United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Tajikistan

Originally published


January - December 1999



The Context

The overall political and security situation in Tajikistan remains fragile. In many parts of the country the rule of law has broken down with warlords, military groups and others loosely affiliated to the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) in control. International agencies were forced to pull out of the Karategin Valley, following the killing of four staff members of the United Nations Observer Mission in Tajikistan (UNMOT) in July 1998. The recent outbreak of violence in the relatively calm Leninabad Region in early November is testament to the precarious security environment. Such environment, coupled with the onset of winter, further impedes the delivery of humanitarian assistance and international agencies fear that certain groups will become even more vulnerable.

Given the poor donor response to last year’s Appeal of US$ 34.6 million, the 1999 Appeal presents a more concerted strategy, better problem analysis, clearer objectives, realistic priorities and linkages with other funding mechanisms. The 1999 Appeal for US$ 24.8 million, analyses humanitarian problems with more clarity and stresses the precarious nature of the humanitarian situation, while mindful of the danger of creating dependency on international emergency assistance. It is important that this Appeal is viewed in the context of other funding mechanisms and bridging initiatives that support peace building and reconciliation through rehabilitation and development. The international community needs to drastically improve funding for the Tajikistan Appeal, and with gains at the political level, effect a lasting breakthrough in the coming year.

The current humanitarian crisis remains the consequence of unresolved political problems, which cannot be addressed by the humanitarian operations. Success in the peace process is critical to finding a way out of the morass. While components of phase one and phase two of the 1997 General Peace Agreement will hopefully be completed soon, attestation and a general amnesty have not fully taken place. Only after these steps have been completed, will a viable demobilisation and sustainable reintegration process begin. At present, there are no funds available for any assistance in this regard.

While there is an overwhelming desire for peace in almost all quarters of the Tajik society, many observers feel that there is the possibility of the peace process being derailed by extremist groups. This, coupled with the collapse of the Russian economy and the war in Afghanistan, means a resumption of fighting spreading to more parts of the country, cannot be ruled out. Accordingly, there is much less optimism in Tajikistan for 1999.

Rehabilitation of the country, and reintegration of repatriates and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are the humanitarian focus for the Government and the international community. However, significant emergency requirements still need to be addressed. Tajikistan’s economy has been heavily dependent on Russia. In 1991, 40 percent of the state budget came from Moscow. This loss of revenue has had a direct impact on the rising rates of morbidity and mortality throughout Tajikistan. In 1998, 20 percent of the population required some form of food assistance, and will continue to do so in the short-term. The World Bank estimates that 80 percent of the population is below the poverty line.

The upheavals of the last six years have resulted in the general impoverishment of the population, an influx from rural to urban areas and an exodus of professionals from the state (education and health in particular) to the private sector and out of Tajikistan. While much of the visible emergency situation of the early 1990's has passed, a slow disintegration of living conditions for vulnerable groups has emerged. The collapse of the Soviet welfare system has left people dependent on the international community. Government support to hospitals, schools, prisons, pensioners and other special needs groups is minimal.

The humanitarian community must continue to fill these gaps and at the same time support the peace process. In addition, it must do so in ways which increase the capacity of the people of Tajikistan and the Government, to achieve sustainable progress in filling the needs of the country. Providing alternatives for ex-combatants, increasing the possibilities of sustainable livelihoods and preventing a further deterioration of the social support system could go a long way towards making peace a reality.

The bulk of the appeal, more than US$ 14 million is for food assistance and the promotion of food security. There are currently almost 1.4 million beneficiaries receiving food aid through a variety of programmes, including food-for-work (FFW), agricultural support, institutional and vulnerable group feeding. Projects in the agriculture sector, requiring US$ 3.4 million are geared to provide support to farmers by promoting self sufficiency. The deteriorating health sector will require significant support to shore up ongoing primary health care services. More than US$ 2.4 million is needed for this level of assistance. Essential to making progress in the peace process is the reintegration of demobilised soldiers and returnees. Thus, agencies are seeking US$ 3.5 million for activities that support effective reintegration.

In 1999, an improved response to the Appeal will help consolidate gains made, however small they appear, for future peace and stability. The impact of these funds will boost existing efforts by agencies, working to build peace and reconciliation and send a strong political message to the parties in the conflict.

Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP)

This Appeal has been prepared in close consultation with all relevant United Nations (UN) Agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) (including those not requesting funds through this Appeal), the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Bretton Woods Institutions. The process was facilitated by an inter-agency Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) team from Geneva. Sectoral meetings were held to formulate long-term and short-term goals for addressing the most critical needs. This resulted in an overall strategy which bolsters the peace process, successful reintegration and rehabilitation, and supports emergency needs by food and agriculture aid, health, water and sanitation. Agencies continue to shape their response with a longer-term perspective, to strengthen coping mechanisms at family and community level, without international humanitarian assistance.

Long-Term Goals

The long-term goals of the humanitarian community are fivefold:

  • Ensure sustained levels of food security, access to potable water and access to medical care, resulting in normal mortality and morbidity;
  • Reduce dependency on external humanitarian aid, especially in the above areas;
  • Contribute to awareness of human rights issues and law and order by providing social services and thus disengagement of fighting partners, following the Peace Agreement language with regard to social services;
  • Increase civil awareness by setting-up and supporting social structures at all levels;
  • Facilitate the creation of job opportunities for up to 2,100 demobilised soldiers to ensure their full integration into Tajik society.

Short-Term Goals

The goals to be achieved in the Appeal time frame:

  • Provide essential assistance to help reduce morbidity and mortality rates;
  • Create conditions for safe return by providing access to improved welfare services;
  • Create conditions for effective reintegration of returnees as well as the provisions of employment to demobilised ex-combatants and their families.

Other Programmes

The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) has a major assistance programme in the Gorno-Badakshan autonomous region (GBAO) and has recently begun an agriculture project in the Karategin valley. They cover most of the humanitarian needs with funds mobilised directly by the Foundation and for this reason AKF and Gorno-Badakshan are not addressed in this appeal. The World Bank has committed US$ 142 million beginning in 1996 to stabilise the macro-economic situation, develop institutional capacity, support farm privatisation and rehabilitate damaged infrastructures. While both institutions operate independently, there is close consultation with the humanitarian community, particularly in sectors and geographic areas where there is overlap to prevent duplication.


Using this inter-agency Consolidated Appeal (CA) as a reference tool, the sectoral coordination groups will, on a quarterly basis, monitor progress against goals and strategies identified herein. This will also allow revision of programmes depending on progress both in the programmes themselves, as well as in changes in the external environment (primarily the peace process). The humanitarian community must strive to develop modalities and mechanisms, which improve the identification and targeting of beneficiaries, while measuring the impact of aid on groups and communities. In addition, assistance provided through other sources will be factored in, as will improvements in the social structures of Tajikistan. This will also permit effective planning to begin for programmes and funding requirements in the year 2000, to address identified short and long-term goals.

Table I : Total Funding Requirements for the
1999 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for TAJIKISTAN
By Sector and Appealing Organisation
January - December 1999
Requirements (US $)
Food Aid / Security
Water and Sanitation
Information Management and Coordination
Grand Total
Appealing Organisation
Requirements (US $)
Food and Agriculture Organization
United Nations Children’s fund
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
World Food Programme
World Health Organization
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Non-Governmental Organisations
Grand Total

2.1 Financial Overview

US$ 34.6 million was requested in the 1998 appeal but only US$ 9.9 million has been received to date, representing 28.7 percent. The majority of funds were donated for food assistance. In addition, available funding was diverted to respond to a spate of natural disasters which occurred in Tajikistan during the year. Heavy rains, flood and landslides, not to mention two earthquakes near the border in Afghanistan, focused attention on situations of immediate humanitarian concern, as well as quick impact.

The limited funding received for last year’s appeal has added to the already diminished support for relief and rehabilitation requirements for Tajikistan. Without the appropriate level of humanitarian assistance, vulnerable elements in the society are unable to strengthen coping mechanisms and create foundations within the communities for rehabilitation. Coupled with the lack of clear policy on private initiatives, land reform, ineffective banking, expectation by individuals on central government credits and the general lack of skills and training to promote poverty alleviation, relief needs will increase.

