In many parts of Central Asia, intensive human activities have resulted in meso-scale change of climate and ecosystems, e.g. the large-scale ecological disaster in the vicinity of the Aral Sea caused by the sea drying. Everywhere in the region, the response to global change is superimposed on natural variability and human activity impacts. Recognizing that resource management decisions may have a strong impact, positive or negative, on the region’s environment and sustainable development, sustainable development programmes need to assess the role of each of these factors and understand the potential impact of mitigation measures. For example, water scarcity is one of the major problems in the Central Asia region. Decrease or mismanagement of water resources can lead to security problems in the region. Consequently, there is a need to improve the understanding of the complex interactions and impacts of global environmental change on ecosystems and human society in the Central Asia region to help guide decision-making processes on regional sustainable development.