Tajikistan

Assistance to Tajikistan OCHA Situation Update No. 35

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published


GENERAL
1. The Consultative Group meeting on Tajikistan was held in Dushanbe between 2 and 3 of May, 2003. Donors and aid agencies have pledged to increase aid to Tajikistan in an effort to fight increasing poverty. Pledges totalling US $900 million over the next three years were made for a poverty-focused programme presented by the Tajik government . About two-thirds of the total was pledged in grants. Under the World Bank's Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Tajikistan 2003-2005, a lending programme of $80 million will be allocated to support implementation of the government's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper [PRSP]. The last time the Consultative Group for Tajikistan came together was in 2001, when pledges totalling $390 million were made, however, the final total of assistance actually delivered was significantly less than the amount pledged.

2. CAP. Within discussions on the draft of the CAP 2003 Mid-Year Review, the CAP Country Team deliberated extensively on transition related matters and in particular the issue of whether or not to launch one more consolidated inter-agency appeal for 2004. Both humanitarian and development players feel strongly the need for a specific integrated document, which could serve as both a coordination/programming and a fund-raising tool in the transition period. Such a tool, which for lack of alternative terminology is still called by the vast majority CAP 2004, should serve a two-fold purpose: a) help avoid a potential strategic planning/fund-raising gap within the transition period and b) cover the still- existing humanitarian needs while preparing better grounds for a smooth transition to development.

The CAP CT sees no reasons to believe that the scenario of CAP 2003 will need significant amendment in 2004.

The above assumptions match the prevailing understanding that the transition is a field-driven and country-specific process. The position of GoT also seems to confirm the necessity of both humanitarian and development components being present in international interventions in the immediate future. On a number of occasions, including during talks with the UN SG (October 2002) and the IFRC Secretary General (March 2003) President Rakhmonov underlined that Tajikistan rather needs development assistance at the present stage, while at the same time GoT continues to approach the UN and donors with numerous requests for aid of merely humanitarian nature.

Based on the discussions in the broader international community, the UNCT decided with consensus a Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Relief and Recovery to be prepared for 2004. It was also agreed in principle that a one-day retreat will be organized during the period end of June - end of July to discuss the CHAP and related issues in a detailed and concrete manner.

3. According to a new International Crisis Group (ICG) report on Tajikistan issued in April, 2003 poverty continues to grow in the country; economic situation is dire with the average monthly salary less than US $7 per month and 30% of unemployment rate. The report says that more than a million Tajiks rely on food aid, with the state budget this year expected to be one-tenth of what it was in 1990 when Tajikistan was a Soviet republic. According to the ICG, although the mountainous republic of 6.2 million has made major advances in terms of security since the end of its civil war, and stability has improved significantly, widespread poverty is fuelling a major drug-trafficking business and with the a long southern border with Afghanistan, observers have linked many of past problems of Tajikistan to events across the border.

4. UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Ms. Karin Sham Poo visited UNICEF office in Tajikistan from the period of April 14th to 17th, 2003. During her visit she met the President of the Republic Mr Emomaly Rahmonov. Issues relating to the government's commitment to improve infant, child and maternal health; the adoption of the International Definition of Live-Birth, improvements in birth registration; greater emphasis on education for girls; and supporting children to grow up in a family environment by preventing institutionalisation of children were discussed. Ms. Sham Poo also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Talbac Nazarov, Deputy Prime Minister Ms. N Sharopova. Field visits were held to the State Institution for Disabled Children, the Child Rights Monitoring Centre, the Child Reference Group in Dushanbe, a Therapeutic Feeding Centre, The City Maternity Hospital in Kurgan-Tube, and Gozimalic Centre Rayon Hospital as well as sanitation and Hygiene Promotion activities in schools in Khatlon.

5. DISASTERS

Above-average precipitation, both heavy rains and snowfall, continued throughout April causing small and mid-scale damage and disruption in various part of the country. Floods/landslides in Asht, Aini (Sughd Province), Dushanbe city, Varzob, Leninskiy (Direct Rule Districts), Yavan, Sovetskiy, Voseh, Kulyabskiy (Khatlon Province) destroyed 30 and damaged up to 500 houses. Four casualties were reported. Disasters destroyed some communication and electricity lines, roads, water supply pipes as well as household assets, livestock and kitchen gardens. GOT is managing the situation in the field assisted by some international agencies, including WFP and IFRC/NRCS. Communication and info sharing between REACT members including the Ministry of emergencies is maintained daily.

