UN Peacebuilding Support Office Advisory Group visited Sogd ProvinceApr 14, 2016
UN Peace Building Support Office (PBSO’s) Advisory Group and staff, led by Director and Deputy Head of PBSO Ms. Mari Yamashita, and a UN Tajikistan team led by UNDP Country Director Jan Harfst, met with the Head of B.Gafurov district Mr. Naziri Zarif Valizoda and other district representatives. The meeting was devoted to issues of cooperation in order to prevent tensions in the border area as well as to strengthen good neighborly relations between communities living along the Tajik-Kyrgyz border. The Chairmen of Khistevarz and Ovchikalacha municipalities of B.Gafurov district, heads of the district departments on youth and women and family affairs as well as several community activists took part in the meeting. The meeting focused on ways in which project activities can contribute to strengthening community ties and cooperation. A number of initiatives – including one dealing with rehabilitation of trade school facilities for traditional crafts that was presented by woman activist from Ovchikalacha – were discussed during the meeting.
In the course of the meeting current cooperation of local executive bodies of state power with neighbouring municipalities of Kyrgyz Republic was discussed.
Chairpersons of B. Gafurov district and Isfara town highlighted activities of UN projects that are aimed not only at solving local issues and settling disputes, but also at strengthening ties between the peoples. Activities on running cultural and sports events, repair and rehabilitation of infrastructural facilities, support to residents of Tajik and Kyrgyz villages in cleaning canals and irrigation ditches were named. According to chairpersons, these activities make essential input into development of cross-border cooperation on the sites. During discussion with activists proposals aimed at development and strengthening good neighbourly relations between populations of two near-border regions were made. Taking into consideration that often disputes with residents of neighbouring Kyrgyz villages rise due to dropping domestic wastes, in the course of the meeting women activists of Ovchikalacha municipality presented a project on joint monitoring and establishment of wastes sorting house by efforts of residents of near-border villages.
In Isfara town members of mission visited “Somoniyon” village and “Langari Bifotimai Zahro” mahalla of Chorkuh municipality. Local residents came to meet high-ranked guests. Discussion in “Somoniyon” village was distinct for openness of the dialogue and activeness of local women. Residents spoke about the challenges they face every day – limited access to water and road, conditioned by geographical location of the village, and that last year it became the reason of the conflict with population of the neighbouring Kyrgyz village “Koktash”. Along with that, solutions were proposed including installation of drinking water supply and construction of bridge across Isfara River, which will serve to residents of the two neighbouring villages.
Residents of “Langari Bifotimai Zahro” mahalla told about the drinking water pumping station constructed in the frames of UNDP project, which resolved the problem of lack of drinking water that was the reason of necessary unauthorised connection to irrigation channel located on the territory of Kyrgyz Republic by residents of the mahalla.
According to the residents, because of the constructed pumping stating at present there is no necessity in violating the rules, which promotes mitigation of risks of conflict between bear-border communities of both sides.
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Ms. Zumrat Normatova, Project Specialist, Communities Programme, UNDP Tajikistan, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org