UNDP together with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) RT is successfully implementing the project "Support to Effective National Aid Coordination and Monitoring of the National Development Strategy (NDS) and strategies to enhance the well-being of the population of Tajikistan (SENACM)" for several years. 

About how the project addresses issues of implementing the strategic plans of the country, tells us Mr. Mirzo Olimov, the Project Coordinator. 

 - Mirzo Olimovich, please tell us when did the Project launch in the country? 

- Our Project commenced its active phase of work in 2008. It was called the "Local and Regional Capacity to develop and monitor development programs and budgeting." Initially, the Project was implemented at the local level, and then expanded its activities at the national level. Activities to support National Aid Coordination and Monitoring of the National Development Strategy (NDS) and the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) were initiated under the Project. 

In the context of the ongoing reforms in our country, there is a need to establish a unified system of planning. To this purpose, our team together with the Ministry specialists and with the assistance of an international consultant prepared a handbook for designing and implementing the development programs of the cities and districts of Tajikistan, which was subsequently adopted as an official document at the Ministry’s board meeting. This manual is a guide to start the process of socio-economic development of the country as a whole. 

Since 2010 to 2014, allowance has been improved and adopted as amended. Accordingly, a training program to create the development mechanisms was prepared under our Project for the Ministry’s experts, and after that, we started to train local specialists on planning system. 

In parallel, the process of creating the development programs was facilitated in the areas of Zarafshan Valley. The first who dealt with this work were the specialists from Pendjikent: in a short time, they developed the first development program. In further, on the basis of the districts development programs (DDP) of Pendjikent we began to train professionals from other areas. 

As for the planning of socio-economic development at the national level, we must admit that there are still gaps in this area over which experts of the Ministry and our Project are currently working. 

- What is the main need for the Project implementation? 

- In 2005, the Government of Tajikistan in cooperation with the UNDP published a report "Assessment of needs for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)" to set out the necessary reforms and assessment of the resources required to achieve the MDGs. Based on this assessment National Development Strategy for 2007-2015 (NDS) was developed. Then, medium-term strategy for poverty reduction (PRS) was prepared for the NDS implementation. The first three stages of the PRS implementation (for 2005-2012) were completed; its next stage has recently begun but called as Strategy for improving the population wellbeing in Tajikistan for 2013-2015. 

With the technical support of our project, a working group was established in the Ministry to develop a strategy. SENACM maintains continuity with the PRS-3 in addressing the priorities of the NDS, but at the same time, this document sets out the measures to overcome the consequences of the economic crisis, which is compounded by acute water and energy crises. SENACM was presented to the Government of Tajikistan and approved by the parliament on December 26, 2012. 

Thus, in 2013, the second phase of our project was approved, and the project has continued its activities. Its main objectives are aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Ministry specialists and other line ministries for implementation and monitoring of strategic national programs and in that is its main necessity. 

The project provided technical assistance to the Ministry with a focus on improving the M&E systems in terms of rationalizing the number of monitoring indicators and their linkage with data of tracking system for the implementation of NDS/PRS. 

Study tours to China and Armenia were organized where the representatives of ministries and departments studied the experience of strategic planning in these countries in practice.

The project, together with the Ministry specialists is also involved in facilitating the development programs at the local level as a mechanism for the localization of national strategic programs. Today, in the 40 districts and cities the development programs have been already established and implemented. In his message to the parliament, Emomali Rahmon, the president of the country, instructed the local executive bodies of state power to develop a medium-term program for the development of all cities and districts, which do not have the development programs, by the end of 2015. The project must respond to these challenges, and under the guidance of our central office and the Ministry, we are involved in this process.

Currently, our project is facilitating the process of the development programs in all areas of Badakhshan, as well as in the district called N. Husrav of Khatlon Province. In addition to the development programs, the districts will provided with technical assistance and training courses will be conducted for local specialists. 

- How far local authorities are involved in the process of implementing the development programs? 

- In his message Emomali Rahmon stressed that "the economic development of the country and ensure with a decent standard of the population living precisely depends on the effective and timely implementation of the country’s national priorities, ensuring the process for sustainable development of the country according to the National Development Strategy, medium-term strategies, sectorial and regional programs." 

Development of high-quality development program is only the first step towards this goal. District managers must be able to involve in the process of implementing the program of civil society, to create an atmosphere so that people will be beneficial to take part in this work. In addition, they must learn to work with local donors and international organizations to mobilize resources, to learn how to effectively use the budget. 

In this process, all our activities are connected with the local authorities, as only joint partner work can produce results. Moreover, the main burden in the development and implementation of the programs is entrusted to the local authorities: they organize this process and manage it. 

Carrying out similar work in the fields require the existing laws of RT: Constitutional Law "On local government bodies," Law of the Republic of Tajikistan "On self-governing bodies of towns and villages" and others. 

- Your project monitors the implementation of strategic national programs. Based on the data received, which results we already have? 

- To date, work on monitoring the implementation of strategic documents is still at an early stage. In international practice, the M&E system does not stand still and is constantly improving; we are studying this experience, attracting international consultants and adapt the developed systems to our country. 

Of course, the problem with personnel in the field still exists: there are no experts in the sector of economy. Our project in cooperation with the Ministry is doing some work in this direction, and we already have the results. Thus, monitoring of the implementation of the development programs in the areas of Sughd Province showed that in the first quarter of 2013 about 25% of the planned projects were implemented, totaling about 1 billion TJS. In this case, 2075 priority projects totaling 3.8 billion TJS were previously planned. Most importantly, the funding sources of these implemented projects in Sughd in most cases were local entrepreneurs (46.5%). All budgets funded the projects by 13.8%, foreign investments - 20.3%, and the contribution of dehkan farms and enterprises of the districts was 19.4%. 

This means that local authorities were able to establish a dialogue with local entrepreneurs. 

- Tell us about the Project major success over the years. 

- It should be noted that the progress in improving the process of planning and implementing socio-economic development at all levels. In addition, the main success of the project is to develop an improved system for monitoring and evaluating the process of implementing strategic documents, which brings together monitoring of the national strategic documents implementation with industrial and local development programs. 

It is also important to emphasize a developed reporting format for monitoring the implementation of the NDS/SENACM and DDP, improved analytical capabilities of staff in the Ministry, other ministries and departments and local authorities. Through providing advisory and methodological assistance by the Project specialists, responsible structures, effective system of coordination and management of the process for socio-economic development has been achieved. 

In addition, to improve public feedback a training module for media representatives was developed, trainings were organized and conducted in six regional administrative areas of the country with the involvement of journalists.

However, we realize that to tell about the successes is not enough to be published in the newspaper, the main thing in our activity is the achievements bring real benefits to every citizen of the country. This is our main goal.