For nearly 20 years, FOCUS, with financial support from the European Commission, World Bank and the governments of Japan, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Canada and USA, has worked to meet the challenges of the communities by fostering disaster-resilience.
Tajikistan continues to be highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with a recent World Bank publication "Adapting to Climate Change in Europe and Central Asia," indicating that Tajikistan is the most vulnerable country in Central Asia and Europe. The changing environment in Tajikistan has led to a significant increase in the number and impact of natural disasters, which has facilitated an engagement from the international community and the Government of Tajikistan to work to address the risks posed by these changes. FOCUS partners with the Government of Tajikistan’s Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defence (CoESCD), Main Department of Geology, Hydrometeorology Department and the Institute of Seismology, as well as the Ministries of Education and Health and the Local Governments in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast and other respective regions of operation. FOCUS has made strides in enhancing the resilience of more than 1.5 million people from local communities residing in Tajikistan to natural and man-made hazards. Climate Change Adaptation in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan In 2015, to increase the understanding and preparedness levels of civil society on climate change related hazards; FOCUS in Tajikistan implemented 51 Hazard Vulnerability Risk Assessment (HVRA) activities in the districts of Ishkashim and Shugnan in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). The HVRA activities were completed as part of the Climate Change Adaptation in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan (CCAPM) project, which is supported by the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and Aga Khan Foundation Canada. The CCAPM project partnered with communities, schools and government authorities to build in disaster resilience amongst a wide spectrum of audiences and enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of the project. Over 4,400 hazard maps and village disaster management plans were developed and distributed to households and the heads of sub-districts throughout GBAO. Eight strategically selected schools in the region were provided with mini weather stations to monitor real-time changes in wind speed and direction, precipitation, temperature, and relative humidity. The installation of the weather stations provides students with the hands-on opportunity to learn and experience the process of collecting and analysing weather data. Workshops on climate change and locally appropriate adaptation measures were delivered to local civil society organisations including village organisations, women’s and youth groups, community emergency response teams, water usage associations, and institutions at the sub-district level. The workshops were participatory in nature, promoting the incorporation of indigenous knowledge in the recommendations developed. During the CCAPM project, six damaged hydro-posts were also rehabilitated. Specialists were also trained to use hydro-posts and prepare reports using the data gathered. As part of the CCAPM project, FOCUS in collaboration with the Government of Tajikistan hosted a regional conference on Climate Change-Induced Hazards and Coping Mechanisms. Participants included 70 people across Central Asia and Afghanistan representing academia, civil society organisations, governments, media, national and international non-governmental organisations, observers, and project beneficiaries. Through the analysis and discussion of the types of and increase in natural hazards in Tajikistan, panellists, presenters, and attendees underlined the importance of sharing knowledge and best practices among all institutions involved with learning, researching, and implementing mitigation measures related to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).