As a result of unsustainable human activities, the global population of wild species has fallen by 60% over the last 40 years, around 1 million species are at risk of extinction, and 75% of the land surface is significantly altered.

The main drivers of biodiversity loss are land and sea use change, overexploitation, climate change, pollution and the spread of invasive alien species.

Healthy natural ecosystems mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, maintain the air, water and soil quality, provide flood and disease control, and provide many other regulating and provisioning services essential for all living organisms. The crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of maintaining the balance between human activities and nature. Today, we must join our efforts to create healthy and more resilient future for our planet, nature and ourselves.

The European Union (EU) funded project “European Union – Central Asia Water, Environment and Climate Change Cooperation” (WECOOP) is pleased to launch a media contest among Central Asian journalists for the best journalistic materials to address the theme “Restoring biodiversity – our shared responsibility”.

The purpose of this contest is to increase awareness on the crisis of biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation, resource depletion and climate change, as well as the urgent need of transition towards sustainable consumption and production and circular economy. 

As a result of the contest, 6 winners will be selected (one I prize, two II prizes, three III prizes). The winners will take part in a study tour to the Kyrgyz Republic to learn about the practices of conservation and restoration of biodiversity. The trip will be organized by the WECOOP project and is tentatively scheduled for 5-10 September 2021. Taking into account the COVID-19 epidemiological situation, the trip may be postponed to a later date. It will be organized in compliance with all safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus and recommendations for personal protection.


In May 2020, the EU adopted an ambitious and comprehensive plan to tackle biodiversity loss – the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. Being one of the core parts of the European Green Deal, the Biodiversity Strategy addresses the main drivers of biodiversity loss and will be a central element of the EU’s economic recovery plan from the coronavirus pandemic, providing business and investment opportunities. 

In September 2020, at the UN Biodiversity Summit, representatives of 84 states from all regions and the EU adopted the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature and set the goal – “united to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for sustainable development”.

The Contest Terms & Conditions

To participate in the contest, the applicants should meet the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen of one of the five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan);
  • Age 18+;
  • Be an employee of a media outlet duly registered in one of the Central Asian countries.

The languages of the contest materials – Russian, English, or Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen, Uzbek with the translation into Russian or English. 

The materials of individual authors on the topic of biodiversity published in print or electronic media or aired/broadcast on TV/radio during the period from 1 August 2020 to 15 July 2021, in the amount of no more than 3 materials from one applicant are accepted for participation in the contest.

To take part in the contest, an applicant shall fill in the application form (see the attachment) and attach to it the contest materials (article, feature story, interview, photo spread*, TV/radio story line/programme) with indication of hyperlinks to the materials, and in case of a print media also attach a scanned PDF copy with the name of the media outlet, date and number of the issue. The application and all attached materials shall be sent to the e-mail address:

Deadline for submission of application is 15 July 2021. Late applications will not be considered.   

The Contest Committee will be established to evaluate the journalistic contest materials. The Contest Committee shall include representatives of the Cooperation and/or Political, Press and Information sections of the EU Delegations to Central Asian countries, as well as the WECOOP project management team. 

The main evaluation criteria are the following: 

  1. compliance with the theme
  2. understanding and in-depth elucidation of the subject
  3. accuracy and reliability of information
  4. professional level of presenting the material, style of presentation
  5. compliance with ethical principles of journalism.

The contest results shall be announced on 29 July 2021 at the Award Ceremony that will be held online, as well as on the WECOOP project website ( and official social media pages of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Kazakhstan and the WECOOP project (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn – @EuinKazakhstan and @wecoopproject).

* The authors of the photo spreads grant to the organizers the right to display these photographs during the online Award Ceremony and to post them on the official social media pages of the WECOOP project.

Photo by Vladislav Ushakov.