

The government has been allocating funds since 2011, and residents of 51% of rural settlements still do not have access to clean drinking water. Of Kazakhstan’s 87 cities, only 58 have sewage treatment facilities, the condition of many of them is poor or insufficient. In 29 of Kazakhstan’s cities these structures are completely absent.

The 2004 Water Code is the major policy document in water management. The sector is mostly governed by state enterprises rather than private sector enterprises. Only 4 private licenses in the country were operating as of 2018.

The Committee on Water Resources is responsible for management, regulation, use, and protection of water resources. In addition, state enterprise “Kazvodkhoz” is responsible for operation and maintenance of large hydraulic infrastructure, irrigation canals, and large water pipelines to the point of entry into settlements. Eight basin inspectorates are responsible for river basin management. The Committee for Construction and Housing and Communal Services under the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development carries out state regulation in the field of water supply and sewerage in populated points. State enterprise Kazhydromet monitors the quality of surface waters, seawater quality, snow cover, precipitation, and hydrological monitoring. It is responsible for collecting, processing and analysis of monitoring data.

Opportunities in Water Management

Potential market opportunities for industrial and municipal wastewater treatment services and technology are listed below:

  • The Government of Kazakhstan intends to invest an annual average of $530 million in water management during 2021-2030.
  • The oil and gas industry still poses a threat to the Caspian Sea Basin through oil spills and other leaks, destruction of habitats and killings of endangered Caspian seals and sturgeons during passages of transport vessels.
  • “Atyrau Oil Refinery Plant” JSC plans to modernize wastewater treatment facilities, reclaim sections of diversion canals and evaporation fields with the support of the EBRD for $80 million until 2023.
  • ADB and EBRD will allocate $686 million for the construction and modernization of sewage treatment facilities in 53 cities of Kazakhstan starting 2021.

Waste Management

Now, only 15% of the 5 million tons of municipal solid waste created each year in Kazakhstan is processed annually in Kazakhstan. Spontaneous landfills and the lack of modern landfills are a key problem in waste management system

The new 2021 Environmental Code introduces a new waste classification, corresponding to the European catalog and aimed at the gradual and circular waste management: minimization of waste generation, reuse of generated waste, waste incineration (waste-to-energy projects) recycling, disposal and disposal at landfills. In addition, a licensing procedure is being introduced for the implementation of activities for the processing, utilization, and destruction of hazardous waste.

 The Waste Department regulates waste management activities.  The Committee of Environmental Regulation and Control   issues permits for emissions in the environment, which include waste generation standards.

On November 21, 2020, legislation on the implementation of the Waste-to-Energy mechanism was introduced to reduce waste and comply with world practice. State promotes investment preferences and PPP mechanisms to increase the profitability of commercial projects in waste management.

 Green Economy Spending and Finance

The most recent data from 2017 shows that about 85 percent of environmental expenditures had been directed towards air pollution control (28 percent), wastewater treatment (27 percent) and waste management (29 percent). The largest amounts on environmental activities were spent by the mining industry, especially on waste management ($52 million) and air pollution ($27 million). According to the same data, major investments were made in renewable energy, energy efficiency and Greenhouse Gas reduction. The environmental financing market itself is currently in developmental stage. Government, as well as international donors such as the EBRD, ADB, and Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), continue to play a key role. There are such instruments as co-financing, soft loans, and interest rate subsidies for green projects.  With the introduction of the Environmental Code, a taxonomy of green projects appeared, and a definition of “green finance” was given, including green loans, bonds, and other instruments. Thanks to this, financing will become understandable and affordable, and will make it possible to include clauses on environmental requirements in traditional investment mechanisms in large projects.

National and International Spending on Green Infrastructure Development

  • The national project “Zhasyl Kazakhstan” for 2021-2025 covers improving the environmental situation in ten cities of Kazakhstan, upgrading water infrastructure, increasing the processing of solid waste from 18% to 34%, reducing the energy intensity of the country’s GDP, preserving biodiversity, and planting two billion trees.
  • The Ministry of Energy provides subsidies for projects to create stand-alone renewable energy plants. Imported equipment is exempt from customs duties.
  •  Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development together with DAMU Entrepreneurship Development Fund have allocated USD 6 billion in loans for the implementation of energy-saving technologies and infrastructure development.
  • he EBRD will allocate USD 200 million for the development of renewable energy sources, the GCF (Green Climate Fund UN) - USD 100 million for the same purposes.
  •  DAMU Entrepreneurship Development Fund together with UNDP placed securities on the AIX stock exchange in the amount of USD 200 million to finance Small and Medium-sized Enterprises projects on renewable energy.
  • There are PPP mechanisms to make waste processing plants and landfills construction projects more cost-effective.
  • Green finance is also promoted by the Astana International Financing Center AIFC, which has created the Green Finance Center platform, as well as the Greentech platform for promoting green technologies and uniting market participants. It also works with EBRD on the project “Kazakhstan: Green Financial System” to develop “green bonds” market in the country.


U.S. Foreign Commercial Service in Almaty, Commercial Assistant for Transportation and Logistics, Alem Abubakirova, alem.abubakirova@trade.gov

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