2000 Mid-Term Review of the UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Tajikistan (Jan-Jun 2000)

Originally published


January to June 2000

During the past six months, Tajikistan witnessed significant developments in the security and political arena. The main provisions of the 1997 General Agreement on Peace and National Reconciliation were implemented. With parliamentary elections and the convening of the new Parliament, the Commission for National Reconciliation (CNR) was officially dissolved on 1 April 2000 and the United Nations Observer Mission in Tajikistan (UNMOT) was closed on 15 May 2000. However, the overall political and security situation remains precarious due to the unstable situation in the region, severe economic deterioration, drug trafficking and the presence of a number of uncontrolled armed groups which have not integrated into the Government structure.

Now that the peace process has concluded, top priorities for the country include measures to stabilise the situation, strengthen the rule of law, continue demobilisation, promote voluntary arms collection and create employment opportunities for ex-combatants. Although the peace process has been concluded with great success, the deep-seated roots of civil conflict in Tajikistan have not yet been fully addressed. The potential for renewed upheaval remains, owing to domestic factors and the unstable situation in the region, notably Afghanistan. In view of these circumstances, and with the compliance of the Government of Tajikistan, the United Nations Tajikistan Office for Peace-building (UNTOP) has been established for an initial period of one year to pursue the objectives of post-conflict peace-building and consolidation of peace.

However, there remain many economic and social factors which could contribute to further instability. The recent UNDP/World Bank survey of living standards indicated that over 80% of the population lives below the poverty line. Given high rates of unemployment, in particular among youth; lack of opportunities for private investment; declining domestic production and poverty is unlikely to be alleviated in the near term. The social safety net system is non-functional. Access to basic social services such as health, water and sanitation, and education has been limited due to lack of essential supplies and proper maintenance. Salaries of social services employees are insufficient to cover basic daily requirements and often are not paid for months. Education continues to follow a declining trend as the majority of children do not attend schools due to lack of clothing, shoes, and poor or no heating of schools in winter. There is a shortage of textbooks and other basic school supplies. Only 35% of the population, mainly in urban areas, has access to piped water and 54% of the urban population lack adequate sanitation. In 1999, 2,500 children died from water-borne diseases. The situation is worsening in rural areas. According to official estimates, over 7,000 cases of typhoid and more than 13,000 cases of malaria were registered in 1999. Health care institutions depend almost exclusively on international organisations for essential drugs. Some 4,500 refugees are still waiting to return to their places of origin during 2000.

Although 60% of the Tajik population derives its livelihood from agriculture, this sector has followed a declining trend over the past three years. In addition, Tajikistan is currently coping with the effects of a severe drought, which has resulted in the loss of most rainfed crops. According to recent official reports, there will be a considerable shortfall in cereal production, increasing the need for additional humanitarian assistance. At the time of writing, a joint WFP/FAO crop assessment mission is underway in Tajikistan to review the situation.

The 2000 United Nations (UN) Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Tajikistan was prepared as a transitional Appeal, in anticipation of further improvement in peace building efforts which would allow assistance activities to move from a life-saving relief programme to more sustainable rehabilitation and development programmes. The programmes and projects outlined in the CAP 2000 reflect the humanitarian community’s commitment to ensuring that assistance promotes this transition and prevents further marginalisation of the impoverished population.

To date, the donor response to the 2000 CAP has been disappointing, amounting to 32.5% of required funds at mid-year (including the carry-over funds from 1999). As of 30 June, all programmes in the Appeal remained under-funded. These programmes aim to save lives and create opportunities to underpin the achievements of the peace process. The low level of funding has limited the delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations in most parts of the country, thereby putting the lives of hundreds of thousands of Tajiks at risk of malnutrition, epidemics, loss of livelihoods. More seriously, it has jeopardised efforts to stabilise the fragile political and security situation.


The operating environment for the humanitarian assistance community has improved over the last six months, in particular after the multi-party Parliamentary elections held on 27 February and 23 March 2000, resulting in the official conclusion of the peace process. Due to security reasons, only limited areas in the Karategin Valley and some districts to the east of Dushanbe remain outside of the UN Agencies’ reach. The Government has taken initial measures to establish law and order, and to eliminate criminal activities, especially in the capital city of Dushanbe. Taking advantage of the improved security environment, the UN Agencies and NGOs have been implementing projects aimed at saving lives and stabilising the population in most parts of the country.

However, certain security concerns, such as the recent killing of some influential figures and occasional outbursts of localised violence, persist in parts of the country. Armed elements continue to operate outside the control of the Government causing law and order disturbances. The unabated political murders do not contribute to a stable operational environment.

