UNDP, Government of Japan Support to Promote Cross-Border Cooperation in Tajikistan and AfghanistanMar 3, 2015
Dushanbe, 03 March 2015 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Governments of Tajikistan and Japan as well as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed off today on a new, two and half year project that will see 160,000 people from Tajikistan and Afghanistan using the target Border Crossing Points (BCP) and cross border markets benefit from a safer, better run border.
The $4.2 million project envisages the construction of a new border crossing point in Langar, in Tajikistan’s South East, the upgrading of five other border crossing points nearby, and training for Tajik border and customs officials for which the Government of Japan, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will contribute ¥468 million yens (equivalent to $3.9million) and UNDP Tajikistan will make up the remaining $0.3 million.
“With the funding from Japan, this project will help strengthen border management and stability, and make cross-border trade easier for communities in both Tajikistan and Afghanistan,” said Alexander Zuev, UNDP Resident Representative at the project’s signing ceremony. “Around one hundred border guards and customs officials from Tajikistan will be trained to build more modern, efficient border management systems,” he said.
UNDP’s Zuev also highlighted how vulnerable groups, in particular women, will benefit from easier, more efficient cross-border trade. “Cross-border markets in Ruzvai and Ishkashim will be upgraded through improved hygiene and sanitation facilities, taking into account specific needs of women users,” he said.
By strengthening the border management system on one the hand and offering income generation opportunities on the other, the project should also help build cohesive and resilient communities.
UNDP will work with Tajikistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Main Department of Border Guards of the State Committee on National Security and local Governments in the Khatlon and Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous regions of Tajikistan.
Speaking at the signing ceremony Sirojidin Aslov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan said: “Well managed Tajik – Afghan border is not only in the interests of Tajikistan, but also entire CIS region”. Takashi Kamada, Ambassador of Japan recognized Tajikistan’s increasingly important role in ensuring stability in the region and stressed Japan’s commitment to support it. Toshinobu Kato, Director General of JICA’s East and Central Asia and the Caucasus Department emphasized the importance of cross-border cooperation in enhancing the living standard of the Tajik people.
In March 2014, UNDP and JICA launched the ‘Livelihood Improvement in Tajik-Afghan Cross-border Areas’ project to enhance livelihoods and business development through promotion of cross border cooperation between the Tajik – Afghan communities. The new border management project will give a boost to these existing efforts in the border communities.