Assistance to vulnerable groups in Tajikistan

Situation Report
Originally published
Amount of decision: 8,000,000 euro
Decision reference number: ECHO/TJK/BUD/2004/01000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population:

1.1. - Rationale:

The effects of civil war (1992-1997) and severe drought (1999-2001) continue to generate large humanitarian needs in Tajikistan as underlined by the United Nations' launch in November 2003 of a $53.7 million Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for 2004. Improved rainfall and cereal production and relative political stability in 2002 and 2003 mean that the worst of the humanitarian crisis is over. Nevertheless the threat of widespread infant malnutrition remains and access to clean drinking water and basic health care remains elusive for much of the population, leading to a high incidence of water borne diseases and malaria.

The European Commission, through ECHO, has allocated €145 million to humanitarian interventions in Tajikistan since 1993. In both 2002 and 2003 €10 million was provided for humanitarian operations. The 20% reduction enshrined in this decision marks the first stage of a three-year phasing out plan adopted by ECHO in Autumn 2003. The reduction follows extensive consultation in 2003 with authorities and beneficiaries in Tajikistan and the international community including Member States present in Tajikistan. The decrease reflects greater engagement in the country by international humanitarian and development actors (the crisis in Tajikistan has become one characterised by forgotten needs rather than a forgotten crisis in itself) and a stabilisation of the situation. The phasing out of humanitarian assistance will be gradual, carefully targeted and managed in close cooperation with the medium-term development activities of other Commission instruments and international donor agencies. This strategy should produce outcomes that reduce the vulnerability of current ECHO beneficiaries and the likelihood of another humanitarian crisis in Tajikistan in the near future.

Given Tajikistan's high vulnerability to natural disasters, ECHO launched a Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO) for Central Asia in 2003, mainly focused on Tajikistan. The programme (€3 million) aimed to strengthen the capacity of local actors to predict, respond to and cope with disasters and to protect vulnerable groups from likely natural disasters through small scale infrastructure works. This programme will also be funded by ECHO in 2004. DIPECHO projects complement ECHO's phasing out strategy by placing emphasis on development and prevention and helping people to cope better. The interaction between humanitarian operations financed under budget line 23 02 01 (formerly 210) and DIPECHO projects financed under budget line 23 02 02 (formerly 219) is also helped by the fact that similar organisations are implementing the projects.