Despite positive changes in the political arena, social and economic conditions continue their steady decline due to lack of domestic resources; limited foreign investment in essential infrastructure; slow development of private enterprises; and loss of crops due to the recent drought. In 1999, the cereal production fell by 17% due to unfavourable weather conditions, deteriorating irrigation facilities, brown rust, and lack of resources to procure necessary inputs. This year, Tajikistan expects a drastic reduction in cereal production due to the severe drought which is affecting non-irrigated crops. The President of Tajikistan has appealed to the UN Secretary-General, the Commission of the European Union, and the Governments of the United States of America, Canada and Japan for additional humanitarian assistance to respond to the consequences of the recent drought. WFP and FAO are in the process of deploying a crop assessment to review the situation and determine the increased level of vulnerability.


Implementation of the UN Country Team’s goals and objectives has been hampered by lack of funding. However, with the use of previously available programmed funds and given the improved security environment, it has been possible to make significant progress in several areas. This section provides an overview of progress made in achieving the goals and objectives for each sector.

A. Food Security

The overall objective of programmes included in this sector is to improve food security at both the national and household levels through undertaking a three-pronged intervention which involves enhancing household food security and national food security; and providing institutional support to the government.

Under its current Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO), WFP continues to provide assistance targeting the most vulnerable population in the country, mainly in the Khatlon Oblast. Although the basic objective remains the same, the process of selecting beneficiaries has changed from individual to household. Between January and May 2000, WFP distributed a total of 8,433 MTs of food commodities to 252,550 beneficiaries, of whom some 200,000 beneficiaries were linked to the Vulnerable Group Feeding Programme. In collaboration with UNHCR and WFP, FAO distributed agricultural inputs to 5,000 returnees in rural areas with a major emphasis on targeting women. The seeds were planted on irrigated land, which has been less affected by drought. WFP furthermore implemented joint projects with UNHCR, whereby UNHCR provided funds for procurement of non-food items and WFP provided the food component. The joint projects will be continued during the second half of the year.

In connection with the Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) programme, WFP was able to establish a food assessment team in January, which has been collecting socio-economic and agricultural data throughout the country. During the second half of the year, WFP plans to analyse the collected data, identify food economy zones and the most vulnerable districts and zones for WFP activities. The VAM Unit will also draw on the work of other organisations such as the World Bank, SCF-USA, UNHCR, AAH, and GAA in order to provide sound guidance for improved targeting. With funds provided by ECHO, WFP and a number of international organisations such as IFRC, AAH, GAA, and MO are planning to carry out a national nutrition survey in August-September 2000.

Although the new PRRO plans a gradual shift from pure relief to rehabilitation activities, WFP may be forced by the situation created by the recent drought to divert some resources from its ongoing food security activities to emergency relief distribution. The WFP’s food-for-work projects benefited 22,000 beneficiaries during the past six months, while over 40,000 people have benefited from land lease, food-for-training and school feeding programmes. In Leninabad, WFP has recently opened a field office and plans to implement a number of projects which would improve the food security situation among the destitute population.

WFP together with a number of NGOs such as Care International, AAH, and Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) have been supporting local authorities in delegating land to private farmers and in rehabilitating irrigation systems.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, FAO continued its seed potato multiplication project in the Karategin Valley to improve food security at the local level. Some 90 veterinarians employed by FAO are engaged in providing veterinary services to livestock owners in the Khatlon Oblast.

As part of its institutional support to the Government and in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, FAO organised a workshop in March 2000 on the strategy for agricultural development in Tajikistan which has initiated the process of food security and agricultural policy review and refinement. The Ministry of Agriculture has shown increasing interest in assuming responsibility for coordination of international assistance to the agriculture sector. In view of the importance of improved seeds in enhancing food security, FAO carried out a comprehensive review of the country’s seed sector, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, drafted a new Seed Law for Tajikistan.

B. Emergency Preparedness and Response

Despite recent positive political trends, Tajikistan displays a number of risk factors for humanitarian emergencies, arising from both internal and external political and social conditions as well as its vulnerability to natural disasters. The country is also exposed to potential influxes of refugees from neighbouring countries. Programmes in this sector aim to reduce the vulnerability of communities at risk from the immediate effects of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, and drought, as well as from human crisis such as civil conflict leading to displacement and refugees. The objectives of this sector are to be achieved through relief support and capacity building initiatives. OCHA has established an emergency preparedness and response group to monitor the situation and undertake coordinated efforts to carry out preparedness measures for any emergency situation. An important outcome of such efforts is the development of a national contingency plan for Tajikistan.

