Opening remarks by Dr. Pratibha Mehta, UNDP Resident Representative in Tajikistan

31 January 2020

Dear Mr. Igor Lyakin-Frolov, Ambassador Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russian Federation,

Ms. Natalia Strigunova, Deputy Director of the Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects, Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you all for joining us today. It is my pleasure to give brief insight into our cooperation in our joint effort – together with our partners in Russia and in Tajikistan - to reach sustainable development.

Russian Federation has been one of the key partners for UNDP since 2014 and their support for UNDP initiatives in Tajikistan accounts for more than 15 million US dollars eight for eight projects through the Russian and UNDP Trust Fund for Development, mainly in sustainable economic development and climate related issues: two areas of high importance for Tajikistan.

Despite the rapid decrease of poverty rate in Tajikistan and many positive achievements, this land locked and young country remains exposed to climate change and economic vulnerability, particularly in rural areas, being the most at risk. Therefore, we work closely with the government and with very generous support from our donors, including the Russian Federation, to promote livelihoods, empower youth and women across the across the country to build capacity for sustainable business ideas, raise financing to not only help create job opportunities but improve local economy, develop entrepreneurial and innovative mindset among the younger generation. For example, within the Zerafshan project alone more than two hundred jobs were created. Overall 10 thousand people benefitted in the area not only through employment opportunities, but also through improved access to social services.

But also, several commercially feasible projects were identified through our business idea support platforms and have been launched successfully.

One of the most pressing issues for Tajikistan and the world is climate emergency. While Tajikistan is not a major contributor to carbon emission, it is very susceptible to the impacts of climate change. Those living in the rural areas and economically most vulnerable are also most at risk of the effects of climatic shocks. These require massive investments into climate change adaptation efforts. To facilitate mobilization of climate finance, UNDP, with financial support and expertise of the Russian Federation, helped with development of new project proposals for new global funding channels as Adaptation Fund, Green Climate Fund and other similar sources. One of proposals developed was recently approved by the UN Adaptation Fund, bringing close to ten million dollars to address the immediate challenges and longer-term risks posed by climate-induced hazards and build resilience of small-scale farmers and pastoralists in Tajikistan. By the end of the project we aim to increase the number of funds attracted from other sources up to 60 million dollars.

The UNDP – Russian partnership is also helping with awareness raising among the younger generation to capacity building of government officials, building resilience of rural communities to strengthening livelihoods, and enhancing disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction.

I would like to express UNDP’s deep appreciation to the Government of Russian Federation, to the Trust Fund for Development for their commitment and support and their valuable contribution to Tajikistan to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

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