Mutual trust as a basis for Sustainable Development

Mutual trust as a basis for sustainable development
Channel before rehabilitation, © UNDP Rural Growth project (Tajikistan)

In recent years development projects in Tajikistan were performed through tender procedures and the contractor was then selected by the donor. This process usually results in the implementation of projects that not necessarily tackle acute development problems of the population and do not empower nor strengthen the role of the authorities in the local economic development.

Highlights:

  • Trust fund mechanism ensures direct and effective use of donor funds
  • Local population is the direct beneficiary of funds, the local authorities are responsible for project initiation, monitoring and evaluation
  • Increased trust between the local authorities, public and private sector

Malika Nazarova, Deputy Head of Kanibadam district, who is responsible for economic and trade issues, says, “In spite of the fact that Kanibadam district belongs to one of the developed districts in the country, still the district suffers from lack of financial resources for implementation of socio-economic projects for local development. The international community and business sector implement local projects that bring in quick results, but don’t consider ecological and gender aspects. We clearly understand the need to improve the system of local governance and enhance its role in the promotion of local development”.

To make sure, that development money reaches those projects that address the needs of the local population, a trust fund was established to finance the priorities identified in the District Development Programmes and sub-district development plans aimed at improving welfare and sustainable economic development. The UNDP Trust Fund (through the Rural Growth Programme) worked closely with the executive body of the State of Sogd oblast and 14 districts. For the first time, development partners have channeled funds directly to the budgets of the districts, and the execution of projects was organized through local authorities on the basis of existing state procurement procedures. The local population has become the direct beneficiary of funds and the local authorities are responsible for project initiation, monitoring and evaluation. One focus of rural development programmes is to assist in improving the processes of local development planning and its implementation.

Donor funds along with other contributions from regional and district budgets as well as local communities were distributed among 14 districts to finance 64 projects designed to address the most significant economic priorities, including rebuilding irrigation systems, rehabilitation of wells and canals, building utilities, establishing greenhouses, restoration of road bridges and other important projects for local economic development.

One such implemented project was the channel rehabilitation in Kanibadam district. In very short time, work has been undertaken to restore 9 km of the irrigation channel that was in a sorry state. The channel was not cleared for more than 30 years, was filled almost to the brim with silt and was unsuitable for use. The project budget was provided through the created Trust Fund. After reconstruction, the channel started to provide irrigation water for over 1,500 hectares of farmland and for the farm population in Kanibadam district. As a result of this improvement, a significant increase in crop is expected, creating employment opportunities for the local population, as well as increasing tax revenues for the local budget.

 “The implementation of the channel rehabilitation enhances the cropping and production capacities of our lands.  This was very important, as most of us are involved in the agricultural sector and this is the only source of income for many households. Also, this experience has demonstrated the great power of joint cooperation as the contribution of local population was not less than other partners of the project, out of 247,774 somoni (52,053 USD), almost half was contributed by the local population and dehkan farms. The implementation of this project has increased trust between the local authorities, public and private sector”, says the Head of Jamoat Puloton, Sharipov B.

With the successful implementation of the trust fund mechanism, real possibilities arise in addressing socio-economic development at the local level through direct and effective use of donor funds. In addition, a trust fund can serve as an example of effective cooperation between donor organizations and local authorities, which is aimed at sustainable development and improvement of the well-being of the population.

The purpose of the Rural Growth Programme is to create conditions for economic growth, strengthening the role of the authorities in local economic development, creating conditions for the development of the private sector and expanding opportunities for increased income and employment opportunities in the region, including for women and vulnerable groups.