19 countries participated in the joint NATO-sponsored disaster preparedness exercise "Ferghana 2003" in Uzbekistan. The exercise took place on five sites in the vicinity of the cities of Fergana, and Vodil. The training was built upon experiences and lessons learnt by Uzbekistan and other partner nations in the region during such disasters in previous years.

Major political events and visits:

The political calendar in April was dominated by visits/negotiations in Dushanbe related to strategic issues of CIS and Tajik-Russian cooperation. Following a 3-day working visit of President Putin, a summit of the Heads of State of the Collective Security Treaty countries (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan) was held in Dushanbe. President Rakhmonov took over as Chairman of the Council of Heads of State as did the Tajik Foreign and Defense Ministers - respectively of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Councils. Earlier in the month official visits to Tajikistan were paid by President Kuchma of Ukraine, the Chairman of the Russian Parliament's Upper House, and the Russian Foreign Minister. Ambassador Waddams of the European Commission and the Head of the Eastern department of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (UK) also visited Dushanbe.

Donors' missions:

IMF - to get familiarized with the IMF program being implemented in Tajikistan as well as with a progress of implementation the projects aimed at alleviation of poverty in the country.

World Bank - to discuss the existing and future cooperation between GoT and WB and participate in CG Meeting.

IFC - to participate in CG meeting.

ONGOING ACTIVITIES

FOOD SECURITY

The last interagency food co-ordination meeting chaired by OCHA saw consensus being reached between agencies implementing programs across the relief-development spectrum in approaches to working with vulnerable communities. Previous meetings having noted that households who had 'fallen off the top' of most-vulnerable lists were regularly ending up more vulnerable than those receiving emergency assistance. Mechanisms for achieving this were outlined in terms of further joint assessments, improved sharing of beneficiary data sets at field level and common approaches in dealing with mobilized community groups especially between WFP and the more developmental actors.

UNHCR continues its reintegration program for the Tajik returnees. Under UNHCR/WFP cooperation in order to ensure food security, ten joint projects are implemented in Kolkhozabad, Kumsangir, Shaartuz and Kabadian districts. 200 hectares of irrigated land were cultivated with good quality wheat seeds. The total number of beneficiaries is 400 families out of which 254 are male and 146 female. They are provided with wheat seeds, fertilizers and wheat flour as food-for-work.

The UNHCR/WFP Joint Income-Generating Project for Tajik returnees from CA Republics, which started in October 2002 continues in 2003. Under this project 594 returnee and other vulnerable women are trained with practical skills in sewing and embroidery, bakery and confectionery, fruit preservation, yarn and leather production, carpet weaving and sock knitting. Women centers are created and equipped with required tools to start up small income generation business in six districts of Khatlon region. Currently women are producing different items, which are in great demand in local market. The realization of the products goes effectively in nearest villages of the project sites and in Kurgan Tube, where the Marketing Center was organized to sell their production. So far the net profit from income generation activities reached 12,000 TJS. The beneficiaries are sure in having permanent income from their activities in future. In all activities the women play the main role in the management and decision making structure of the project.

FAO in Tajikistan started to implement the project on emergency assistance for locust control in Tajikistan. The objective of the project is to provide urgent assistance to the Government of Tajikistan to control the expected locust outbreak and reduce locust damage on crops during the forthcoming 2003 agricultural season, with a view to safeguarding the food security of most affected vulnerable household and farming units. The project will implement mechanical and chemical locust control on an area of almost 72 000 ha. The project will also support the preparation of the 2004 locust campaign in order to decrease the importance of the next locust generation and to favour the re-establishment of a sustainable national locust monitoring and control capacity. The total amount of FAO contribution for the locust project is US$340 000.

A Brucellosis Survey is being carried out by FAO Tajikistan for two months of April and May with funding from Sweden and Norway is a follow-up action of the recent workshop jointly organized by FAO and MoA on brucellosis in Dushanbe, where the Public Health Department of the MoH reported a sharp increase in the annual number of human brucellosis cases. Confirmed human brucellosis has been reported in some districts as high as 371 new cases per 100,000 persons (Tavildara in RRS). Pending confirmation of funding a brucellosis control programme in high risk districts will be initiated in 2003 by FAO in Tajikistan and monitored by the Government veterinary and public health units in order to reduce the disease incidence in animals and humans. An epidemiologically sound and agreed control programme is needed if the incidence of brucellosis in animals and humans is to be effectively reduced. Not all districts can be covered; therefore the number of districts addressed in such a programme must be determined by known brucellosis prevalence. Determining which districts are at highest risk is therefore the objective of the current Brucellosis Survey. The programme will be implemented at low cost utilising government veterinarians who are supported under contract by FAO, and by fostering collaboration between the human and animal health units of Government and the international organizations.