This situation will remain as Tajikistan is not ranked high on the world’s agenda of countries requiring a great deal of assistance. Afghanistan, with its human rights problems and attendant media attention, Kashmir and the related nuclear situation, and the potential for a conservative backlash in Iran, all serve to shift regional focus to other areas.

2.2 Progress

Some notable progress has been made in 1998, though, with the exception of food assistance, little of it through the Consolidated Appeal. In terms of food aid, World Food Programme (WFP) and partner organisations implemented programmes related to unhindered assistance to vulnerable groups. As an example, pensioners receive the equivalent of only US$ 2.00 per month. They, and other equally important beneficiaries in public institutions, must rely on such help while the country continues to recover. Food aid also supports a land lease project and income generating FFW projects, and provides assistance to repatriates and IDPs. Victims of natural disasters have also received much needed assistance from the food aid programme. Global food availability patterns may alter as there are increasing demands from the Russian Federation and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries following the collapse of the Russian economy.

The rural water sector continues to improve. For example, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) completed the Kulyab City water supply system which provides 65,000 residents with clean water for the first time. The city sewage canalisation and treatment system will improve the sanitation picture dramatically. However, needs in many rural areas have yet to be addressed and the water situation in Dushanbe is critical.

Rehabilitation of health facilities and the provision of essential drugs are also ongoing. As a result of such activities, epidemiological indicators have improved. The incidence of malaria dropped from 9,500 in 1997 to 7,500 during the same period in 1998. More dramatically, typhoid incidence fell from 19,000 to 4,500. However, these rates are still unacceptably high.

In 1998, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHCR) facilitated the repatriation and the reintegration of 3,200 Tajik refugees who returned from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan to the villages of origin, mainly in the south of Tajikistan. More than 500 houses as well as community facilities were rehabilitated while individual assistance was provided in the field of credit and agricultural inputs.

2.3 Changes in the Humanitarian Situation and Other Reasons for Non-Implementation

The chief reason for projects not being implemented in 1998 was lack of funding. Tajikistan remains low on the list of priority countries for the international community. In addition, the security situation resulted in the evacuation of staff following the killing of four UNMOT personnel in July. This has also resulted in the suspension of all activities in the Karategin valley, while the incident is under investigation. Recent clashes in the Leninabad region, demonstrate that areas previously regarded as stable, are facing the same security concerns as other parts of Tajikistan.

Low priority, together with security constraints, has hindered some agencies from recruiting and retaining suitable staff. Agency capacity suffers and implementation levels for many projects are lower than required.

2.4 Lessons Learned from the 1998 Appeal Process

The Consolidated Appeal (CA) must present a clear analysis of the situation in the country and reflect a consensus on addressing humanitarian needs in the context of rehabilitation and development. It should emphasise collaboration between international agencies, donors, the Government and local organisations, and reflect linkages between the various resource mobilisation strategies and funding mechanisms. Insufficient time was devoted to preparation and a consensus-building process.

Donors in-country must be involved in the process. They should be consulted as to how the Common Humanitarian Action Plan meshes with their own strategies for the country. Donors need to be approached and sensitised individually and targeted according to their specific sectors of interest. Aggressive follow-up on pledges is required.

The 1998 CA presented an overly optimistic scenario based on the assumption of sustainable peace and democratisation. There was no contingency for a more pessimistic scenario, or uncertainty in the short-term.


3.1 Political, Economic, Security and Constraints Analysis

The Government and Commission on National Reconciliation (CNR) remain engaged in dialogue over various issues, with little apparent progress. The UTO continues to inch closer to the agreed upon 30 percent of Government posts. In addition, to date more than 6,000 former UTO fighters have reported to assembly areas, including the last remaining contingent based in Afghanistan. However, only 2,119 weapons have been registered. While progress is slow, there is hope for further improvement.

Security remains the key concern of the international community. The Karategin valley continues to be operationally off limits following the UNMOT killings. However, a recent inter-agency mission to the area involved fruitful talks with community leaders and representatives from both sides. In Dushanbe murders and hostage-taking occur regularly, resulting in a curfew for U.N. personnel. A recent joint government/UTO action against two major outlaw groups resulted in the apparent disappearance of the groups from the environs of the capital.