Realizing the potential risk associated with the Ferghana Valley and in response to the recommendation of the Framework Team that contingency planning be undertaken for the countries whose territories cover the Ferghana Valley, the UN Country Team in Tajikistan devised a contingency plan which was presented to the inter-agency regional meeting in Almaty in May 2000. In an attempt to prevent the risk posed by Lake Sarez, the World Bank is in the process of finalising an early warning project with the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Focus USA, Mercy Corps International (MCI), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and ECHO have been supporting activities aimed at developing the capacity of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

C. Health and Nutrition

The Ministry of Health (MoH), in collaboration with WHO, has prepared a public health strategy for the period from 2000 through 2010. After wide public discussions, the Presidential Programme of Health Care Reform during 2000-2010, elaborated with WHO expertise, has been approved by UN Agencies and over 20 international NGOs. With technical and financial support from WHO, ECHO and the World Bank, the MoH has initiated testing of rationalised public health care in five pilot zones. WHO has been facilitating the coordination of health activities in order to avoid duplication and ensure the cost-effectiveness and successful implementation of priority health programmes.

There is evidence that the assistance provided by the international community has prevented the full collapse of the health care system in Tajikistan. WHO, UNICEF and NGOs have made concerted efforts to improve the health situation of the Tajik population. Some achievements have been made in the fields of immunisation coverage, increased detection of flaccid paralysis cases, substantial decrease in malaria and typhoid incidences, introduction of drug regulation, development of MoH policy and reform documents, and efficient cooperation between the MoH and international organisations. Utilising the funds received during 1999, UNICEF managed to reduce the immediate threat against the lives of some 200,000 children through administering a primary series of essential vaccines and providing cold chain equipment to health facilities. UNICEF and WHO also assisted the MoH in strengthening the monitoring of EPI activities in the country. With limited resources other than those expected through the Appeal process, WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA will continue to cover a wide spectrum of health needs during the remaining months. UNICEF, utilising its core resources, distributed essential drugs to over 500 health facilities in Leninbabad Oblast and the Regions of Republican Subordination (RRS). From January 2000, UNFPA has been implementing a new country programme, aimed at supporting national efforts to improve the quality of reproductive health care services. WHO and UNICEF continue their Roll Back Malaria Programme with limited funds available from other sources.

D. Water and Sanitation

The UN Country Team in Tajikistan considers water and sanitation to be a high priority sector. Over 65% of the population in pre-urban and rural areas do not have access to clean drinking water. In 1999, 2,500 children died from water-borne diseases. During the preparation of the Consolidated Appeal, it was anticipated that increased interventions by the international community could improve access to potable water and reduce water-borne diseases. However, insufficient funding has hampered progress in this critical sector. Nevertheless, UNDP/RRDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, and a number of NGOs continue to assist the repair and rehabilitation of water supply systems at the community level. UNICEF provides health and hygiene education in Khatlon and Leninabad Oblasts.

E. Education

Programmes in this sector aim to halt the slide into illiteracy and create an environment conducive to sustainable longer-term educational development. In an immediate attempt to increase school attendance, UNICEF had submitted a project aimed at assisting some 500,000 school children with emergency items and winter clothing. This important project could not be implemented due to lack of funding, thereby denying a large number of children access to basic education.

F. Reintegration of Ex-Combatants and Civilian Returnees

In 1999, the donor response to UNDP’s Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Development Programme (RRDP) in the Karategin Valley was strong. The sub-projects, aimed at reintegration, have contributed greatly to maintaining a good degree of stability in the area. UNDP has initiated a cross-border preventive development project in the Ferghana Valley which advocates community and social cohesion and collective decision-making for sustainable long-term development solutions. The project will be implemented in collaboration with UNDP Kyrgyzstan in areas bordering the two countries.

Positive developments in the peace process over the last few years permitted a large segment of the refugee population to return to their places of origin. Between January 1999 and May 2000, a total of 5,147 Tajik refugees returned from Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Through its reintegration programme, UNHCR, in collaboration with other UN Agencies and NGOs, continued rehabilitation and restoration of community infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, and water supply systems in returnee areas. These programmes will be pursued with a view to bridge the gaps between relief and self-reliance efforts.

G. Coordination

The recruitment of OCHA international personnel and the arrival of the new Humanitarian Coordinator have enabled the UN Country Team to make significant progress in this sector. Under the leadership of the SRSG and the Humanitarian Coordinator, OCHA acted as a focal point for facilitating fundraising efforts; and developing a contingency plan for the Ferghana Valley, as well as a national contingency planning process for emergency preparedness and response. At the time of preparation of this mid-term review, the UN Country Team is in the process of developing a two to three year strategy for United Nations assistance in Tajikistan. OCHA will continue to act as a focal point to facilitate coordination of humanitarian assistance in Tajikistan.



  • A. Food Security
  • B. Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • C. Health and Nutrition
  • D. Water and Sanitation
  • E. Education
  • F. Reintegration of Ex-Combatants and Civilian Returnees
  • G. Coordination

  • A. Food Security
  • B. Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • C. Health and Nutrition
  • D. Water and Sanitation
  • E. Education
  • F. Reintegration of Ex-Combatants and Civilian Returnees
  • G. Coordination


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