Introducing with the projects in Tajikistan, project news and developments, missions and visits, challenges and follow-up emergency actions are the main issues of new issued FAO Tajikistan Newsletter titled "FAO News". Two color pages "FAO News" in Tajik is a quarterly based Newsletter and directed to governmental officials making decision on agricultural and food policy, Ministry of Agriculture, Local Hukumats, projects partner institutions and other interested persons. The new edition, which is the first number issued in April, is the second FAO Newsletter in Tajikistan followed by currently monthly issue "The Veterinarian Consultancy" newsletter for local veterinarians. The Russian and English versions of "FAO News" for interested persons are also available at the FAO Office in Tajikistan.

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

On 30 April 2003 a workshop on Vitamin A supplementation, Global Initiative was held in the City Healthy Life Style Centre with 28 participants from MoH, different International and Non-Governmental Organisation and the representatives of all three oblast were participated. As Vitamine A deficiency is having a great impact on the child health UNICEF is procuring Vitamin A supplementation for distribution during the National Immunization Day.

The monthly interagency health coordination meeting focussed on issues of primary healthcare. The common concerns of agencies, donors and the new management of the Ministry of Health were debated. These included logistics distribution systems for the supply of medical consumables, approaches to training and issues in the reporting of outbreaks of disease from the primary level in light of the critically delayed responses to a number of outbreaks of measles and typhoid over recent months.

Within the framework of the Country Programme for the Tajikistan UNFPA is continuing its activity on supporting the medical facilities of the republic. Thus, on 22 April 2003 there was a hand over ceremony of medical equipment to medical facilities of the country. Ceremony took place at the Maternity Home No. 2 in Dushanbe. Dr. Alla Mullobaeva, Chief Doctor expressed deep gratitude to the UNFPA representatives for rendering assistance to the medical facilities. Maternity House No. 2 received the following medical equipment: Quartz Lamps, Equipment for the Fetal's Heart Defining, Hot Air Sterilizers, Oil radiators.

Such medical equipments will be distributed also to Maternity Homes No. 1, 3 in Dushanbe as well as in Khujand and Kulyab cities. Total amount of distributed equipment estimated at US$ 14,000.00.

MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the UNFPA and International Organization for Migration (IOM) was signed in April 2003. According to MoU UNFPA provided IOM with 200 000 condoms and 2500 Pharmatex pills for distribution among the high-risk group in the Republic, namely among the seasonal migrants.

EDUCATION

Education For All Week was observed from 6 to 13 April with a series of activities at national level. On Tuesday, 8 April, a half-day roundtable on Education for All was held at the State Pedagogical University, which was organized with the support of UNESCO and UNICEF. This roundtable brought together the Ministry of Education and NGOs and addressed the global EFA issues and access for education for all boys and girls in Tajikistan.

On Thursday, 10 April, another half-day roundtable on Girls' Education was hold in partnership with the Government and National organizations, Education Experts from different regions of the country. The roundtable discussed the challenges of creating equal opportunity for girls in accessing education and gender equality. During the week there was also a Festival of Books and Music for children and teenagers. In addition informative material on EFA was distributed. A press conference was also at the end of the EFA week in which representatives of UNICEF and UNESCO spoke on some of the issues raised during the week.

PROTECTION

On 24 April 2003, UNHCR held the first repatriation this year and together with IOM assisted 21 Afghan refugees (5 families) to go home. As during the previous year, the repatriation was organized through the Nijnii Pyanj border crossing and was monitored by representatives of US Embassy in Tajikistan and UNHCR. The returnees were received on the Afghan side by IOM and assisted to go home, mainly Kabul, Badakhshan and Kunduz.

MICRO-CREDIT

With the aim to ensure self-sustainability of the recent returnees to Tajikistan, UNHCR and ACTED continue the implementation of micro credit projects in different kinds of credit structures: Rural Fund, Tontine Group, Cash loan for group leaders. Before receiving cash credit ACTED conducted training for the beneficiaries. During this period ACTED organized 7 Tontine Groups representing 42 beneficiaries in Kumsangir, 5 Tontine Groups and 11 individual Loans covering 41 beneficiaries in Wakhsh, 13 individual Loans for group leaders in Bokhtar, 1 Tontine Group representing 6 beneficiaries in Shaartuz and 13 individual Loans for the leaders in Pianj. The interest rate for the loan is 4% out of which ACTED will collect 2% and another 2% will go to the group bank.