Economically the country has been affected by regional developments. The collapse of the Russian economy is being felt in a number of former Soviet republics. This further exacerbates the support for the public sector. However, through international assistance, liberalisation in agriculture (through privatisation schemes) and accessibility to health care has shown that progress is possible. Further reforms in land rights issues and more focus on wheat as a staple crop, may be impeded by the facts that cotton holdings are seen as essential to foreign investment.

But, the lack of major investment in rehabilitating the irrigation infrastructure means that self sufficiency in food will remain elusive in the short-run. Added to that, the culture of private enterprise is at a very nascent stage and will take time to develop adequately.

As a result of the economic difficulties there has been noticeable migration to other countries, particularly by competent professionals. The fact that pledges made at the Vienna conference have been slow to arrive means that investment in programmes which require educated and talented people have not materialised.

3.2 Problem Analysis, Response and Prospects

The prevailing security situation in the country impedes, but does not stop, the implementation of programmes. There is no free movement of personnel and security clearance is required for any travel outside Dushanbe. However, only the Karategin valley has been completely off-limits and at present parts of Leninabad Oblast as well, and work continues with minor interruptions in the rest of the country. Events over the past year are evidence that the threat to international personnel is palpable.

As a result of the volatile security situation, funding for Tajikistan, both through conferences and the Consolidated Appeal, has been slow to materialise. In addition, the repeated occurrence of natural disasters has diverted scarce resources away from planned projects.

In order to implement programmes successfully in this environment, the international community must strengthen existing coordination mechanisms. Currently there are groups focusing on food aid, health and demobilisation. The shelter group needs to be revitalised. These groups must begin developing strategies, not only for addressing ongoing needs, but for a planned and agreed upon transition to sustainable development. In the next five years, if the situation slowly improves, many programmes will need to phase down or phase out entirely and this must be accomplished in an orderly, coordinated manner, not to disrupt the provision of essential assistance.

The international organisations need increased funding to ensure adequate delivery systems are present to address priorities in an ever-changing environment. A common understanding among partners needs to be established on security issues and evacuation.

The best case scenario is for slow steady progress toward a sustainable environment in which the country develops the capacity to cope. The strategy for the humanitarian community in Tajikistan is to support the peace process through rehabilitation, while addressing and responding to emergency needs, in order to prevent deterioration of the social and economic situation. In doing so, agencies will continually shape their response with a longer-term perspective to develop the domestic capacity to sustain a minimum standard of basic needs without international assistance.


4.1 Possible Scenarios

Progress in the peace process has been slower than hoped for. International staffs working in the country differ in their opinions about the pace and direction of the process although there is agreement that the situation will continue to be uncertain. Thus, the possible scenarios for 1999 are:

1. Continued volatility, instability and insecurity with:

  • a. an overall improvement in the political, economic and social situation.
  • b. uncertainty in the political situation and generally status quo with regard to economic and social indicators.
  • c. progressive deterioration of the political, economic and social situation.

2. Resumption of war:

While the overall unstable environment by definition makes it very difficult to predict any scenario, the present Common Humanitarian Action Plan is premised on scenario 1.b. which requires a crisis environment approach, in which pockets of varying stability warrant different responses.

4.2 Competencies and Capacities

In the critical area of food assistance to myriad vulnerable groups, capacity is good. WFP has more than 100 monitors in the field, and together with other agencies such as Cooperation for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE, International), German Agro-Action (GAA), Save the Children U.S. (SC-US) Mercy Corps International (MCI), Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) and Mission Ost have a demonstrated logistical and delivery capacity to properly distribute food assistance to 20 percent of the population.

In the equally important reintegration of demobilised soldiers into productive endeavors, UNOPS and CARE International have been carrying out very successful programmes in the country for years, with documented competence. Also, personnel of International Organization for Migration (IOM) have worked on demobilisation projects in a number of other countries.

Since January 1993, UNHCR has played the leading role in the voluntary repatriation of more than 50,000 Tajik refugees and their reintegration in Tajikistan. Working closely with other UN Agencies and NGOs, it has focused its reintegration activities on rebuilding destroyed homes. As a link between their immediate needs and long-term development, UNHCR has implemented other projects such as repairing clinics, schools and irrigation systems, and providing returnees with credit loans, agricultural tools and seeds.