NGO CAPACITY-BUILDING

Within UNHCR capacity building program, UNHCR Implementing Parnter NGO "Fidokor" completed conducting seminars on the subjects "Problem identification", "Project design" and "Social Partnership" with the participation of the local NGO-s and communities. The seminars took place in returnee compact residing villages.

GENDER

On 22 April 2003 Mr. Matthew Kahane, UNFPA Representative and Dr. Zuhra Ahmedova, UNFPA NPO attended the meeting "National Gender Policy: Strategy and Reality" of the "Social Partnership" Club. Mr. Ibrohim Usmonov, State Adviser to the President for Social Development and Public Relations, and the meeting participants included representatives from the lower chamber of the Tajik parliament, president's office, government bodies, non-government organizations and international organizations present in Tajikistan.

Representatives of Government, International and local NGOs attended the meeting as well. In his speech Mr. Matthew Kahane drew attention of participants to a problem of suicide among women. He noted that according to the data of the Tajik Ministry of Interior, number of cases of suicide among women has lately increased in the Sogd oblast. According to him, suicide is a result of a great number of problems facing society, including the gender ones.

Participants in the meeting exchanged views on finding way and effective mechanisms of implementing gender policy, as well as seeking solution to existing problems and obstacles in interaction between the Government, NGOs, and international organizations on this subject. It was also stressed at the meeting an expediency of teaching subject on gender policy in higher educational institutions in Tajikistan. On results of the meeting appropriate recommendations were adopted.

COORDINATION

Along with the debate held during the Mid Year Review Meeting of the CAP, agencies have been supplying data on the status of programs included under CAP 2003, along with associated activities, which are to be compiled into a final mid-year review document.

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE

An expanded meeting of the REACT (Rapid Emergency Assessment and Coordination Team) group of agencies lead by OCHA was conducted in the middle of April. This forum was organized to allow the presentation of a number of new Disaster Preparedness projects around Tajikistan and also Uzbek and Kyrgyz areas of the Ferghana Valley, that have recently received support from DIPECHO with their first major one year (EUR3Mln) program for the region. Representatives of 10 implementing agencies, including ACTED, GAA, Focus, MERLIN, CARE, HWA A, MCI, IFRC/NRCS Uzbekistan and NRCS Kyrgyzstan made presentation of their projects followed by Q&A sessions. Most of the projects will focus on community-based initiatives in disaster preparedness.

PLEDGES AND CONTRIBUTIONS

The European Commission has adopted a €10 million aid package to help meet essential humanitarian needs in Tajikistan over the next 12 months. The funds, provided through the Humanitarian Aid Office, ECHO, will be used for food, water, medicine and sanitation. International organisations and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) will implement the programmes.

Update on CAP 2003 (as of 22 May 2003)

Appealing Org.
Original Requirements
Revised Requirements
Carry over
Pledges
Contributions
Total resources available
Unmet Requirements
% Covered
FAO
2,274,400
2,274,400
691,340
691,340
1,583,060
30.4%
MCI
1,625,845
1,625,845
1,625,845
0.0%
MERLIN
235,000
235,000
235,000
0.0%
OCHA
471,556
433,932
259,558
259,558
174,374
59.8%
OCHA / REACT
1,218,640
1,218,640
1,218,640
0.0%
OXFAM GB
689,375
689,375
689,375
0.0%
PSF - CI
150,000
150,000
150,000
0.0%
UNDP / RRDP
2,150,000
2,150,000
2,150,000
0.0%
UNDP/ UNSECOORD
417,000
417,000
417,000
0.0%
UNHCR
1,852,538
1,852,538
13,000
772,266
785,266
1,067,272
42.4%
UNICEF
6,918,000
6,918,000
2,339,722
2,339,722
4,578,278
33.8%
WFP
43,101,955
22,500,000
10,434,073
10,434,073
12,065,927
46.4%
WHO
902,000
902,000
360,752
360,752
541,248
40.0%
GRAND TOTAL
62,006,309
41,366,730
13,000
14,857,711
14,870,711
26,496,019
35.9%
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.