In the health sector, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) are supported by, and implement projects through, a number of highly qualified organisations such as ACTED, Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF-Holland), Pharmaciens Sans Frontières (PSF), AKF, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), working through the Tajikistan Red Crescent Society.

IFRC, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and AKF intervened very promptly in an emergency response to the typhoid outbreak which affected the water supply system of Dushanbe last year. UNICEF and UNOPS have initiated a number of interventions in water and sanitation, ranging from rehabilitating the systems of medium sized towns to the provision of small-scale solutions to schools and other institutions.

In terms of agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), NGOs and other UN Agencies. FAO serves as coordinating body for agricultural activities throughout the country. CARE International, GAA and the AKF are supporting the recovery and sustainability of the agriculture sector through programmes in wheat and potato production and improvements, and animal health and integrated pest management.

Most, if not all of the agencies discussed above, have field offices in one or more locations outside of Dushanbe. This allows for effective management and monitoring as well as a more community-centred approach.

4.3. Statement of Humanitarian Principles

The following principles underpin the humanitarian assistance programme and will be promoted:

  • A common understanding among all humanitarian partners of a security threshold for implementation;
  • A people-centred approach in which perceived needs of the individual are prioritised;
  • Equal rights for women as recipients and project collaborators;
  • Long-term solution orientation;
  • Decentralised cooperation and/or assistance by favouring local counterparts;
  • Development of a local capacity to sustain, without humanitarian aid, minimum standards of meeting basic needs;
  • An appropriate agency presence in the country with community outreach capacity to ensure adequate implementation, coordination and monitoring of proposed actions.

4.4 Long-Term Goals (1-3 Years)

Based on the assumptions about the present scenario and the strategy of the county team the following long-term goals will be pursued:

  • To reach sustained levels of food security, access to potable water and access to medical care resulting in normal crude mortality and morbidity rates;
  • To reduce dependency on external humanitarian aid especially in food security, access to potable water and access to medical care;
  • To contribute to awareness of human rights issues and rule of law by providing social services and thus disengagement of fighting partners, following the Peace Agreement language with regard to social services;
  • To increase civil awareness by setting-up and supporting social structures at all levels;
  • To facilitate the creation of job opportunities for up to 2,100 demobilised soldiers to ensure their full integration into Tajik society.

The uncertainty of the situation in Tajikistan makes it difficult to set specific targets and more so to achieve them. By aiming for sustained rather than improved levels of food security, access to potable water and medical care, the humanitarian community is attempting to portray a realistic direction of the overall plan - one that will likely entail a long-term presence in Tajikistan. The intention is nevertheless to decrease dependency rates of the country to enable both Tajikistan and the international community to be able to focus wholeheartedly on the development of the country.

4.5 Short-Term Goals

The following short-term goals will be pursued during 1999:

  • To ensure vital needs (health, food, water) to eliminate excess mortality and morbidity risk;
  • To create conditions for safe return by providing access to social services;
  • To create conditions for effective reintegration of returnees, as well as the provisions of employment to demobilised ex-combatants and their families.



  • Table I: Total Funding Requirements - By Sector and Appealing Organisation

  • Financial Overview
  • Progress
  • Changes in the Humanitarian Situation and Other Reasons for Non-Implementation
  • Lessons Learned from the 1998 Process

  • Political, Economic, Security and Constraints Analysis
  • Problem Analysis, Response and Prospects

  • Possible Scenarios
  • Competencies and Capacities
  • tatement of Humanitarian Principles
  • Long Term Goals (1-3 Years)
  • Short Term Goals
  • Sector Analysis
    Food Security/Food Aid
    Agriculture Sector
    Health Sector
    Water and Sanitation
    Education Sector
    Information Management and Coordination
  • Definition of Criteria for Prioritisation
  • Relationship with Other Assistance Programmes

  • Table II: Listing of Project Activities - By Appealing Organisation
  • Table III: Listing of Project Activities - By Sector
  • Food Aid and Food Security
  • Agriculture
  • Health
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Education
  • Reintegration
  • Information Management and Coordination

ANNEX I. Financial Summaries
ANNEX II. Table of Health Sector Interventions
ANNEX III. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
ANNEX IV. Abbreviations and Acronyms

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